Mike Got Spiked Black and white band photo

Interview with Mike Got Spiked

I wrote this originally in November 2005 for Freeflow magazine, which covered extreme sports and music. I found it on the computer.. here it is!

Mike Got Spiked Interview/Profile

It’s not every day that a band comes along and captures the hearts of Ireland’s young gig-going public. Mike got Spiked are that band. Formed in 2002 and forging rock and hints of other genres into what is the Mike Got Spiked sound, Conall, Dave, Johnny and Gavin are now selling out venues up and down the country.

Since the release of their debut album “Caveat Emptor” in March of 2005, success has followed hard grit, but the band don’t mind. They are now in the enviable position of giving up their day jobs. The band’s singer Gavin McGuire is smiling as he tells me of Mike Got Spiked’s leap of faith.

‘We’re living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle’ laughs Gavin, ‘Well almost!’. ‘We’re moving everything out of Dublin down to the countryside where it’s cheaper to live. We got ourselves a van, we have to get ourselves a house, that’s the main thing really. We’re trying to up the ante now by gigging as much as possible.’

So the highlight of the year since the album release is giving up the jobs? ‘and going to Canada was great’ adds Gavin, ‘It didn’t quite work out as well as we had hoped but it was a fantastic experience and now quitting the jobs, it’s probably the biggest gamble we have all taken. It’s a great feeling not to have to get up and go to an office and do rubbish you don’t want to have to do’

Mike Got Spiked were chosen to play on this year’s Warped Tour in Canada, which was headlined by The Offspring. It nearly didn’t happen. Immigration had other ideas! Having planned to fly to New York and then travel on to Toronto, US Immigration stopped the band in Dublin airport.

Determined to get to Toronto the band booked direct flights for the following day but the delay caused them to miss their first scheduled gig. ‘Because all our transport and backline had been booked in America, we had to re-jig everything at the last minute. But’ says Gavin raising his eyes to the sky’ knowing our bloody luck, it was a Bank Holiday weekend in Canada. We just had a nightmare, we had to get two cars and it was a lot of driving. We had to be there at 8 am and we weren’t even sure if they would let us play because we missed the first one. Looking back it was a phenomenal experience.’

‘We got up the next day, went to the venue, and got to play the gig. And it was fantastic! It made the whole thing worthwhile. They are now hoping to get on the North American leg of the Warped Tour in 2006.’

Mike Got Spiked are aiming themselves towards the North American market.’ The type of music we play, the reaction from people over there seems to be tenfold because there are more people there to see bands like us. Canada, North America just seems to be the place for us.’ The band themselves say they are very American – esque while the Canadians thought ‘You guys are so different than anything that’s being played over here.’ Gavin says ‘we took a bit of confidence from that there would be a market for what we do if we moved over there. That’s what we are working towards, writing a lot more new songs, getting tighter and basically trying to get ourselves some sort of deal. Basically get us to America and book some gigs for us. That would be the goal for the next six months’.

Different Mike Got Spiked songs do have very different feels to them. How does the band itself describe them? ‘We just say we’re a rock band. Certain songs maybe have a bit of ska in them or maybe hints of jazz, a bit of trad and metal and punk and pop. We are a rock band simply you can get into the complexities of whether you’re a metal band or a ska funk band. We don’t bother with that. If you say you are a punk rock band that means you can only do punk. If you say you’re a rock band you can incorporate different elements into that. That’s what happens with our songs, we put in whatever elements we feel the song needs.’

“Caveat Emptor”, was released on Conflict of Interest Records, a small Dublin-based label. ‘The label was set up by three people we know, who had been watching us for a year. They loved the music and wanted to give us a helping hand. Without them we probably wouldn’t have even thought about recording an album at the time. I’m very happy with the album, how it turned out. We got plenty of time to get it as good as we basically could. I don’t listen to it very often’, says Gavin ‘ I’m the type of person when I listen to it I hear mistakes and things that could have been better. But when I do listen to it, it’s like ‘Wow I can’t believe we actually created something that good.’ You can’t ask for more than that.

“Caveat Emptor” is on sale now


© Nessy Productions/Vanessa Monaghan 2009