One night only…

Please note that this post will remain at the top of my blog until the show. Scroll down for more recent posts.

For one night only – Sunday, September 22 – you (yes, you) can experience a show that is a little different from other shows you’ve seen. I hope you will come to the Kraine Theater at 85 East 4th Street in Manhattan and witness Mr. Mike’s Mostly Musical Mashup.

Get your tickets here.

I will be performing original songs written from the 1980s to this year, including ones originally recorded with Late Model Humans, and performed at CBGBs, the Bitter End, and Kenny’s Castaways. In addition to the songs there will be instrumental pieces, original poetry, visual art, and a few surprises.

I hope you can join me on September 22, as we find out together just what Mr. Mike’s Mostly Musical Mashup is all about.

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I Love You So Bad It Hurts (LIVE)

The second song I played at an open mic recently is one of my favorite originals of the past few years. Musically, it’s a simple progression that’s made a little fresher by putting a capo on the 10th fret so that the guitar almost sounds like a mandolin. Lyrically, each verse repeats the first line at the end with a little bit of a twist caused by the lines in between.

 

I love you so bad it hurts
with a kind of pain that I don’t mind at all
I love you so bad it hurts

I love you so much I don’t
have anything left for anyone else
I love you so much I don’t

I love you so much I can’t
drink enough so I can forget
the way your love burns like a lit cigarette
but I love you so much I’ll never regret
that I love you so much I can’t

I’ve loved you so long I can’t see
all the way back to the morning before
my love came knocking around at your door
and I might as well just admit that I’m yours
’cause I’ve loved you so long I can’t see

I’m Not Afraid (LIVE)

I

Fear is the challenge
to overcome or to succumb
and either way your work’s not done
Once you think you’ve got it licked
you’ve only learned half of the trick
Just because you lose, or win,
doesn’t mean a goddamn thing
the next time that the fear begins

II

They say the fear of public speaking is the greater than the fear of death, which makes some sense to me since we all know from a tender age that we will die but there is nothing to say that we will speak in public. That is one bullet we can dodge. And the devil you know is always more palatable than the strange one.

By my blurry count, I have taken to the stage between 40 and 50 times and, like everything in life, each could be the last but so far this is just the latest. I wrote this song about fear a few months ago and performed it last week at Mary O’s on Avenue A between 2nd & 3rd. If you’re in the neighborhood drop in for a meal or a drink but don’t tell Mary I sent you. She wouldn’t know me from a hole in the wall.

III

The Swallowtail Jig

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It is presumed that The Swallowtail Jig was written in the middle of the Nineteenth Century and came to America with the Irish migrant caravan of that era. It is also known as The Dancingmaster and both names come from the men’s coat that forks in the back like the tail of the swallow.

 

Here is my take on the song with video of the bird showing off his signature tail and a couple of fine jig dancers to give an idea of the steps that fit this type of song. I had to slow down the dancers as they were jigging to a faster tune. The BBC slowed down the birds on their own.

 

I Have To Say

This song, like John Lennon’s Woman, is addressed both to the specific woman I’ve built my life around, and to all individuals of her gender. This feels like a moment for me to be quiet and do some listening. I’ve already heard everything I Have To Say.

In another similarity with Beatle John, my compositions sometimes slip into the familiar ¾ time of the waltz. I never learned how to do the dance but its rhythm speaks to me.

I’m sorry I forget to tell you sometimes
I love you
I’m sorry I forget to tell you sometimes
how beautiful you are
Some things seem so obvious that I don’t have to say them
But I do have to say them
And you do have to hear them
Because they’re more important than anything I have to say
I have to say
.
I know I get under
Your skin and you wonder
What life would be like
Without Mr. Mike
Probably better
And probably worse
And probably someday the last will be first
Before we get to that day
I want to hear everything that you say
And I do have to hear you
You do need to speak
Because I’ve already heard everything I have to say
.
The first one I ever saw fade into black
was my Uncle Jack
He never came back
Now there’s so many slipped through the cracks
That I’m losing track
And the voices of these ghosts
Drown out the one that I need most
And I do need to hear you
You do need to speak
Because I’ve already heard everything I have to say

So here’s a fucked-up thing that happened….

Yesterday I saw an ad on Craigslist that piqued my curiosity. A guy was looking for a guitarist to learn a set and perform it live tonight at the Bowery Electric. I told him I could do it.
I took a half-day off from work to meet the rest of the band and rehearse the set at Rivington Studio on the Lower East Side. You’ll have to take my word for it that I am not a vain man, but I was pretty fucking hot. On guitar.

After the rehearsal I went home to feed the cats and my own hungry belly that had tasted nothing but a buttered roll all day, and to take a nice cold shower since I was sweating from all the hard work I’d done, creating art. Then I took a couple of trains down to the Bowery.
At 10:30 we took to the stage. The drummer assembled his ridiculously elaborate collection of cymbals – seventeen of them. The bass player and I plugged in, tuned up, and were ready to go. But the guy who brought us together – the singer, and writer of the songs we were to perform – was nowhere. 
A call was made to the missing man. We assured the soundwoman that he was on the train and would be there momentarily. The next call we got was from the hospital where he was being treated after he fell and smashed his head.
Part of me wanted to stay at the bar and get drunk but the better part of me said to go home. I actually stood on the sidewalk, leaning on my guitar case, pondering. On the way home, everywhere I looked – I mean literally everywhere –  were people hanging on each other, kissing and giggling, including a couple practically rubbing against me on the subway. And my one and only love is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The guy was supposed to pay me $150. 
That’s more than anyone has ever paid for my art.
Is it mere coincidence that it looks like a casket?

Meditation Music 2: Water and Trees


 
I started picking the first pattern of this piece one night last week as I was watching/not watching TV and let my mind wander a bit with the open strings and ringing intervals. The second pattern grew out of the first and led to a musically meditative piece. Watching the sun on the river through the trees from my apartment seemed a fitting visual accompaniment.