Snaki *Band Score 9.0/10* “These guys are here to Rock us for Good! Amazing Rock/Blues and Southern stuff!”
For BeRock Radio MiniZine (2012)
Today former Leatherwolf frontman Michael Olivieri tells us about the new song “More Than I Do” from the Michael Olivieri Band’s new album “M.O.B”. Here is the story:
Let’s see… More Than I Do… Where do I start?… The whole M.O.B. record was written in a very short time.. less than 60 days or so. And this song was one of the first ones…
I wrote it in a time of uncertainty. I was in a relationship with a girl that I was, let’s just say… WAY into…. But I guess in her eyes it wasn’t enough..
She thought that sometime apart, (the proverbial, let’s take a break) might help her figure out what she wanted and if I was the one for her..
This song came together very quickly.. I remember sitting out on the patio with my acoustic guitar and Dan Lucett (also part of M.O.B.) talking to him about it and what just transpired…
It was more tongue in cheek than serious, as we were laughing about it…
Truth is I wasn’t laughing on the inside…
When the rest of the band showed up for a jam in our living room. By the way that’s where we worked out ALL of the songs.. They took to it very quickly and the song came to life just like that…
As soon as Buzzy James hit the main riff on his dobro and Eric Von Herzen doubled that on the harp, I knew we were on to something really cool!!
Then K.K. Martin chimed in with the mando guitar and it was like “AAHH!!”
That made me want to pound out the rhythm on my acoustic even harder!!
Which in turn made for an honest, heartfelt vocal track!
The band not only has a unique blend of instrumentation but there are a lot of great singers in this band as well.
Tom Croucier, Dan Lucett and Paul Wilson all laid down a VERY solid background vocal track!
Another memory from this session is all of us standing around the Mic doing the CLAP tracks.. We were clapping so hard our hands were bruised and red!
The icing on the cake for me is Buzzys dobro solo!! That is SO crazy good it freaks me out!! Buzzy is a very talented dude and always takes the time and writes his guitar solos.
What I mean by that is he doesn’t just adlib and say “That was good enough”… He spends hours coming up with great phrasing and note selection..
But not in this case! I watched him do it! He had no idea what he was gonna play and just went for it.. ONE TAKE BABY! No cutting, pasting, comping or altering of any kind…He was like “Let me do that again”… I’m like “OH HELL NO”!!
I’m truly amazed at the level of musicianship in this band! And this song really captures the magic of 7 guys in the studio, vibing off each other!
Multi-tracked and 0 musical overdubs…
So if anything good came from being put on the”Proverbial break” it is 2 things..
1. Someday someone will come along and make you realize why it didn’t work out with the one before you…
2. I made a REALLY good record!!!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself as you check out the music video right here!
By Richard Rosenthal on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Michael Olivieri has a new album out, the self-titled M.O.B. Michael Olivieri Band. However, hand anyone the CD with the title blacked out, and chances are they would never guess who the artist is. Leatherwolf was one of the hardest rocking bands of the 80′s, but Olivieri’s new work bears no resemblance to those long-gone days. An amalgam of country, blues, roots music and rock; there’s lots of acoustic and pedal steel guitar, as well as harmonica and slide guitar work on the album. Intrigued? Confused? Curious? Read on.
Olivieri says that this is something he’s wanted to do for a long time. “When I left Leatherwolf, I wanted to pursue exactly what I’m doing. Those are my roots–Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Eagles, even John Denver. When I was growing up, I was the youngest of seven, so I had this in-house library of music I was able to listen to. Later on, when I saw what Lenny Kravitz was doing, and the Black Crowes, I thought ‘Yeah, I kind of want to go in that direction.’ But it took a while to develop that. The solo record I put out a couple of years ago, Goodbye Rain, got a little closer to finding myself, but that record was all over the map, direction-wise. When it came to do this record, all the songs came quick…60-75 days. I was putting this band together, and they just had this sound, with the harmonica, the pedal steel…it all just blended right away with the songs I had written.”
Olivieri’s current band has seven members, which is large as bands go. He says that he would like to tour with the full band, but that may not be practical. “A lot of the gigs I might just go out there with an acoustic guitar. You know how expensive it could be to bring seven guys on the road. Ideally, I’d like to bring the full band, but even if it’s just me with my guitar and keyboard touring, I’m going to get out there.” When Oliveiri does go out on the road, the reaction from people will be interesting. As might be expected, “The hard-core metalheads don’t get it. Most of my fan base is 40 and over, and over half of them are women, so I think those fans have grown up musically. I think you’ll find that they’re into country and jazz now. Metal, I find, is almost unidimensional to me. I’m not putting it down–I still do Leatherwolf shows– but I like music that can come down to a hush, as well as getting big.”
“I didn’t really have a goal to write a certain kind of record. Those are just real honest songs that came from a place in my life where I wasn’t censoring anything, and I didn’t have anyone telling me ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ It is what it is. And, I let the band interpret the material. I wrote all the songs, but the guys had total freedom to to write their own parts. And, aside from a couple of vocal overdubs and solos, we recorded the record live. A lot of what you hear is the magic that was captured. So, if I do have a direction, that’s where I’m coming from–there really isn’t a direction.”
Those SCREAMER readers who live in Southern California are in for a special treat. Mark your calendars for Sunday, February 12 at 6:00 pm. The Michael Olivieri Band will be having a record release party, and you’re invited! The band will be performing the album in its entirety, and, best of all, the price of admission is absolutely nothing–a free show. How often do you get that opportunity? The venue is the Gaslamp Restaurant and Bar, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. See you there.
Rare is the opportunity of reinvention realized for any musician trying to keep his or her head above the torrential tides of trends, tastes and commercial afterthoughts. Still, pet projects get made, often sidelined, yet occasionally glimmering with hope and promise. Consider the case of Michael Olivieri, a man who cut his teeth in the 80s as the lead singer for Leatherwolf. Only recently has he shaken off the shackles of heavy metal to cut two records under his own name, 2009’s Goodbye Rain and 2011’s M.O.B. — short for the Michael Olivieri Band.
During an impromptu interview in 2009, I asked Olivieri what inspired him to make Goodbye Rain. He explained that after spending 25 years in Leatherwolf, he never got the chance to do what he does — which, if you listen to Goodbye Rain, is to throw caution to the naysayers and indulge in a myriad of musical styles. “It’s a record without a direction,” he told me. M.O.B. rolls with a similar attitude, assuming a steadier stance and better production value. What you get is an amalgamation of Americana, rife with elements of rock, soul, blues, country — and unbridled passion.
Indeed, there’s a pervasive theme of love, loss and triumph, delicately threading its way over the CD’s 11 songs. “More Than I Do” and “Letting Go” blaze a trail for Olivieri’s soulful growl, but it’s on “Dead Man Crawl,” a moody, stagnated piece driven by the steady hum of a Wurlitzer piano and harmonica, where the singer truly defines himself. Here, he convincingly breathes and sighs through the melody before passing the reigns over to harmonicist Eric Von Herzen and guitarists K.K. Martin and Buzzy James. Together, they slip and slide on the breaks, inherently proffering an intensifying dose of musicality missing from the current hit parade.
“Talk Me Down” is a whimsical jaunt with a skipping piano line that addresses failure in the aftermath of success. Eventually, heartbreak gives way to a new sense of purpose and fortitude. Olivieri willfully counts his blessings on “Halo,” “For Worse Or Better” and “Such As Life,” espouses a day-by-day approach on “Tuesday Down,” and embraces the notion of idling gracefully on ‘Old Souls.”
Rounded out by drummer Paul Wilson, bassist Tom Croucier and acoustic guitarist, keyboardist and back-up vocalist Dan Lucett, the band is brimming with talent and chemistry. All of which accounts for why M.O.B. is a refreshing reminder of how simple, effervescent tomes, in the right hands of the right players, will never fall out of style. For someone like Michael Olivieri, doing what he really wants to do outside of what he’s become known for, what else could be more gratifying?