always brings about some changes," a wise man once
wrote...kidding of course. Hey everybody. Hope all is
well in the well that has hope...uh... Kinda regrouping
now. For a little stretch there, it wasn't feeling very
good, but as the eternal optimist, I am excited that we
have some fairly exciting things on the horizon. But, as
always, can't say what at this particular time. God
Bless...Go Cubbies...Hope to see you all soon... Keep
calling the radio stations... pretty please?
- mm -
A LITTLE ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: You
know when trying to put together this newsletter
turns into an almost full-time job, it's time to
dial it back a tiny bit! That's what had been
happening -- trying to get this newsletter out
monthly was taking so much more time than I ever
anticipated, that I had a little pow-wow recently
with both Michael and his manager Gregg. And we
came to the mutual decision that it's much better
to have quality over quantity, so the newsletter
will hereby become bi-monthly. Never fear --
you'll still get the same great info here...
perhaps even more of it since all of us --
Michael's team behind the scenes -- will have more
time to pull the necessary pieces together. So,
the next issue following this one will reach your
emailboxes in October. Which gives you PLENTY of
time to come up with your questions for Michael,
and your contest entries, and your comments for
us... you know, all the wonderful stuff you send
our way. Please keep it coming and we'll keep this
newsletter coming to you!
AN APPLE A DAY: It's
time to tell EVERYONE you know -- friends, family,
acquaintances -- that Michael's album
"Ashes" is now available for download on
Apple's iTunes site. Go to iTunes
to download it for your iPod!
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: For
those of you patiently, oh so patiently waiting
for West Coast dates, Michael's booking agent Eric
assures me a West Coast tour leg is in the plans
for the fall. We'll keep you posted as dates are
month, I thought it was finally time to sit down and
talk with Michael on the phone for the newsletter. So,
while he was driving to a meeting in his car, he was
kind enough to let me interview him on his cell phone
last week. Here's what we chatted about:|
Michael McDermott Newsletter: So tell me how the
tour has been going so far?
Michael McDermott: The tour, we're not doing
anything this second, but the band is great and the
shows have been getting stronger every time. I'm kind of
at a crossroads of how much new stuff to teach the band.
That's kind of frustrating.
News: New stuff that's not even on
McD: Right. To me, "Ashes" stuff is
old. I would like to be fired up about doing some new
stuff, but it's so contingent on what the next move is.
But, yeah, the band's great, and I love playing with
them. We're having a blast, and it's only getting
better, which is really good.
News: I've asked the rest of the band this in
their Q&A's, but do you have any funny
stories from the road? I know you mentioned that very
expensive cab ride in Boston.
McD: I can't think of anything offhand really.
Nothing comes to mind. I can't think of anything that
funny. I read Rene's funny story, and I didn't even know
News: With people coming up to you after shows
and talking to you, what has feedback been like from
them about the new record?
McD: The feedback has been great. And the
commentary on the band has been really, well, not
surprising, but so positive. They've been blown away by
them. So I know I'm doing something right. But it's the
matter of financial restrictions. I just can't have them
out all the time. I just can't afford it.
News: When fans entered the contest that required
them to name their favorite song on "Ashes,"
"Dance With Me" won by one vote. Does that
surprise you at all? Because a long, long time ago, when
I heard the first mixes of that song, I told you how
much I liked it and you were surprised.
McD: Yeah, it does surprise me. We're considering
maybe going with that as a single. I don't know. That's
one Gregg's always been really supportive of, and other
people who I respect or trust their judgement have said
that too. But to me, I just don't get it as much as
everybody else. But I've been known to be wrong. They
must know something I don't.
News: So tell me about some of the new songs that
aren't on "Ashes" that you've been playing on
the road. I know that "Perfectly Imperfect"
has been making it onto a lot of set lists. Which ones
are road-testing well?
McD: That one, and "When It Comes To
You." Those are the only two we've been doing
regularly. We've tried out a couple here and there, but
then if someone's recording it makes me a little bit
skittish because I'm not ready for the song to be in
circulation yet. It's not a big deal. But it might
change, and the verses might change. It's not done...
Well, even when it's recorded the song's never done
growing. Those two in particular have been getting
really good response. We tried the song "America In
Me," which I pulled the plug on, because I think it
can be really good, but it's just not there yet, and I
just haven't really had the frame of mind to go back to
it and re-tool it.
News: So you're getting ready to celebrate a
birthday very soon. Do you find it hard getting older?
McD: Yeah, definitely. It just makes you... a
part of you just wishes it was a video game and you
could just hit "restart." I'd like to go back
and do-over. Not the whole thing. But parts of it. Just
because a lot of things personally and professionally
and certain decisions. I mean, obviously, you're going
to regret certain things you do, but then a part of you
thinks you shouldn't regret anything and they're all
learning experiences. You think it's all kind of heading
in the right direction. I think it's taking me a lot
longer to turn the monster around and get it to where I
could tame it.
News: Some celebrities in their interviews will
say like, "Oh I've learned so much in growing older
and I feel it has brought me x, y, and z." Is there
anything in particular that you feel that age has
brought you in a positive way?
McD: That's a great question. It's brought me
some perspective, I guess. Perspective on my
shortcomings. Certainly it makes you keenly aware of the
waste of time and the time I've wasted, and folly, and
being a child, and having a Peter Pan complex. Age makes
you realize that you can't be Peter Pan, but part of my
heart's always going to be a boy and I want to conserve
that as long as I can.
News: How old would you say that you feel?
McD: 24 maybe. I like that part of it, but
obviously... I just heard in a wedding, my brother's
wedding, the other day, "When I was a child, I
spoke like a child, I walked as a child, now I'm a man
and I have to put away those childish things..." I
can't remember if that's Corinthians or what.
News: I'm pretty certain it is.
McD: There's truth to that. And that's a big pill
to swallow. It's goin' down, but it ain't goin' down
smoothly. It's in my esophagus somewhere.
News: Enough about age... What has been your
favorite show on the tour, because of the venue, or the
location, or the audience was great or the show felt
McD: It would be the Singer/Songwriter weekend.
It's probably the best gig I've ever had. And it was
just amazing and I felt like it was a peek behind the
curtain at Oz. I wonder sometimes about guys who play to
8200 people a night, or even greater crowds than that...
and it wasn't necessarily the number, it was the
enthusiasm of the crowd... and I thought, "I wonder
if Johnny Rzeznik's long forgotten what that feels
like..." I was emotional, I wept after the show, I
had goosebumps on stage. It was everything I dream
about. And for that one day, for that one 45 minutes,
God gave it to me. I'll be eternally grateful for that,
but I'm hoping that he wouldn't tease me, you know, give
me a taste of that and say, "Hope you enjoyed it,
because that's the last you're getting." But I hope
it's more like, "Hang in there, pal. It's coming.
But you gotta do some housecleaning and re-tweak a few
things in your mind and maybe you can do it." But
that was heads and shoulders above any other gig we've
News: You talked about this a little bit earlier,
but how do you feel playing with your current band has
changed things for you as a performer? I feel like you
are a different person onstage now with them.
McD: Yeah, it's really kicked me in the ass. It's
raised the bar for me. I go out there and I try to prove
it to them every night, where before, with all due
respect to the guys, it was up to me to make the show.
And it felt like more of a show. This is a test of will
and artistry and courage up there with them. I have to
be able to look at them before I have the guts to open
my eyes and look at the audience. I gotta feel like I'm
on solid ground with them and then we take it out there.
It's inspiring, really, sincerely.
News: You mentioned writing new songs that you
haven't even taught to them. Are they playing a part,
even if they're not directly writing with you, in the
writing that you're doing?
McD: We haven't gotten to that point yet. I'd
like to woodshed with them at some point.
News: I guess I also meant are they inspiring you
in your current writing?
McD: I haven't gotten into that mode. Usually,
after I tour, there's a period of digestion that, it
kinda seeps in. It's a seeping process. And you start
writing things that you think they would really bring
life to. That's kinda how I worked in the past. Like the
"Gethsamane" record, because that was
obviously band-inspired. So I think they have a huge
effect on what I will write and what I think, but it
just hasn't come to fruition yet.
News: You don't know what will happen down the
road, but would you be interested in recording with them
at some point?
McD: Absolutely. I want to. I hope we can. We're
still getting to know each other, to where we could go
in and I'd be able to walk the high wire without a net.
We still need a little more time and a few more gigs
under our belts first. I'd like to go out in a market
and start doing a regular gig thing with them where we
could build a little more faith in each other musically.
News: Which songs from "Ashes" seem to
be making the transition to the live setting the best so
far? Are there some that are becoming something that you
never expected them to be?
McD: Yeah, "Everything I Got" is one.
It's just cooler than the record I think. I never
imagined it that way. I still think we kind of missed on
the recording of that song. It's the way I would have
liked to have done it. And "Arm Yourself" and
"Hellfire." I love playing
"Hellfire" with those guys.
News: On the flip side of that, have any of the
songs disappointed you live?
McD: "Hold Back A River," I don't know,
something still leaves me dry when we play that.
"Darkest Night Of All" is another one where I
feel like we're up there swinging and it hasn't really
clicked yet. "One Way To Go" I never really
gave a chance to. "Hold Back A River" is a
really cool song, but sometimes it's really not.
News: Sometimes it takes a while to find your
McD: And I get very easily slowed. If it doesn't
go good one night, I'll bury it forever. Like I might
miss a chord change and be ready to pack it up. I've
been compared to Mussolini as a band director. So they'd
have reason to be a little skittish.
News: No, if you read all of the interviews I did
with them, they all gave me very similar positive
answers about you. So you must have them snowed. So of
the stuff you've written recently, what's been inspiring
McD: I have a really good song now, I really like
it, called "Antique Store." And also, overall,
Dominique's had a lot to do with inspiring me. I'm kinda
close to something and I don't know what it is. Little
bits are coming. I've taken a little break from writing
the past three weeks. So I'm excited because I don't
really know what's going to happen.
News: The muse is poised, ready to speak, and
McD: Let's hope!
News: When you guys were out on the road, what
kind of stuff were you listening to when you were
traveling from town to town?
McD: I don't really like to listen to too much
music while I'm on the road. They usually had it. I
still listen to the same boring stuff I always listen
to: The Waterboys, Waits, you know. Somebody had a
Morphine record which I thought was kinda cool. There
was something real visual to me about that stuff, which
I thought was really cool. It made me sit up and go,
"Who is this?"
News: Ok, this is a total job interview question,
but where do you see yourself five years from now?
McD: I hope I'm a man who has some kind of peace,
and I hope I'm playing music. Those are very simple
things I ask for when I kneel down and fold my hands. I
ask for a lot of things, but concerning myself, those
are the two things I ask for.
that we've given you some insight into Michael via his
bandmates (in past issues) and himself (in the feature
above), we thought we'd dig even deeper for this issue
and talk to someone who has known him for years.
Recently, we sat down and spoke to producer Dan Petty
via telephone to ask him a few questions about working
with Michael. Here is what transpired:
MM Newsletter: Your history with Michael is a
long one and a number of people reading this may not
realize how long the two of you have been working
together. Can you give me the rundown on that?
Dan Petty: It was ’91 or ’92 when he was
putting out his first record. Right before the record
came out, he was putting a band together. My brother got
involved as a keyboard player, and through him I got
involved. [My brother] Doug and I were living in New
York, but they brought us out to Chicago. And we started
out on this really low-budget tour. It was really fun
though, because I was 21 or 22. We had a blast. It was
the first time Michael, Doug and I had been on the road,
so we stared touring. We toured the first record for a
long time. We did another record in Seattle with a guy
named Rick Parishar that never got released. Then we
toured, and we did another record, the “Gethsamane”
record, in North Carolina. We toured for a long time
with that with Aimee Mann, and it was funny because with
Michael, things got progressively a little better. We
started with a van, then we got an R.V., then we finally
got a tour bus. Nice progression of things. We worked
together until after that “Gethsamane” record. Then
Michael and I toured together with the Cowboy Junkies
just the two of us. We worked together for a long time.
We got busy doing different things, and I hadn’t seen
him for a long time, and a few years ago, he was in L.A.
and gave me a call and said he was doing a new record.
And I’ve been producing records. He said he wanted to
do his next album with me. And that’s kind of our
relationship in a nutshell.
MMN: What were your first impressions of Michael
when you first met – as both a person and a musician?
DP: It’s funny because when we first met he was
really serious and really quiet. He didn’t really
drink or anything. The rest of us – me and Doug and
Dan and Kerry – we would go out and party. In the
beginning, Michael would kinda be on his own a little
more and he was writing – just a lot more serious.
MMN: Which is funny because now he’s Mr. Life
Of The Party and wants to be in the center of it all.
DP: Absolutely. He was so different. Much more
MMN: How about as a musician? How have you seen
him change over time?
DP: He’s changed – even lyrically he’s
gotten deeper and deeper over time. What’s funny about
Michael is he came out of the box with a real vision of
what he wanted to do. Which not many people do. As a
musician, I certainly didn’t. He had this really
fully-formed identity and sound and vision at that young
of an age. And he’s really stuck to it. The music has
changed some. Some are more rock and some are more this
and that, but it’s still really him each time. I found
that really impressive when I met him. I thought, “Wow,
this guy’s really got it together.”
MMN: When you hooked up, had you been playing out
DP: I just had moved to New York. My brother got
the gig because somebody had seen him play with Joan
Osborne. I was just out of school and I was just getting
MMN: Tell me about working with Michael on “Ashes.”
What is it like working with him in the studio?
DP: We had such a great time doing this record
because we’ve known each other for so long. For the
most part, it was just the two of us. I have a small
studio in Hollywood, and most of the time it was just
the two of us and we’d bring in a drummer or a bass
player. We have a lot of the same frame of reference. He
can say something like, “Oh, it should be like this,”
and I know what he’s talking about.
MMN: That’s pretty priceless to have that
comfort level when you are working with someone as a
DP: Absolutely. And you know there is a trust
involved. It’s like, “You may not love everything I
do, but…” Pretty much, we know what we are trying to
do and I’m not going to do something that’s
completely off the mark for him. It was really great,
having that kind of relationship, knowing each other
backwards and forwards. It meant a lot to both of us to
do this record.
MMN: How does his recording style differ from
other people you’ve worked with as a producer?
DP: The greatest thing is when he does a vocal on
a song, he sings it down. Pretty much the first take is
great. From just doing it all the time, so many singers
I’ve worked with, even good singers, they have to do a
whole lot of takes and we can comp together one good
vocal to try to make it sound good. But Michael, he
might comp in a couple of things just to get the perfect
thing, but almost all the time, the first take is great.
Which is very impressive.
MMN: What is your favorite song on “Ashes”?
DP: That’s hard to say. “Arm Yourself” is
probably my favorite song. We just really got into such
a cinematic thing with that, and took it to such a big
place. “Baby I” I just like. “Darkest Night” and
“Can’t Sleep Tonight” I like a lot too.
MMN: It’s interesting, “Arm Yourself” has
become even a more cinematic live song. It’s gotten
pretty big live in a very good way I think.
DP: I saw him when he first put this band
together, but I haven’t seen them recently. I’ve
heard they sound really great now.
MMN: What is your favorite Michael song over
time? You’ve known him, pretty much, from the very
beginning and know all of his stuff.
DP: I don’t know if it’s his best song, but
“Wall I Must Climb” I always go back to because it’s
so evocative of the time when we were starting out and
it was a single and it was so exciting to hear it on the
radio. I love going back to that song. If you were going
to say, “Let’s sit down and play one of his songs,”
that would be my choice.
MMN: What do you think Michael’s biggest
DP: I think just the fact that he stays so true
to himself. It’s probably his biggest strength and his
biggest weakness. He stays so true to himself and knows
just what he’s going to do. It’s really very hard to
do that in this business. A lot of people in this
business try to change to fit into what is popular, and
he just stays who he is. That’s pretty impressive.
MMN: Any funny stories about working with Michael
that you can share?
DP: Whenever the two of us are together, the two
of us are always coming up with “Remember that!”
things. And there are a bunch that are coming to mind,
but I just couldn’t tell the stories.
MMN: Have to protect the guilty.
DP: Exactly. The problem with so many road
stories is that they don’t translate really well.
MMN: You had to be there.
DP: Right. There were a lot of funny times on the
MMN: Is there anything else you’d like to share
about Michael with his fans that they might not get
DP: One thing I know… he’ll be embarrassed if
I say this… but he’s the kind of guy – for real
– where you’ll be hanging out with him, watching TV.
This really did happen one time, we were watching TV and
one of those “Save The Children” ads came on.
Michael was so moved by it that he picked up the phone
and said, “I gotta call.” And he donated a bunch of
money. And that sounds so corny, but he’s very sincere
with that stuff. It’s very true with him. He’s very
month, for our live show review, Mil was kind
enough to cover Michael's July 17th XPN
Singer/Songwriters' Weekend appearance in
Philadelphia. Here is what she had to say about
this amazing performance:
As you probably recall, Michael noted in the
newsletter's previous issue, "Writing on this
particular day, I'm heading to Philadelphia to do
the Singer/Songwriter show…quite excited. I've
been wanting this gig forever and a day it seems,
and it's here…love when that happens."
What Michael couldn't possibly know, of course, at
the time he penned those words, was just how this
day would end. And for those who had already long
been following and - indeed in various ways as
management, friends, fans - sharing in his career,
I'd have to say the hope of these words surely
carried as well an almost parental feeling of…not
quite fear, but rather a more measured
hopefulness, a prayer that not even the slightest
tinge of negative circumstance (rain, technical
difficulties, and or any number of factors beyond
his control) might mar this long-awaited, joyfully
anticipated day for Michael. After all, as Krista
states in her artist bio of him, Michael's
"seen his career careen between highs (MTV
hit single…halcyon days of coverage in Rolling
Stone) and the lowest lows (having his label
shutter its doors, not being able to recapture
those same halcyon highs), yet he's never lost his
faith, his hope, his desire to create music."
And, it was hoped that this undying commitment to
what he's created and those touched by it would
indeed on this day prove a moment of faith
But even arriving twenty minutes before the show,
and entering the packed amphitheater-type venue on
a beautiful sunny day, one might still not have
been sure…at least, that is, if one were not
familiar with the side of Michael that remains
ever self-doubting, ever uncertain of the power at
his command. Seated on the steps beside the stage,
nervously puffing on a Marlboro Light, his
slightly green complexion very likely prompted a
moment of panic in passersby en route to their
seats…and though certainly not in enjoyment of
his "misery", a bit of a smile from me.
For, once you've seen just how unfounded Michael's
doubts invariably prove to be, they become nothing
more than another reason to admire the true artist
within - an artist not merely capable of
surprising audiences every time he steps on stage,
but one so clearly human and ingenuous that he
routinely surprises even himself.
Of course, standing before a clearly far beyond
capacity crowd (and daunted only by the prospect
of ever finding a seat amongst 8200 people!), my
own vestiges of trepidation on Michael's behalf
were long forgotten. And, it was therefore no
surprise when his introduction by XPN's Michaela
Majoun was greeted with an enthusiasm level that
the band immediately matched as the set opened
with "Spark". Moving into the first of
several songs from Ashes (the album so widely
embraced by Philadelphia music lovers as to bring
about this appearance in the first place) Michael
began the now familiar intro to "Arm
Yourself" before allowing the infectious
spirit of the crowd to encourage a bit of
improvisation on a brand new intro, first spoken
and then sung, to the soaring "Hellfire In
The Holyland". Certain by this time of how
strong the tide of positive feeling washing onto
him from the audience, Michael at last shared a
bit of his own positive feeling in return. Noting
he'd "been waiting for this gig my whole
life", and thanking XPN's Bruce Warren for
his station's overwhelming support, Michael
offered a bit of commentary that I believe
captures his entire person in a nutshell: all the
doubt, the humor, the wonder - and the gratitude -
that add up to the greatness displayed on this
occasion. In high school "I never got invited
to dances…I know I'm really cool now, but…
Thanks for inviting me to the dance today."
And, dance the crowd did, as the band burned up
the stage on "Dance With Me", followed
by the signature theme of those aforementioned
halcyon highs of Michael's early career, "A
Wall I Must Climb"….and a bit of the up and
down journey in between -including an ill-fated
encounter with a "Junkie Girl" and a
moment of self-discovery "20 Miles South of
Nowhere". Coming full circle, he returned to
the present, and yet another unstoppable flurry of
words declaring this day "a dream come
true", adding "thanks for being a part
of this dream with me", and thanks to XPN for
playing the present day hit, "Everything I
Thinking surely this must signal the end of the
amazing set, the appreciative audience rose
collectively to their feet, cheering, clapping,
offering every form of thanks in return they could
possibly convey. But in that spirit of
characteristically surprising every crowd he
stands before, Michael declared "I'm not done
yet!", and offered a few more revelations,
including, "I've got goosebumps! I can't
remember the last time I had goosebumps"…before
closing with his longtime life philosophy to
"Leave It Up The Angels."
As I noted in a post-show recap on Michael's
website bulletin board, "The Pauper's
Sky", beyond question the angels were all
smiling on Michael this day. And, his joy in
return was positively palpable. And, for all of us
longtime supporters in attendance, to witness -
and share in - that long awaited and unfettered
emotion was undoubtedly the greatest joy of all.
As a bit of an afterword, it should be noted that
immediately following the show the crowd
approached not only Michael, but every member of
the band to express their own joy and amazement at
the talent they'd just heard. Danny's outstanding
drum work, Dominique's mastery of her vintage
Rickenbacker bass, and Rene's intricate and
impassioned guitar accompaniment all made it
difficult to hold conversations after the show for
the many (most welcome!) interruptions, and
resulted in the entire band's presence being
required at the post-show meet and greet that took
place an hour later…an event, incidentally,
expected to last perhaps thirty minutes - but,
which (despite a rather briskly moving pace)
ending up running fully double that!
In conclusion, I can only add my sincere thanks to
Michael and the band for making July 17, 2004
truly a red letter day in the history of the one
Michaela Majoun dubbed, "Michael McDermott,
rock star…Michael McDermott,
singer/songwriter"…indeed the one, the only…Michael
McDermott. May it be only the first of many, many
more such amazing days to come.
winner of last month's contest (a signed promo
"Summer Days"/"Bells" 45 single) is
Billy in Chicago. He will be getting the 45 soon! Enjoy!
And we found the responses to "tell us your
favorite Michael McDermott album" to be really
interesting. Rather than give you the details here, skip
to the Fan Fare section below to see what people had to
This month, we'll be giving away a song! Yes, Michael
has agreed to send a copy of a completely unreleased
song to the lucky winner. (I'm guessing he'll burn it
onto a CD for you.) We don't know the song title yet,
but it's gotta be worth adding to your collection!
Wanna win? Here's how.... Send an email to us at ENTER
CONTEST. You have to make the subject line:
"Release the song to me!" If you don't have
that exact subject line, we won't consider your entry.
Then, in the body of the email, tell us what your
favorite Michael McDermott concert experience has been.
If you haven't seen him live, that's fine, just tell us
that instead. Doesn't need to be a long explanation -- a
sentence is plenty, or more if you want. We'll take all
of the entries who put the right subject line and
include their favorite McDermott live experience, and
have Michael randomly select a winner.
We'll print the winner's name, and the results of the
favorite album poll in the next issue!
Entries must be received by September 15th. Good
luck! Only one entry per person, please. Thanks!
We mentioned who won the 45 single above, but in order
to enter that contest, people had to respond with their
favorite Michael McDermott album. I know what my
favorite is (the self-titled album), but was very
curious to hear what everyone else had to say. At first,
I thought for sure it was going to be a runaway winner,
but then as more votes came in, the voting spread out a
bit more evenly. "620 W. Surf" won by three
votes. "Michael McDermott" came in second
place. "Gethsamane" came in third, "Last
Chance Lounge" came in fourth, and we even had an
"I Like Them All!" vote. I got some awesome
responses from folks yet again, so I'm including their
comments below. Read on!
Comments About The Albums
Billy (our winner) said: My favorite album is still 620
W. Surf, bur I really like them all. I uploaded all of
them onto my machine and added them to my MusicMatch
Jukebox, so now I just click "Random" on the
playlist. Actually, if that's acceptable, I'd like to
change my answer to "All-- Random."
Rocco said: My favorite album is "Michael
McDermott". I'm sure everyone is going to say this,
but our (my wife and I) favorite song is Summer Days.
We've actually talked to Michael about it one time at a
bar when we saw him, my wife is friends with Eileen
Murphy who the song is written about. Anyway, it's our
favorite song and we always ask MM to play it at his
shows but he always says he doesn't like to play it very
often, he feels people don't want to hear it over and
over again. I'll never get sick of hearing it. Perfect
song to blast with your windows down while driving!
Michael said: That's tough...I really like
"Ashes", but I would have to say that
"Michael McDermott" simply because that's the
first MMcD album I heard, and man...it hit me like a
Connie said: If I had to pick (which is what you are
expecting) I would go with "Last Chance
Lounge". I am not a very good critic because I tend
to love everything Michael puts out, but this seems to
be the CD that hits my player the most. In the title
track I can actually feel myself sitting at the end of
the bar observing, feeling, smelling the entire scene.
Henrik said: Well, they say that your first love is the
best one and in this case I have to agree. I read a
stunning article in a swedish (!) newspaper about a new
singer/songwriter named Michael Mc Dermott which seemed
to interest me. So, I bought "620 W Surf"
without even listening to it before, and I wasn´t
disapointed... Gems like "A wall I must
climb", "Your silence...", the title
track, "Murder in the first degree" and the
awesome "Trembling hour" finally brought me
out of my heavy metal years for good! A couple of years
later in Paris, newly wed, by the way, I found
"Gethsemane" and since..I´m a true fan.!
Scott said: My favorite album is
"Gethsemane"-- a brilliant work from beginning
to end. The relentless passion in each song-- "Just
West of Eden," "Moonlit Prayer,"
"Leave It Up to the Angels,"
"Sailor," "The Idler..."-- is simply
stunning. I spent many late nights listening to that
album. Thanks for costing me so much sleep, Michael!
Mike said: My favorite Michael McDermott album ( so
far..I only have 2 ! )would have to be his self titled
album Michael McDermott.The songs are so good. From the
first time that I received and played it (June 2004) I
was impressed with how good it was. I have listened to
it several times in the past month and have turned 2
other friends on to Michael's music. Musically and
lyrically it is my favorite to date, very strong stuff!.
I just received 620 W Surf and have ordered Gethsemane
and look forward to collecting Michael's entire work.
Janet said: My favorite album is his first. Why?? I
don't know for sure. I was in record store (yes, I mean
RECORD, it was '91!), and I stumbled across his album.
Something deep inside me, that I usually ignore, told me
to buy it, and I did. The music on that album probably
saved my life. I am ever grateful that there is someone
out there that can write such honest lyrics and also
have so much talent with so many instruments. Thank you
for all your hard work MIchael!
Sheila said: My favorite Michael McDermott cd is
"620 W Surf" because that is when I discovered
Michaels' Music, literally the day it was released! I
was working in a record store at the time. We all took
turns playing stuff on the stereo and when it was my
turn that day, i decided to try something new from the
box of promo cd's that had arrived that day. So, I was
looking thru the cds when I came across "620 W
Surf" and thought the cover looked interesting,
just a guy and a guitar, so I put it on the stereo and I
was so completely blown away by how amazing it was that
I've been a fan ever since.
Brian said: My favorite McD album is the self-titled
record. To me, this is Michael’s ‘Thriller’. Every
song on this record is great.
Matt said: It's hard to pick a favorite Michael
McDermott album but if I was forced to do just that I
would have to go with Gethsemane. Gethsemane was the
first MM album I actually bought (I borrowed 620 W. Surf
from my dad and never gave it back) which probably has
something to do with it. It's such a strong disc from
track 1 to 13, full of rockers, ballads, etc. As usual
the lyrics are top notch (what's new there) and the
intro to Whiskey And Water is very moving. I remember
when Michael released this disc and he did a live set
broadcast on WXRT. While performing Leave It Up To The
Angles he broke into the first verse of Baba O'Riley by
The Who, another favorite artist of mine. It was just an
awesome moment, very powerful, and the two songs fit
together perfectly. I have it on tape somewhere in my
extensive MM collection. Besides, how can you go wrong
with an album that has Klem on bass?
Ramon said: My favourite album is "620W.Surf",
the Michael's debut. I love all his albums and it's a
difficult choice, but I discovered Michael in 1991 with
this record. I still remember what I felt when I heard
the first notes of "Wall I must climb" (I
guess some similar when hearing Springsteen's Born to
run). I think it's a "genius first
masterpiece", and only the very good ones can begin
with this kind of work. Eclectic and pure, Michael shows
all his sensibility that will after confirm in following
albums. In one sentence: this work returns to me the
faith in rock'n'roll. Michael, please, don't change
FAN COMMENTS, NOTES, THINGS YOU HAD TO SAY:
We also got some notes from people that we'd like to
pass along here:
Bob said said: I gotta say the new CD "Ashes"
is awesome. Michael just gets better and better, and the
new band adds a whole new twist to what he does, they
are a great compliment to Michael's music. I'd have
loved to be a fly on the wall when the band members
first listened to Michael's stuff,lol. My opinion
Michael is no doubt the best lyricist I've ever come
across, there's something very magical that happens when
you get great words in the right order and then great
music behind it, it doesn't happen often, there are many
great poets lost because of the crap that accompanies
their words, Michael however, is Gifted, he does it over
and over and over, its fucking amazing! sorry for the
"F" word,lol but it excites me. even in the
simplest lines he manages to say sooo much "you
can't change where it is you come from baby...... but
you can change where your going to" now why the
hell didn't I ever think of that?? lol. and this is the
kind of thing Michael does over and over, he makes me
think.... Damn! I wish I would have written that! lol.
short and simple, Michael's stuff moves me. And I thank
God I stumbled upon him, I can often be heard by my
neighbors yelling THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN ABOUT!!!!!! LOL.
thanks for letting me bend your ear and thanks for doing
a great Job On Michael's behalf! And you guys do do an
Angela said: Please pass along my sincere
congratulations to Michael for a brilliant performance
at the XPN Singer/Songwriter weekend on Saturday. He
rocked! When he sang "Everything I Got," he
just killed it. I work in the business, am an XPN
member, and I was so impressed with his sincerity and
passion, I had to write ya a note. :) Tell him thanks
for a great musical memory to add to my collection!
Henrik said: I have to say that I am looking forward to
check my mail nowdays. I have been reciving this
newsletter since may and i really enjoy reading it! Keep
up the good work and I try my best to tell everybody I
know here in Sweden about MMcD and his music. I finally
got my brother on the train...just 9 millions left..!
month, I want to give extra big thanks to Marshal who
was kind enough to send me the "Summer
Days"/"Bells" 45 singles for the contest
prizes!! Yes, you read that right -- prizeS. One was
given away via last month's contest, and one I'm saving
for a future issue. So it you didn't win it this time
and REALLY want it, keep your eyes peeled on "You
Gotta Be In It To Win It!" for your next chance
soon! Marshal, YOU ROCK!
are full band
unless otherwise noted.
: Lincolnshire, IL
Cubby Bear North
: Orland Park, IL
St. Michael's Summerfest
: Chicago, IL
Beverly Arts Center
: Chicago, IL
Rock for Reading Benefit, New City YMCA Grounds
: Naperville, IL
(opening for 10,000 Maniacs)
: Aurora, IL
: Bryn Mawr, PA
: Valparaiso, IN
Chicago Street Theatre
: Chicago Field Museum, Chicago, IL
Dance With Me
Hellfire in the Holyland
Hold Back a River
Can't Sleep Tonight (solo, guitar)
A Wall I Must Climb
Everything I Got
Leave it Up to the Angels
20 Miles South of Nowhere
question: Michael, have you ever considered
releasing a video of a live show?
Michael's answer: I have. The only problem is
getting good footage is one challenge, but getting good
sound and synching the two is a real challenge. I'm
always a bit skittish about putting out live audio
stuff. We have attempted synching them and it ends up
looking like a bad Japanese overdubbed Godzilla movie.
Pretty funny, but not exactly what I'm going for. So at
the heart of it... it comes down to having some money.
S. Jo's question: I want to say I enjoy your
music very much. When getting my first CD I really had
no clue in the world what I was getting only to find
that your music is AWSOME!! My question is when writing
your music is there a means of focusing on any specific
idea that comes your way? Do your songs have any
connection to what life has been for you?
Michael's answer: I usually don't try and force
anything. I usually don't even sit down to write
anything. It's about staying out of the way of things,
letting them create themselves. Obviously, you need to
prod it in certain directions or edit things you find
useless or superfluous. The songs have complete
connection with my life... sometimes a painful
connection, other times a cathartic connection... and
rarely a delightful connection. But they are all
Jon submitted the following word association for
Michael to complete. Jon's words are on the left and
Michael's associations follow them:
1. the Stage... my church
2. Drugs... a beautiful reminder of pain
3. God... a familiar stranger
4. Mom and Dad... light and love
5. Rap... intrigue
6. Springsteen... liberation
7. Dominique... oceans
8. Pawn Shop... rain on Broadway
9. Death... fear
11. Hero... Joseph Cambell
12. Radio... hope
13. O.J... A.C.
Mike's question: How old were you when you got your
first guitar and who gave it to you? Also, have you ever
taken guitar or piano lessons or are you self-taught?
Michael's answer: My folks bought me one or my brother
did. I was in 8th grade...a black cortez... I took a
finger picking class at the Old Town School of Folk
Music with a guy named Mark Dvorak....but that's about
it...trial and error....took some theory classes in high
Here's how "Ask Michael" works: you send your
question(s) to us, and we'll print his answers in an
upcoming issue. It's as simple as that. Please send your
questions to: ASK
MICHAEL. Ask away!
newsletter is special because of submitted material from
the fans!! Please continue to submit anything you'd like
to share. If we have the space that month, we'll print
it (or save it for a future issue)! Please send
everything to: NEWSLETTER