NeuFutur Magazine Introduces Mike Rolland

I was always a singer. There is a dusty reel to reel tape somewhere of me singing Be Bop a Lula at about three years old. I didnt know all the lyrics then!

Musicians of my age were perhaps the first generation of teenagers to actually like the music their parents listened to and so I had a good solid education of the Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Terry Reid, Early Springsteen, Bob Seger, Dylan, Donovan you get the picture.

I started playing the guitar on my 12th birthday. No one saw me then for a few years as I practised pretty much constantly. I had very understanding parents and neighbours as I was belting out 3 hour rock’n’roll sets most nights! Mum actually rigged up an intercom with lights on it because there was no chance of ever hearing them call!

I cant actually remember when I got my first proper acoustic guitar – but I loved it- its a good banjo- my Dads got it now.

Accross the road from my house was a car sales room. Gus and Lee worked there. I was about 16 at the time. They could hear me playing and singing for hours every day and invited me down to one of their gigs at the West Coast Rock Cafe in Blackpool. It wasnt long I was up doing guest spots and loving it. Did School went to college for a bit, hated it, left. Worked for a bit- thought it was shit- went back to college! I was on the first year of the BTEC Music Technology course which I believe they still run. As our final project we had to commercially release a CD- which we did- its still available Mindless Perfection.

Jump 10 years to allow for relationships, education marriage and divorce

Moved back home with my M+D and started jamming with Pete my bro- the genetic relationship between vocal chords worked really well and we formed a duo – Small Change after a Tom Waits album. We did hundreds of gigs in this format- Petes was a great songwriter.

Somewhere along the way we got together with Tom Horsfield and Shimmy Wingate who played drums and bass respectively. Set a band up called it The Honeycats and gigged around the place. Did a tour which was well received- we didnt even have a tranny van- 4 of us in a Astra Estate +gear. I’m sure The Honeycats played some of the strangest gigs! The funniest was doing a bingo hall- a big bunch of 70+year olds with massive marker pens waiting for us to shut up so they could resume their game. Another time we played at the opening of a furniture showroom for family friends in front of Norman Cook, Zoe Ball and Woody. Norman was sat on one of the sofas singing along to ‘The Only Living Boy in New York ‘ Quite surreal. I’m not sure how impressed they were but Woody certainly liked the chicken house Pete had built!! We got to about 2004 and decided we had lost direction- Tom and Shim formed the Deadbeats doing covers which they have been with great success since. Pete moved down to London and I had a break and wondered what to do!

So while i was deciding I thought I’d do a few solo gigs, I hadnt done one for over ten years. Did one- loved it, crowd loved it and i’ve been doing it since. It takes a while to get things done though and plans for my debut album have now been put back to the New Year.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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