Corey Montgomery and Joe Cameringo, the principle guitarists/singers for Sleep Fleet and Van Dale, respectively, have long formed a bit of a mutual admiration society.

Corey Montgomery and Joe Cameringo, the principle guitarists/singers for Sleep Fleet and Van Dale, respectively, have long formed a bit of a mutual admiration society.

Montgomery, who relocated to Columbus from the Dayton area in 2012, first encountered Cameringo fronting his former band This Is My Suitcase roughly six years ago, and was immediately floored by what he witnessed.

“They came out and played ‘Fish and Dishes,’ and from moment one to the last note it was like, ‘What is this?!’ said Montgomery, 25, seated next to Cameringo, 29, in the Olde Towne East home the two have shared as roommates for more than a year. “It was so insane. [Joe] was screaming and flailing around everywhere, and his band was amazing.”

Cameringo, in turn, lovingly described Montgomery as a “dirty little runt,” and praised both his onstage demeanor — “There’s a wildness to his playing,” he said — and his ability to exert some semblance of control amid the surrounding chaos.

“Having a good growl is one thing, but having control over your pitch and being able to write interesting songs with good pop hooks is another thing,” Cameringo explained.

Though both Sleep Fleet and Van Dale — the lean-muscle rock bands are teaming up for a joint-single release and headline a Carabar show alongside Brat Curse and Bummers on Friday, Nov. 28 — exist on a similar musical plane, the two frontmen are, in many ways, polar opposites. In person, Montgomery is quiet and soft-spoken, and he exudes a go-for-broke enthusiasm. Cameringo, in contrast, tends to be wry and sarcastic and, as he cheerily admits, a bit of a pessimist.

“Corey can find a way to love anything,” Cameringo said. “I’ll be like, ‘Don’t you get that this thing you’re telling me is good is terrible?’ And he’s like, ‘I don’t know. The harmonies are pretty good.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you a fool?’

“I’ve heard him say a dozen times, ‘I don’t know. I can look past ’80s production.’ I hate him for accepting things. It’s like, ‘No, you need to learn to hate.’”

Both approach music from similarly opposing points of view. Where Montgomery believes originality is difficult to come by — “It’s hard not to be [derivative] in music,” he said at one point midway through the late November interview — Cameringo is constantly seeking out wild new frontiers, first with the late, much-loved This Is My Suitcase, which he described by saying, “It sounds like Elton John and Ben Folds and fucking Thunderbolt and the Flaming Lips and dirt bands and the best bands all combined into one project,” and now with the disarmingly straightforward Van Dale.

“Van Dale is more like human music,” Cameringo said. “That was [drummer] Tim [Horak’s] doing. He was like, ‘I want to make music that sounds like Silverchair.’ I’d heard one Silverchair song … and I was like, ‘Um, OK?’ The idea was to make a simple rock band and not overthink things. I liked it for nine songs, and I still like it for our tenth.”

Photo by Maddie McGarvey