2016 August 15

Mike sent us this Happy and Normal fan video from Tokyo Joe.  Enjoy!

2015 December 23

As the year comes to a close, we at ILVMV wanted to send along a little Christmas gift.

In 1995, John Flansburg (of They Might Be Giants) asked Mike if he had a Christmas song for something he was working on and Mike whipped one up and recorded a version for John's Hello CD of the month club.  "Give Me a Second Chance For Christmas" was born.  The song was re-recorded for Let’s Get Christmas with drummer Mike Levesque and bass player Pete Donnelly who had been on the road with Mike through 1999. Together their playing became more intuitive and brought a higher level of improvisation and immediacy to songs old and new.

Here, for the first time, you are allowed behind the scenes to witness the creation of a Christmas classic.  Mike is joined by Pete Donnelly and Mike Levesque at Dae Bennett's Hillside Studios in Engelwood, NJ.  Also onboard providing background are Kelci Bennett, Remy Bennett and Brian Dozoretz.

Continue Reading...

2015 April 07

A new 7" vinyl release through Ryan Adam's Pax-Am label is available for pre-order now at Ryan's website!  You can also buy it direct from Mike himself (potentially with some other goodies) on his own store later today.

From Ryan Adams:

Mike is a genius. His songs are pure genius. He records himself though sometimes and he ruins everything. So I made him come to my studio and just him and me made music under the name Defcon 4 ( which is a really funny story where I tried to be friends with him for 4 FUCKING YEARS and he never really wrote back so I wrote him a mean email and he asked if we could please bring it down to Defcon 4 please… now we are true bros )…. Anyway he is a genius and I basically make him make stuff really quickly and not think about it.

When you do that to him he breaks your heart. Fuck you, Mike. You’re so smart you asshole. I love you. 

These tracks are assorted, a few from the first session we ever did together and a few from the concept record “I’m Going To Kill You” that Mike is making about going back in time and hunting his own self. 

I would do it for him but I am still ripping solos.

2015 January 07

In celebration of a new year of ilvmv, we are happy to share a new (old) album, featuring many previously unreleased and rarely heard songs.

In 2003, Mike Viola floated a number of outtakes from the "Play With Your Head" sessions to his fans, many which were compiled into the a 14-track "bootleg" release and distributed on an early fan website.   Over time, many of those tracks were lost and the seven unreleased tracks on the widely distributed "Play With Your Outtakes" are all that remained.  Here, with the help of Mike Viola, is the complete compilation as it was originally intended..

Continue Reading...

2014 July 11

On June 25, singer/songwriter Inara George hosted the fundraiser “Unsung Heroes: A Celebration of Mike Viola” at Largo in Los Angeles.  George (one half of the band The Bird and the Bee) is perhaps best known to Viola fans as the voice on the other half of the duet “A Way To Say Goodbye” from Mike’s live album “Just Before DarK” (also recorded at Largo).  The evening featured guest appearances by 14 different performers offering their own renditions of Viola songs before Mike took the stage to close the show with three numbers.  Highlights of the evening included Ryan Adams’ powerful take on “Here’s The Rub”, Bleu’s daring re-imaging of “Painkillers” and the debut of a new Viola song by Kate Micucci and Becky Stark.

Continue Reading...

2014 April 24

Mike recently brought the house down with a rousing rendition of the Beatles' Oh! Darling at a benefit for Children's Music Fund in March.  

2014 March 04

As Mike wraps up his month long StageIt focus on Hang On Mike, we present a vintage performance from 2004.  After kicking the show off with "My Heart Isn't In It" from Play With Your Head, the Candy Butchers launch into a complete track-by-track live version of Hang On Mike.  After savoring Mike's sparse solo arrangements of these songs, the full band performances crackle with energy.

Continue Reading...

2014 February 25

Anyone who watched Mike's StageIt show on February 21st heard him tell the story of how the song Superkid came to be.  Now ilvmv.com is proud to present the original "Super Kids" broadcast from 1982 - Mike's first exposure to a broad audience.  Brace yourself for a serious Boston accent!

Continue Reading...

2014 February 20

With everyone exhausted from the shoveling and ready to move on to summer (except for you @$&#^% West Cost weirdos), I thought it might be a good time to warm you all up with a special post.  On Thanksgiving weekend of 2013, Mike traveled back to the East Coast with his whole family for a quick swing through New York and Massachusetts and a show at Joe's Pub.  The intimate venue was packed as usual and Mike delivered a heartfelt holiday show for his fans, or as he calls them, friends and family.

Continue Reading...

2014 January 30

In June of 2012, Mike Viola joined his friend Tracy Bonham and the Danish musician Tim Christensen at the Vega in Copenhagen to celebrate the 70th birthday of Sir Paul McCartney.  In celebration of Paul’s birthday, the trio performed McCartney’s album Ram in its entirety.  The show was recorded and released as an album and DVD in January of 2013. 

Nearly a year after the historic concert, the trio reunited for two shows in May of 2013 at the music hall at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, one of the works oldest amusement parks.  During these concerts, Viola, Bonham and Christensen performed their own original material, both solo and accompanying each other.

Continue Reading...

2014 January 25

The song "Harlem" by New Politics was released as a single in late 2012, but didn't really pick up steam until late 2013.  As of early 2014 the song seems like it's everywhere.  Besides the radio, you may have heard it in commercials for the Disney movie Frozen, or in commercials for the Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos Locos.  Mike Viola is listed as a co-writer on the song, without having any other writing or producing credits on the album.  So, what's the story behind Mike's involvement with the song?

Continue Reading...

2014 January 13

    Every year, Mike Viola threatens to record a full-fledged Christmas album – but he never seems to get around to it. It’s not that he doesn’t see the value in a Christmas record, in fact, he counts one Christmas record among the most influential of his childhood. 

“My knowledge of harmony and arrangement is heavily influenced by “Christmas With The Chipmunks”. The console stereo in our living room had a bunch of different speeds. It even had 16-rpm speed so you could slow records down so I was able to pick out the tight, linear three-part harmonies and the music arrangements that went by too fast at 33 1/3 rpm. It’s brilliant!!! And if the Chipmunks piss you off for some reason you can just pan them out of it (either left or ght … and not on every song I don’t think). It’s the Wrecking Crew playing on this - Hal Blaine, Leon Russell, Tommy Tedesco, etc. The same guys that played on Pet Sounds a few years later….. Crazy right? Not really. They played on the Beach Boys Christmas record as well. I’d count that one, this one and maybe Nat King Cole’s Christmas record as the most influential records of my formative years, the soundtrack of my childhood along with AM radio. All that harmony and confidence. All that cartoon counterpoint.”

Until Mike follows through with his threatened album, we at ilvmv.com offer you this compilation of Mike Viola written or performed Christmas tunes. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Continue Reading...