|Meeting up: Mike with Yours Truly KJS|
KJS: Your solo career began to take off in 1987 with the release of your acid jazz themed "Light Up The Night" album and the single "C'est L'affaire" - a track that featured former Imagination front man Leee John. If I remember correctly, your meeting up with Leee was an important moment in the early stages of your career wasn't it?
KJS: It was also during this time that you worked quite extensively with the late, great Pete Haycock (who was, of course, both a founding member of Climax Blues Band and ELO Part II) both in the studio and on the live circuit with "Guitar & Son" (1987) and later "Livin' It" (1992). What are your fondest memories of performing and gigging with Pete back then?
KJS: Tell me more about the moment in 1988 when Bill Withers landed in the UK with no band for a three week tour. That was your big break wasn't it?
|Back in the day: Mike with Pete Haycock|
KJS: You've been the Musical Director for Take That now for getting close to three decades from their initial arrival on the scene to their amazing resurgence through their many hits and as a key member of their imaginative tours. During that time you’ve overseen the establishment of their touring band and, by extension, that for Jeff Lynne too. I noticed that there's a lot of love for you and the band too from the TT fans! When you signed up, did you foresee the success of Take That and how did it affect you down the years? What would you consider to be your personal highlight to date and also your fave Take That song?
KJS: As with working with Take That wasn't enough, you’ve also spent many years working with Graham Gouldman and have performed with 10cc on several tours. With a songbook ranging from the quirky to progressive rock to the layered eloquence of "I'm Not In Love", did you approach working with 10cc any differently than with Take That? Looking back, which 10cc track did you enjoy performing most?
KJS: Your career seems to have never stopped expanding and evolving as you've also been the Musical Director for Annie Lennox more or less from the time that you started working with 10cc in 2002. You also produced her albums "Songs Of Mass Destruction" in 2007 and "A Christmas Cornucopia" in 2010. I imagine that this is another string to your bow that you've thoroughly enjoyed! How did the opportunity to work with Annie come about? Is there also a stand out moment from working with Annie that you'd care to recall?
|Star of the Show: Mike's solo releases|
KJS: Fast forward to 2013 when you and the TT band were 'borrowed' by Jeff courtesy of Gary Barlow for the Children In Need Rocks concert and the ELO ball started rolling, proverbially speaking. Not long after that, Hyde Park happened and then three major tours not forgetting Glastonbury and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction. I guess that your work with Take That, 10cc and Annie Lennox meant that you had covered many genres and styles. How did you find learning and arranging all those great Electric Light Orchestra hits for the live shows? Were there any challenges that you'd not experienced before or were the songs something you took to instantly? You look very comfortable with Jeff on stage. What is working with Jeff like?
KJS: Having enjoyed and still enjoying what can only be described as wonderful career (with a new ELO tour around the corner), what would you say are the moments, things and/or events that you personally take most pride from since you started out?
KJS: Now here's what always get asked during my interviews for elobf! What are your fave ELO songs and, of the ELO songs that have not been given the live treatment to date by Jeff Lynne's ELO, what would be your choice for a live debut later this year?
A personal message from Mike:
"I would like to say a big thank you to all the bands loyal followers and fans who have been so generous towards us in bringing back the music of Jeff and ELO. We really appreciate all the kind words and look forward to seeing you all on the shows!"
|A Stellar Career: Mike with Jeff Lynne's ELO, Take That and 10cc|
Remembering Pete Haycock Interview: Pete Haycock
Review: Jeff Lynne's ELO @ BBC Children In Need Rocks 2013
Caught Live: Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Hyde Park 14/09/14