TPR#84 Mike June and the Wilson Street Refugees – Interview and Music

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Apr 202012

Mike June talks about his new band, The Wilson Street Refugees got its name; how the Grateful Dead became a bonding point for him and his Dad; how his album Exile on Wilson Street was made even though he was broke; the surreal moment he had during SXSW; and how many of his songs are “usually finishing conversations that weren’t finished in person.”

Mike JuneTPR#84 Mike June and the Wilson Street Refugees (MP3)

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Show Notes:

Mike June and the Wilson Street Refugees web site

Mike June Interview Recap:

Mike June talked about how his grand father was a country western singer which was rare growing up in New York state. So Mike heard more than his share of Hank Williams growing up. But at the time in the 80s, Mike was getting a big dose of heavy metal music at the same time. He is somewhat embarrassed to list all the metal bands he saw before he was 13. Mike reveals his favorite metals bands from those days as part of his process of owning up to those influences.

Mike June sets up “The Prisoner” Mike says “the words kind of sum up the whole record. It’s kind of the thesis statement for the whole album.”

[plays “The Prisoner”]

Mike June talks about all the personal history in “The Prisoner.” He says that in person he would never talk about all that stuff, but he has no problem putting it in songs. He says he’s not a poet or a song crafter. His songs are “usually finishing conversations that weren’t finished in person.”

Mike June talks about his first band in New Jersey called Mike Junes and the Dirty Doves. Their first record was 10 years ago. Mike talks about how his dad was into country music and didn’t really approve of Mike spending his time following the Grateful Dead around. But Mike remembers hearing the Marty Robbins song “El Paso” at a Grateful Dead concert. He talks about how the Grateful Dead played a lot of country music and if became a bonding point between Mike and his Band.

Mike June talks about New Austin Music which was started by Larry Graves and Scott Everett. They go around and find musicians who don’t have any money to record and give them a chance to record. They came to Mike because he had no money but a big collection of songs.

The Wilson Street Refugees were put together from ex-members of the Doves and another friend. They were the core of the band and they would go out during the week and just meet musicians and invite them to play at the studio on the weekend and help them record.

Mike June sets up “Newark.” He wrote the song “Newark” about his friend Joe Marques who was in a band in the 90’s called The Winter Hours. Joe was his college roommate and introduced him to The Byrds and Leonard Cohen etc. The song “Newark” was kind of a tribute to him. This past week at South By South West, he ran into Lenny Kaye from the Patti Smith Group. He had produced the one and only album The Winter Hours had produced. So Mike June got to stand on the corner of South Congress in Austin talking to Lenny Kaye about his friend.

[plays “Newark”]

Mike June talks about Jon Dee Graham playing lead guitar on that track and the legend that Jon Dee Graham is in Austin because he was such a good songwriter in Austin. He was in Austin’s first punk band, The Skunks. And he was also in John Doe’s X for a while.

Mike June talks about the name of the band. It’s named after an apartment complex where many Austin Musicians have lived at one time or another because it was so cheap. Unfortunately the apartments recently got knocked down and now all those people are refugees.

Mike June set up his favorite track “Babe, I Ain’t Perfect”. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but he notes that the song comes from the bottom of his heart.

[plays “Babe, I Ain’t Perfect”]

Mike June talks about how that song was for someone special and how she inspired him for so many songs on this CD.

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The Taproot Radio Podcast is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists. The Taproot Theme music is called “Meltdown Man” by Derek K. Miller of The episode as a whole is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media.


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