This City of Takers



This City of Takers is an ambitious music project that is as much a band as it is an ever-changing concept and growing production. Began by Brandon Lee and David Wise in the summer of 2009, these two uniquely talented and experienced musicians set out to tell stories through their words and music.

Joined in August by Michelle Glaser on bass, John May on drums and Andy Phipps as keyboardist, This City of Takers became known on the scene with amazing speed. TCOT hit the studio later in 2009 with Ryan Wasoba (formerly of So Many Dynamos) to record their first EP “Going Along with the Delusions will not be Helpful” which was released in April of 2010, which has since charted as a top seller at St. Louis’ premiere record store Vintage Vinyl.


How do you describe your music to people, Brandon?
For a lack of better term... indie rock. I hate that as a description though because it is so general and basically undescriptive. I find naming other bands we've been compared to much more useful. Commonly we're compared to Cursive, Spoon, Fugazi, and Sonic Youth just to name a few.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
We came together as a band with the idea to make a conceptual album about a man who's life falls apart which sends him spiraling into madness. The idea what intially conceived by Dave Wise (former guitarist, left for grad school) and myself. The idea was to record an album before we even thought of doing shows. I knew Michelle for years so natrually she was to be our bass player. Andy (our synth player) is a good friend with my brother, so we recruitted him. We found John on Craiglist oddly enough. John fit in perfectly, we couldn't of asked for a better drummer. Interesting fact about John, he landed in America via Scotland only 4 or 5 months prior to joining This City of Takers. With in a few months we were already playing shows and finished recording 'Delusions.'

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Playing music would more than likely be the answer for the entire band, although Michelle may pick playing with cats... she has an unhealthy obsession with cats.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Sticking out amongst other bands for sure. Since the rise of social media sites, every band has the world at their finger tips, which is awesome but also somewhat of a curse as now there's even more competition than ever.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a rockstar exactly like Elvis Presley, like Michelle w/ her obsession with cats, I have an unhealthy obsession with Elvis.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
We're from St. Louis which has totally impacted our music. St. Louis is a dying industrial city, our music is a little darker and I think that may be why. We're lucky enough to have an amazing scene in St. Louis which gave us great opportunity for some success.

What other artists out there do you love?
Spoon, Cursive, The Good Life, Wilco, etc.

What does your future hold?
If we're lucky the chance to keep making music. Money, Fame, all that jazz would be cool but at the root of it just the ability to keep doing this is more than enough. We're lucky to be doing this and we never forget it.