AotWQ&A ROFLMAOBBQ :: Mikelangelo
June 23rd 2011
Nick La Rosa
You've been hearing the surf & Western sounds of, uh, The Surf & Western Sounds of Mikelangelo and the Tin Star all week on FBi, as it's our Album of the Week. The Flog grabbed Mr Mikelangelo himself to tell us the tale of how the Tin Star came to be, and introduce you to The Flog's new Favourite Word Ever: vibroslap. Intrigued? Read on…
The Flog: So tell us about Mikelangelo and the Tin Star – how is it different from your other projects [which include Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen]? How did it begin?
Mikelangelo: Even though I’m best known as a vocalist, I’ve always loved instrumental music, and the sound of electric guitar with plenty of tremelo and tasty use of the ‘whammee’ bar (I wish it had a better name…). For as long as I remember I have made up tunes in my head with an invisible band in mind, and the Tin Star is that band.
I used to play with the Tin Star drummer and lead guitarist ten years ago in an occasional band called The Dalmatian Coast Surf Lifesavers Association. It was a great band but we never really paid it enough attention. There was no big break-up, it just sort of vanished from our lives. So there was a sense of unfinished business. In mid-2009 I told the boys I was moving back to Melbourne and they lured our bass player into the fold and the Tin Star was born. For our first gig on September 20, I flew in from London on a Thursday night, we rehearsed on Friday and played a gig that weekend.
Who's in your band? Who does what?
Mikelangelo – crooner, strummer, whistler, grooming & deportment consultant, Kung Fu master
Fiete Geronimo Geier – lead guitar & Goldentone amplifier (this is the key to the Tin Star sound)
Gareth Hill – Bass, whittling
Pete Olsen – Drums, vibroslap (that’s the thing you hit that sounds like a rattlesnake).
Special Guest Stars:
Saint Clare – dreamy vocals, glamourous costume changes, choreography
Go Girl Gadget Go Go! – shimmying, ponying, Go-Go Action!
What were your main reference points or influences (sonic or otherwise) while putting the album together?
We wanted to make an album that sounded both old and new, to channel what we love of instrumental guitar music and singers from the late 50s and early 60s without making it a vacuous and spineless homage. In the end we didn’t use any vintage gear beyond our guitar player’s beautiful little Golden Tone amp, but I feel we built up a wall of sound that would make Phil Spector proud.
Where did you record the album? How long did it take, start to finish?
The album was recorded and produced by our guitar player Fiete Geronimo Geier in his unique and cosy home studio. We started off doing some demos with him in late 2009, just after the band began. We liked the sound of them, so decided to move straight into recording an album. I was on tour in the UK and Europe for a good deal of 2010 with Saint Clare, which slowed the album process. This wasn’t a bad thing in the end, as the time out helped form a stronger idea of the shape of the album. In the end, the whole process of the album took 18 months. We recorded a bunch of our more Western-oriented instrumentals that didn’t make it onto this record, but will likely form the basis of ou