The Musical Mind of Mike Tully, interviewed by Nate Phillips

I’d like to thank Michael Tully for doing an interview with me – Nate Phillips (@DraXsiS_Rocker)

We know you are a guitarist but was that your first instrument?
Guitar is my first and (other than some half-assed drumming) my only. I broke my shoulder playing football when I was 12, then asked for a guitar for Christmas.

What album(s) influenced you the most to become a guitarist?
Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue, which also ended being the first song my guitar instructor taught me.

You grew up in an era of music where guitar was always the faster the better (in the undergroud scene)Did that deter you at all from wanting to play?
I tried to play fast. I really liked – and still like – Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, and Nuno Bettencourt. But I hit the wall pretty quickly. That’s the major reason I started writing music – so that I could have some songs I was able to play.

Are there any albums that you listened to incessantly growing up that you revisited more recently while recording Retrofit?
The only album I listened to incessantly while I made my album was my album. I only really listen to music in the car, and luckily I have a short commute, so about half my driving time for the last year was listening to in-progress recordings and making mental notes.

Top 5 Favorite Albums All Time?
1) The Auteurs: “New Wave” / “Now I’m a Cowboy” (tie)
2) The Smiths: “Louder Than Bombs” (technically a compilation, not an album, but whatever)
3) Faith No More: “Angel Dust”
4) The Stills: “Logic Will Break Your Heart”
5) The Pixies: “Doolittle”

I hear alot of older Jimmy Eat World/Pixies in the track Auto-Da-Fe any inspiration there?
I am cursed by sounding like bands I don’t really like, or so I am told. I’m not much of a Jimmy Eat World guy. I would say Auto-da-Fe sounds like Jeremy Enigk/Sunny Day Real Estate, if I had to compare it to one person/band. Like most songwriters, I know that I’m lifting little pieces of other people’s stuff all over the place, but it’s probably nothing anyone else would be able to hear, even if I pointed it out to you.

When we first met in Chicago there was a few seconds spent talking about video games, have or do they (soundtracks) inspire you at all?
No, but I heard an unbelievably talented drummer and horn section on Monday at Swinghouse, playing the living shit out of the “Double Dragon” theme song.

If you had an opportunity to jam with any guest from the Jason Ellis Show who would it be?
I’m still bummed Slash didn’t turn up at the Roxy the one time he was allegedly maybe going to.

What was your first concert? – Who most impressed you at that concert?
Again, Motley Crue. This was when Tommy Lee was hovering over the crowd during his drum solo, so I’d have to say him.

Who would you most like to interview on TJES/What musician would you like to have on the show who hasn’t been on before?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of my heroes, but I still haven’t met Andre 3000.

Lets talk a little bit about Taintstick/Death!Death!Die!
How is the writing done with the guys, do things fall in place fairly quickly?
We write ridiculously fast. That’s kind of the trick – we commit to dumb songs and dumb jokes without much thought, then we (and by we I mean Christian) spend a ton of time seeing our dumb, half-assed vision through to its illogical conclusion.

Some non fans of the show would call DDD a parody band of sorts but I’ve seen the passion you guys perform with and althought you guys are having fun, does it get stressful up there on stage?
The first few shows were a little stressful. I had a weird paranoia that I was going to forget how to play everything. But now we’re pretty comfortable as a unit. I actually make an effort to remind myself to enjoy every show, because it’s ludicrous that the band exists and has a following, and it would be equally ludicrous not to revel in being a heavy metal cocksucker on the rare occasions we play shows.

Any bad experience(s) on stage?
My gear craps out a lot, but that’s because I don’t take care of it or pay attention to it. You reap what you sow.

Craziest thing a fan has done to you, or tried to do for you?
I’ve seen topless women in the crowd, but they’re never looking at me.

Thoughts on being a “Part Time Rapper”?
I always thought I had one good verse in me, and I think I was right. Unfortunately, I’m about to rap for the third time (on the new D!D!D! “side project” Smoked Out Clit).

What are you(and the bands) thoughts when artists cover/remix DDD/Taintstick songs?
It’s awesome. I’m just surprised anyone cares enough to take the time.

(Fan Question from Tim Wright) Will we ever see The Woodswoman (Sara VanLaningham) featured on a DDD track(or a possible second solo album?
Logistically it would be pretty difficult, since we track everything in one room/studio (aka Christian’s Hollywood apartment).

I’ve been in a band for 9 years (DraXsiS) Once in a while I get stage fright, does this happen to you?
I used to get nervous when I was a teenager, but I don’t think I’ve ever really been scared.

If you were to rank the songs you guys have written what is in your top 5?
You Can Go Fuck Yourself, Death! Death! Die!, Pain of Time, Motodick, Monkeys of War

Have you ever been star struck when meeting musicians you look(ed) up to?
You get used to meeting celebrities after a while, but when I met Johnny Marr, I wasn’t the jaded cocksucker I am today, so, yes.

You’re a father now, has that had any effect on your writing process/ideas?
I’ve come up with some Death! Death! Die! stuff while I’m noodling on guitar to amuse my son, so he seems to be helping.

Favorite RetroFit track?
I’m really proud of how “New Snide” came out, just because for me there was a higher degree of difficulty. I’ve always had trouble making the softer stuff work.

Will we see a “Retrofit II” or another solo album?
I would love to, but it will probably take me another 10 years to write it.

Will Ellismania IX have you doing a set of some of your RetroFit songs?
I would love to, but it would take more rehearsal time than it’s probably worth, while also presumably rehearsing Death! Death! Die! and possibly training for a fight, so in all likelihood no.


Read “Mike Tully, Exposed!” Another recent interview of Tully.
You can buy Tully’s new album “Retrofit” on Amazon or iTunes.
You can listen to & download the free tracks “Auto-da-Fe” and “Will a Blank” on Tully’s BandCamp page.

Related posts: The Musical Mind of Mike Tully, interviewed by Nate Phillips
2012: This Year In Tully Images

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  1. Pingback: Mike Tully, Exposed! | No You Are

  2. Pingback: 2012: This Year In Tully Images | No You Are

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