From: NY, United States
Genre: Alternative/Alt. Rock, Glam, Post-Punk
You sometimes hear of a musician described as a “rock ‘n’ roll lifer,” but few fit that idiom better than Rochester NY’s Mikey James. Literally: he’s been playing gigs since he was six (!), amassing a collection to die for of 2000 albums since. He’s toured the world as the drummer for respected New York City post-punk stars Longwave, for whom he wrote a few songs (and where he hung about with inspired period peers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Strokes, White Stripes, Vines, Ok Go, Donnas, Walkmen, Flaming Lips, and Mercury Rev—not a bad life). He’s also launched a series of hard-hitting groups he’s fronted as guitarist and singer back in Rochester, going back to his first EP with The Blood nearly a decade ago, and another after his Longwave days with The Footage in 2005. These earlier forays culminated in his thoroughly infectious, punkish power-pop group The Mercies, whose self-titled LP produced by Bill Racine (Rogue Wave, Mates of State, Comas, etc.) garnered deserved favorable reviews last year. Quite a busy decade, indeed. In fact, in an era where too many indie-pop groups sound like they’re merely pursuing a peer-approved lifestyle, one listen to James’ estimable and growing catalog bears the heart of an artist who writes, sings, and makes music because he has to. Edgy melodic music is in his blood; there’s a beat, a tune, and a sound in his head at all times that must gain release, or, like the also prolific Robert Pollard, he will all but explode in creative expression looking for release. In short, James lives the music, and his energy, drive, and desire are products of that lifelong quest for a hook that won’t quit. Which isn’t to say that James has no sense of fun, or is dourly po-faced. He just has a knack for a tune, that’s all. And his apparently boundless enthusiasm remains in no short supply, now that he has decided to strike out on his own as Mikey Jukebox, a one-man Brian Wilson, recording and playing everything himself (even piano). With nothing between him and his songcraft, there’s no stopping him now. Who would want him to?