Meet Our Staff: Mike O
Hailing from Northeast Ohio, Mike moved to Brooklyn in the mid aughts, to pursue a career of paying rich people obscene amounts of money so other rich people can pretend to live in their homes.
A life-long lover of music, Mike’s inauspicious beginnings involved listening to a lot of soft rock and kid-friendly hits from the likes of Debbie Gibson and Amy Grant. Then party rap became a thing, but his mom confiscated his friends Vanilla Ice tape so that never really caught on (luckily, nobody can really understand what Canadian Reggae star Snow is saying, so mom was ok with it).
Then this whole grunge thing happened, and flooded the radio, so that was the thing for most of Mike’s middle school days, it was somewhere in this phase where Mike also discovered Hum, and Dinosaur Jr. who seemed like one-hit wonders, but we’ll get back to that later.
High School involved trying on a lot of different musical identities, All the girls were listening to Depeche Mode and the Cure, so of course Mike got into them, but the boys were all listening to Rush and Zeppelin, so he listened to that to. It was also around this time when he discovered The Velvet Underground, Jazz, and somehow decided he was going to try to be a raver and started listening to lots of Trip-hop/techno/house/jungle/drum-n-bass/EDM/whatever they’re calling it these days.
A new millennium dawned and Mike finally broke free of his suburban roots, to explore college life in beautiful Dayton, OH. He only lasted a year at college, but finally embraced his destiny as white boy from the suburbs and got really into Wu-Tang Clan and other assorted Hip Hop. He also ended up working with some older guys who had lots of cool band t-shirts that reminded him that he Really did like that Dinosaur Jr. band, so he started listening to that and Sonic Youth, which started him down a weirder path, somehow, he also met some friends who introduced him to Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, and Bluegrass.
Moving back to NE Ohio, Mike started checking out the local music scene, passing up numerous chances to see The Black Keys back when they were just a local band from Akron, in favor of seeing other local bands. There he was introduced to the whole NY indy scene after catching the Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing with The Liars, before anyone knew who any of those guys were. Mike started going to all kinds of local shows seeing tiny little bands from all over the world, most of whom have never been heard from since.
Somewhere around this time is also when he saw what might still be the most amazing thing to ever happen at a show. He went to a tiny punk rock show featuring the Casualties, at an art gallery in Kent, OH. The art Gallery was run by some crackhead, who lived there with his daughter. The show was a an orgy of destruction and mayhem, featuring a mosh pit of big burly dudes beating the shit out of each other in anticipation of an attack from white supremacists.
To wander into that pit would mean annihilation unless you were at least 6 tall and 300 punds of pure muscle.
Imagine the terror coming over him as he saw the crackheads daughter, wandering towards the pit to go get her toys. Surely there was no way for this toddler to make it to the other side.
But then, without warning, a line formed, of punk rockers, linking arms and holding back the mayhem, as though they were parting the red sea.
A kindly punk rock girl with safety pins in her face and spikey hair took the little girl by the hand, and walked her over the puddles of blood, vomit and cheap malt liquor, helped her gather her toys, and walked her back out before the pit resumed as though nothing had happened.
After moving to NYC, Mike found himself making friends in the local music scene, and was introduced again to weirder music, this time shoegaze and dream pop.
Mike got clued into the re-emergence seminal shoegazers, Slowdive when they played a couple tunes for NPR at his friend’s shuffleboard club. Looking to learn more, he discovered that there’s a whole world of bands out there making all the music he had wished he knew about before, and it’s all more readily available than ever.
These days, Mike explores those rabbit holes while supposedly working, discovering new music from all around the world to share with our listeners.