GET READY SOUTH FLORIDA. STARSHIP FEATURING MICKEY THOMAS WILL PERFORM LIVE THIS SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LILLIAN S. WELLS HALL (PARKER PLAYHOUSE) IN FORT LAUDERALE. TICKETS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE THEATER BOX OFFICE AND TICKETMASTER.
INTERVIEW WITH MICKEY THOMAS
Gearing up for Sunday night's show, Mickey Thomas took time out of schedule to talk with Rockbandreviews about new music, a possible album re-release, and where it all began. This is my third interview with this amazing vocalist and I know you will enjoy it.
Be sure to come out to the Lillian S.Wells Hall (Parker Playhouse) to hear your favorite classics from both Starship and Jefferson Starship. If you have seen Starship featuring Mickey Thomas before, you know that you are in for a treat. If this is your first time, you will be left with a lifetime memory of a great performance...
Hey everyone, this is Editor Bill Hernandez at Rockbandreviews.com in Miami and thank you for connecting us with us today.
Today I have the special honor of speaking with Mickey Thomas of Starship.
One of the most powerful vocalists in music history, Mickey has the vocal chops to belt out rock classics like “Find Your Way Back” to “We Built This City” along with beautiful ballads like “Sara” and “Fooled Around And Fell In Love”.
Making his mark in 1976 with the Elvin Bishop Band was just the beginning for Mickey's storied career.
Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will be performing live this Sunday night February 4th at the Lilian S. Wells Hall at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
Q: Mickey, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me today.
Oh, you're very welcome and thank you for that wonderful introduction.
Q: Yeah, this is actually our third interview I believe over the years. It's probably been about four years since our last interview when you played the Pompano Beach Amphitheater here in Florida. Your career spans over 40 years now and you've had, and continue to have an amazing career in a very, very tough business. Where did your introduction into music first begin?
Well, I guess probably the thing that was my biggest inspiration was I was fortunate enough to go and see the Beatles perform live when I was 15 years old, and that obviously made a big impression on me and that inspired me and my cousin's buddies in high school to form my first band.
Q: Do you remember the name of that band?
Yeah, the Inner Souls.
Q: The Inner Souls? Oh, that's pretty cool, man. I like that.
Yeah. That was back in the time of all those crazy band names like, Strawberry Alarm Clock and you know, the Electric Elevator or whatever, all that kind of stuff. So we had thought, it was kind of an interesting play on words, you know, Inner Souls and we spelled it, of course, Souls.
Q: “Fooled Around And Fell In Love,One of my most favorite favorite songs ever. I mean, the vocals on that are just so soulful and sensual and it just draws you in. That song was a catapult pretty much for your music career, but a few years later, you joined Jefferson Starship in 1979. How was that transition for you going from your success with Elven Bishop to Jefferson Starship?
Well, that was kind of a crazy transition really. Coming out of the Elvin Bishop Band, which was all, you know, blues and gospel, and soul, into the Jefferson Starship, which at that time, you know, they kind of had a string of hits with “Muddy Ground” “Miracles” and “Count On Me” and that was something very different from what I had been doing in the Elvin Bishop Band. So first, I was really pretty hesitant because I thought, I don't know how this is going to work out,
you know, how am I going to fit in to what the Jefferson Starship and what my conception of the Jefferson Starship was at that point in time, but as it turned out, the band was growing through a kind of a massive change at that point in time because not only had Marty Balin and then Grace Slick left the band, but then the drummer John Barbata had gotten into a serious car crash. Aysley Dunbar came in about right before I joined the band, so it was pretty easy for me to come into the band and having two new guys coming in at the same time. And also that the band was really interested in a completely new, different musical direction and that’s when I first flew in to meet the guys and kind of hang with them and jam a little bit and kind of see how it was going.
You know, one of the first things we jammed to was “Jane”, So I thought, oh, this is not what I expected, you know, I thought this is kind of cool, this might actually work, so “Jane” was the thing that convinced me to join the Jefferson Starship and then of course it became the first single, the first song that we recorded, and the first song released.
Jane” became the new calling card, kind of the new Jefferson Starship.
Q: Now of course, part of a legal settlement, Jefferson Starship's name was shortened to Starship. But now we see out there that there's the other version of Jefferson Starship out there with Cathy Richardson on vocals. I am curious to know like, are you guys friends or in contact with the other band, Jefferson Starship, or what's the deal there?
Not so much, I mean, I wouldn’t really say we are friends. We shortened our name to Starship as part of that agreement and part of that settlement agreement at the time was that the name Jefferson Starship would be retired for for good a en, you know, what we do is Starship and what they do is Jefferson Starship. But to make it a little more difficult, in the last few years, they started to do Starship songs.
Q: We're coming upon the 10-year anniversary of the release of “Loveless Fascination”, Any thought of doing an anniversary release of this great album?
You know, actually we have been talking about trying to do a re-releasing, you know, maybe something on social media, you know, to kind of create a buzz around that because I am really proud of that record. It's a really great album I think. Never really got the recognition that it deserves.
Q: Athough Christmas has recently passed, I have to mention to our listeners that you recorded a double - single of Christmas classics. This is definitely a first for you.
Yeah. It is. It is something that I wanted to do for a long long time.
I got a chance to, you know, I want to do a whole Christmas album.
But rather than drop off the deep end into that project right away, I said, you know, I’ll do a couple of songs, kind of test the waters and see how that works and I was really happy with the way it turned out because you mentioned that I tried to make it feel like that traditional Christmas and I love the old Tony Bennet, Andy Willams kinda Christmas stuff. I want to try to capture that, that classic sound. I had been in Nashville with some great studio musicians and we are happy with the way it turned out.
Q: It has been quite a while since you released a solo album and 10 years since the last Starship album. Any plans to make new music?
Well, you know, I do hope to sometime during the course of the year to have a complete Christmas album ready to go by Christmas of 2024.
So we have two in the can
I probably record about eight more songs during the course of the year and finish the Christmas album. I also kind of Maybe would like to do a cover album of classic R&B songs. Those things are really close to my heart.
My first inspiration was probably the Beatles, but once I've got into music and got into bands, I kind of gravitated more towards the great soul singers of the 60’s, So that stuff is really dear to my heart too, So that's something I always wanted to do, So maybe I’ll squeeze that in this year as well.
Q: Well, there is certainly a lot of things to look forward to because you have a lot of options out there. Now as a vocalist, what do you do if anything to maintain your vocals while you're on tour?
The biggest thing is hydration. I drink a lot of water and just do steam showers and a couple of glasses of Chardonnay to loosen me up a bit, (laughs). You gotta balance it out a bit, right?
Q: There you go. Now of course you're an amazing vocalist. We already know that. But every vocalist needs a great band behind them. Tell us about the band that's touring with you right now.
Great band. The Starship band is awesome. My drummer and my keyboard player have been with me for 30 years and my bass player for 25 years, the guitarist, John Roth, has been with me over 10 years now. So yeah, that really is a band. It's a family. We've all been together for so long. We're very together. We all know each other so well and we are having so much fun together. Our newest member, Cian Coey has been with us for almost two and a half years now . People are usually surprised at how much energy there is at a Starship show and how much fun we are having on stage. The fans put me through my paces every night, and we really feed off of each other. It is a really great time.
ROCKBANDREVIEWS.COM / 2024