mindSpiral: 2005 to the present
In the early 2000s, I didn’t have a lot to complain about with respect to music. Different Skies was going gangbusters, I had finally managed to get a couple of group albums of back catalog out the door in one form or another, and I was rediscovering the joys of live playing after a long hiatus (as I’ll discuss later). But there was one piece missing: a catalog of solo releases. I was supposed to be an electronic music recording artist! Where were my recordings? One EP from over a decade earlier didn’t cut it.
I sat and stared at my rig, I plunked out a few notes, I turned everything off and went to go do something else: organize another festival, write another review, be a husband, be a dad, anything but be a musician. It was gnawing at me.
At one Different Skies, I was complaining about the fact, and Paul Vnuk Jr., who was and is a sharp-tongued foil for my self-absorbed ramblings, shut me up and set me back on my heels with one simple statement. “Mike, in all the time I’ve known you, you have never failed at anything musical you’ve set your mind to. If you’re not cranking out solo albums, you should ask yourself why not.”
And there went that damn switch in my head again. Click!…
It took me a long time to admit it, but I finally did. I simply hate the process of sitting in a studio all alone and writing music!
I can do it decently well, but it rarely brings me joy. I have to be in just the right mood under just the right circumstances for it to flow well and give me a result I like; fortunately for me and my output, a stiff deadline produces much the same effect.
What I did like, as evidenced by over a decade (at the time) of successful sessions, concerts, festivals, and releases, was getting friends together and making music with them. It didn’t always work perfectly… in fact, it never did!… but it did work well and produced results that I enjoyed and was proud of. So why not just shrug and officially make it my preferred way to make music?
And so, mindSpiral was born.
In simple terms, mindSpiral is what happens when someone in this community picks up the phone, hears my voice on the other end saying, “Hey, I have this great new idea for a gig…” and doesn’t hang up fast enough. It’s me and my friends, making music. The venue will change, the results will change… maybe a release will come of it, maybe not. That’s not the point… the point is the journey, not the destination.