Meet Mike Fredrickson

Painting courtesy of the artist
Interview by Adam Lovinus

Renaissance man and Milwaukee music bastion Mike Fredrickson released an new album, Bristlehead, in December. The guitarist/bassist/painter was a founding member of the Moselys, whose Thursday night residency at Linneman’s in the 1990’s is regarded as a high water mark in Milwaukee music.

He was kind enough to chat with us and donate a track from his new album; you can check him out live 10 p.m. Monday, January 12 at Linneman’s, 1001 E. Locust St.

F-B: Your Thursday night residency with the Mosley’s at Linneman’s is regarded as a high water mark in Milwaukee music. What are some of your favorite memories from playing that gig?

MF: We were playing Thursday nights at Linneman’s from late in 1994 until Christmas in 1998. My favorite memories are about staying up late after hours and playing with all the people that were night owls like us. The performances were always high-octane affairs, and we never had a set list, so some nights ended up in odd places. I think Royce Hall was a genius on the guitar and Dave Braun was no slouch either, so keeping up with them kept my hands full most of the time.

F-B: You performed on Saturday Night Live with the Spanic Boys. That was in a 1990 episode starring Andrew Dice Clay.

MF: Dice Clay had a bodyguard at the after hours party standing in the middle of Mariel Hemmingway’s bar with his hand under his lapel, scanning the crowd with his eyes. I felt like I was on the set of the Sopranos.

F-B: Tell me a bit about your songwriting process. Lyrics first?

MF: I usually make up the whole thing at once. Melody, chorus, lyrics, everything at once. That’s how that one happened. Then I sing it into a tape recorder and figure out some chords to go along with it. I know that method isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. The faster the better.

F-B: Tell me about how Bristlehead came about – I read that you barter paintings for studio time – did you do that for this record?

MF: I bartered two paintings for the last CD that I did with Jay O’Rourke. That CD is called Poor Freddy’s Almanac and came out a couple years back. Jay was flush then so we bartered for his time. Unfortunately– times have changed and I had to pay for this one. I went through my savings so I’m back at square one. Bristlehead happened because we hit a lull in our touring with Robbie Fulks last fall. Right now I’m trying to save up for another one to be recorded early in the spring. We’ll see.

MP3: “Let Me Go,” Mike Fredrickson


One Response to “Meet Mike Fredrickson”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Nice painting, Flipper!

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