By: Cara Carriveau
Mike Mangione Biography
Mike Mangione creates music that speaks to the masses in a brutally honest tone. His constant dedication to his audience and the art of live performance has been the underlying impetus behind his forthcoming release, “Tenebrae,” an album he recently recorded with his band. The album marks a dénouement of sorts, the culmination of a process that began as a search for a subtle, organic, yet dynamic and expressive sound.
“With ‘Tenebrae’ I wanted to do something different,” says Mangione. “I wanted to record some- thing that had a life of its own. I am such a huge fan of producer Daniel Lanois. His albums are like audible incense, seeping through the speakers and filling the room with a discernible funk. Albums like ‘Achtung Baby,’ Bob Dylan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind,’ Emmylou Harris’ ‘Wrecking Ball,’ and Peter Gabriel’s ‘US’ set the bar for me. These albums all have something very mystical and pensive about them. I wanted ‘Tenebrae’ to be in that same ballpark – or at least the same parking lot of the ballpark – as those incredible albums. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time on the road, I have come to appreciate the vitality of live performance, the holistic vibe that it yields, and I wanted my new album to reflect that reality. I didn’t just want an assortment of songs thrown together on a CD. I wanted consistency and tone; I wanted thematic unity; I wanted an album in the classic sense of the word.”
Born in a northern suburb of Chicago and now residing in Milwaukee, Mangione is no stranger to movement and change. Following the 2005 release of “There and Back,” which charted CMJ at number 16, Mangione has logged approximately one hundred and fifty shows per year throughout the country including such notable performances as SXSW, Midwest Music Summit, Chicago’s Mobfest, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, and the band has been invited to perform at the World Youth Day Festival (the largest youth festival in the world) in Sydney, Australia in July 2008.
Mangione has opened for performers like Jamie Cullum, The Samples, Will Hoge, Jacks Mannequin, Lifehouse, Brian Vander Ark, and Michael McDermott. Through his travels, Mike met with producer Duane Lundy (These United States, Scourge of the Sea, The Parlour Boys, Vandaveer, Ben Sollee) and the two quickly developed a relationship. “Duane and I had a lot in common in terms of musical influences. We had the same vision for the album and decided to record as much as we could live, with very little overdubbing, so that the performances could breathe and bleed together – literally bleed together into the microphones.”
The two began recruiting for the sessions, pulling from their catalog of contacts. Mangione co-wrote and arranged most of the music with his brother, Tom, and called on him to do all the lead guitar work.
Over the years, furthermore, Mangione had developed a relationship with the band, The Samples, and recruited Samples keyboardist, Karl Dietel. Lundy brought in Robby Cosenza (The Apparitions, Scourge of the Sea) to play drums. John Collins, a Chicago-scene veteran who had recently begun playing upright bass for Mangione on the road, was an appropriate fit for the album, rounding out the rhythm section.
Just as the band started to come together, Mike had an auspicious experience. “I was sitting at mass in Milwaukee and heard this young guy playing cello; it blew my mind. It was such a compelling and moving instrument, I knew I had to add it to the band.” Mike promptly recruited 19 year-old Patrick Hoctor, a student in Milwaukee, to become the band’s cellist. Soon thereafter, Kristina Priceman, a 19 year-old violin student also in Milwaukee, joined the band to complete the group. For two weeks, Mike and Co. recorded in a converted warehouse in Lexington, Kentucky. “That was probably the longest length of time I have spent in one place in quite some time,” Mangione quipped. Much of Tenebrae was recorded live to give it a dynamic, organic air. Mangione is concerned as much with composition as he is with sonic textures. As a result, there is a beautiful, yet haunting undertone throughout the record that balances content with form – a living, breathing feel.
Immediately following the completion of the album, the band resumed its extensive tour- ing. With Tenebrae already enjoying a soft release on the internet, and reaching #9 on the Euro Americana Charts for January, Mangione has his sights set to top these achievements in 2008. Early favorable press on the forthcoming album has included the honor of being selected as New York Magazine’s pick of the week, the cover of M Magazine in Milwaukee, while Indie Launchpad defined “Tenebrae” as “a phenomenally great album.” Indiemusicstop has labeled it “a definite must have for any fan of folk and Indie music genres,” and Illinois Entertainer called it “one of the best local releases.” The entire album has been licensed for use in upcoming sea- sons of multiple MTV shows such as Road Rules, Human Giant, My Super Sweet 16, and The Hills. The Oxygen Network licensed the entire album for use in their upcoming season of Bad Girls Club, as well as the Lifetime Network for use in their brand new show American Psychic.
MIKE MANGIONE – RANDOM FACTS
Mike Mangione was born July 11th in Glenview, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.
Mike is the youngest of three boys.
Mike’s favorite bands as a child were U2, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and eventually all of the Seattle Sound. Not much has changed.
Mike began guitar at age 13 by sneaking his older brother Tom’s guitar when he wasn’t home..
Tom Mangione took guitar lessons from a teacher with a glass eye who didn’t realize Tom was playing upside down until three months into lessons. When the mistake was discovered, Tom figured he had learned way too much on the instrument and the information was irreversible. Arguably the best and worst decision he ever made.
Mike’s first guitar chord learned was the upside down E chord from his brother Tom, thus beginning a career of playing the instrument incorrectly.
Mike attended Glenbrook South High school. Fellow alums include Jami Gertz of “The Lost Boys,” Emily Bergal of “Carrie 2,” Samuel Witwer of “Battlestar Galactica,” and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy.
Mike attended Marquette University in Milwaukee WI and received a degree in Urban and Environmental Affairs with Biology and Sociology minors.
Mike was cast as “Mail Boy” in the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman” and can be seen throughout the movie in the office scenes. Can you find him????
2004 Mike lived in a Dodge Ram Van with his dog Daisy playing all over the country. Occasionally he would crash on a floor at his parents in Chicago or his girlfriend’s place in Milwaukee.
Mike is not the son of, nephew of, grandson of, or first cousin of Chuck Mangione. The two are related, but from a healthy distance.
Mike released his second album “There and Back” in 2005 completely independently. The album entered the CMJ Top 200 at #16.
Mike’s first tour was a two-month, 40-date tour across the country. Mike, his manager/friend Myk Crouch, Daisy the Doberman and Myks poodle named Fatty toured the two months together in a Ford Taurus. 12,000 miles.
Mike became a member the Washburn Guitar family in 2006.
Mike’s song “It’s Me, Not You” was picked up by Burger King for licensing!
For more information about Mike Mangione, please visit his official site at: www.mikemangione.com