Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MusicSpades interview

Two interviews in 1 week! This one's with Music Spades and you can read it here.

1. What’s your name and the name of you band?

This is Woody and I do guitar and voices for the band Mighty High.

2. How would you describe your sound for anyone who hasn’t heard it yet?

Loud. I describe our sound as Black Flag Railroad. Others have said Motorhead meets Cheech & Chong, which is also accurate.

3. Do you still have all the same members?

No, only our bassist Tommy Blow and myself remain from the original line up that first played together in the summer of 2002.

4. What was the influence behind forming the band?

I started teaching myself guitar about 10 years ago at the age of 31. All I wanted to do was play along with my favorite records. When I discovered that I couldn’t learn other people’s songs I decided to write my own.

5. How did you all meet?

I started the band with my friend DD Smack. He’s a good guitarist and he took interest in my musical ideas and encouraged me. When it was time to start putting a band together he suggested Tommy Blow, they had been in a few bands together over the years. Tommy brought in our original drummer Colin O’Dope.

DD Smack moved to Washington, DC in late 2003 and TJ Whippets was drafted in as his replacement by Tom and Colin. Then in 2006 I needed to change drummers in order to move the band in the direction I wanted to go. Luckily my friend and bartender Jesse D’Stills was interested.

6. Where was your most memorable show/gig?

Probably our record release show at Southpaw in Brooklyn, March 2008. It was one of the best shows we ever played. The owner and staff are friends of ours so they treated us great and let us play really loud. Also, our good friends The Saloonatics and Federale were on the bill with us and DJ Wake N Bake played tons of great tunes between sets. A very memorable night.

7. Your album "…In Drug City" cover is very psychedelic looking. Who and what was the idea behind it?

The cover art and concepts were created and executed by my friend Wayne “Brain O)))” Bjerke. All I had to tell him was the title and he created the artwork. It’s loosely based on Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels album cover, but much sicker and drugged out. It definitely does not glamorize drug use.

8. You also have posters of the cover. How can everyone get one who wants one?

Buy a CD or t-shirt and I’ll be glad to give you a poster for free. I have tons of them so just ask. If you only want a poster, send me a bunch of stamps and I’ll send you one.

9. How did the name for the band arise?

Many years ago my wife and I were driving in the car somewhere. I was telling her a story about something really stupid I did in high school when I was stoned. She said “you must have been mighty high.” There was a pause and we both realized it was a great name for a band. I started telling everybody how great my band was even before I started playing guitar.

10. You are the only band to have played with Thor and Valient Thor, what was that like?

It is an honor that I don’t take for granted. People are still talking about the Hoboken Holocaust that took place at Maxwells in July, 2005. I’ve been a big fan of Thor and his incredible film Rock N Roll Nightmare since I was a kid. Thor and his band were very cool. He loved the flyer that Wayne did for the show. I just hope he comes back to the NYC area so we can have a rematch.

Playing with Valient Thorr at Trash in Brooklyn January, 2006 was also great. That was probably the biggest crowd we ever played to. The guys in VT were very cool and their bass player was really impressed with my Mighty High denim jacket. They all have VT patches on the back of their denims, but acrylic paint is way cooler.

11. What is the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

The last movie I watched was Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and I thought it stunk! I don’t have time to watch many movies so it’s a big bummer to waste time on a crappy film. The last movie that I really liked was Pineapple Express, for obvious reasons.

12. How did the title Drug City come about?

The song “Drug City” was inspired by the song “Love City” by Sly and the Family Stone even though it sounds nothing like it. When I was trying to think up a title for the album I just thought Mighty High…In Drug City sounded cool.

13. If every member of the band could compare themself to a musical icon who whould it be?

That’s easy – Tim wants to be Eddie Van Halen, Tom wants to be Billy Sheehan, Jesse reveres Phil Rudd and I worship at the alter of Mark Farner.

14. If you could jam with any artist from the past who would it be and why?

I would be afraid to jam with anyone since I’m not very good, but I’ll say Link Wray. He’s one of my favorite guitarists and I know how to play some of his songs. Plus, he’s the guy that invented really loud rock & roll guitar playing. It’s always best to learn from the source.

15. What was the first show or concert you saw?

My first concert experience is mildly embarrassing. It was Styx at Madison Square Garden in 1980 or 81. For the record, I NEVER liked Styx. The only reason I went was because my friend’s dad got free tickets and I just wanted to see a rock concert. The show was pretty lame but we were up in a VIP booth so I could watch The Dukes of Hazard on TV while the band played. I also stole a can of Miller out of the fridge.

My first real concert was The Ramones at Iona College in my hometown of New Rochelle, NY. It was the spring of 1982 and it was a total mind blower and about as different from Styx as you can get. It was so loud. I stuck my head inside the PA stacks and was amazed that my hair started blowing around. I went on to see the Ramones many, many more times through the rest of the 1980’s.

16. You have appeared in some great publications what were they?

We were lucky enough to appear in Classic Rock Magazine from the UK twice last year. First they gave our record a great write up and a few months later they included our song “Hooked On Drugs” on a CD that was included with another issue. We made a lot of new friends and fans because of them.

Julian Cope was also nice enough to write about us on his excellent website. And I’m very proud of the fact that we have been featured on the High Times monthly Pot 40 chart consistently for the past year. It’s something that people send in votes for and we’ve been #1 a few times.

We’ve also received some really bad reviews that are very entertaining. One writer said it sounded like a bunch of 14 year olds in leather jackets and a Steve Miller fixation tell us how to write songs. They’re all up on for your enjoyment.

17. When and where are you playing next?

Our next show will be Thursday June 25 at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn. Hank’s is a total dive but is a very fun place to play and to see bands. It’s free and there are always plenty of local drunks and weirdos in the place to keep things interesting.

18. Do you have a myspace page?

Who doesn’t? We are at We’re also on facebook at and LastFM at

19. Do you have a website?

Yup, or – they are one and the same.

20. How can people get in touch with you?

I check all of the above pretty regularly but the best way is via email at

21. Anything you would like to add?

Our music is available from itunes, Amazon, CD Baby and direct from us. Go to for all the ordering info.

Lastly, thanks to MusicSpades for taking an interest in us. Cheers!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Sunday Conversation with Mighty High

Many thanks to the Ripple Effect music blog for interviewing us as part of their "Sunday Conversation" series. Check out the interview here -

The Ripple Effect

Long before we knew him, and long before he joined us here at the Ripple, lending his practiced ear and pen to writing some dynamite reviews for the Ripple, Woody blew us away with the fuzzed out, punked up, adrenaline-filled wail of rock that emanates from his band Mighty High. First conjoled into writing with us, we next convinced the Mighty High Woody to join us on the red leather Ripple Interview couch and shed some light on his musical roots.

RIPPLE: When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkle, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

WOODY: I've had many musical epiphanies in my life but 3 really stand out. The first was Christmas, 1974 getting a copy of Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe LP as a gift from one of my older brothers. He thought I’d like the poo poo jokes, which I did, but I also loved the music. The next was Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. I read an article about them in Creem magazine when they were opening for Ozzy on the Blizzard of Oz tour in 1980. I just knew this band was for me, and they still are. Lastly, hearing Grand Funk’s Live Album in November, 2000 completely blew me away and gave me the inspiration and direction to create Mighty High.

RIPPLE: Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

WOODY: Usually music comes first. I’m not very original so most Mighty High songs begin with me trying to learn a cover song and not being able to figure it out. I’ll jam on a few parts and variations while watching TV so I don’t think too hard about what I’m playing. I read once that Joe Perry used to like to watch Godzilla movies when he was writing music for the first few Aerosmith records. Maybe he should go back to that technique.

Once I have a rough idea of how the music is going to go I start to think about the mood of the song and if I have any slogans or song titles that match it. I have a long list of potential song titles and keep a catalog of lyrical fragments in my head.

I’ll usually have about 75% of the song done before I bring it to the rest of the band. We’ll jam out on it and see where it goes. I’ll also have some spare parts in case we hit a brick wall. A song will often change direction once I hear it with the full band.. I like to try and play them live at our shows as soon as possible. If too many people start playing with their phones, then I’ll adjust the song right away. Lyrics are important and they’ll often go through a lot of revisions until I come up with the stupidest shit possible. They’re loaded with inside jokes that confuse most people but are hilarious to me and a few friends.

RIPPLE: Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

WOODY: I get tons of inspiration from discovering semi-obscure classic rock albums. About a year or so ago, a friend gave me Come Taste the Band by Deep Purple. I had no idea how great that record was. It helped me solve a few musical problems I was having with some songs I was working on. I have no problem admitting I steal a lot from other bands, Deep Purple especially. Lately, I’ve been listening to the 1st West, Bruce & Laing album Why Doncha. I’m sure some of that will wind up in our next batch of jams.

RIPPLE: Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

WOODY: I’ve always describe Mighty High as a loud hard rock band. Categorization has been a big problem for us. The stoner rock crowd says we’re too punk, the punk crowd says we’re too stoner. The garage rock crowd thinks we’re a metal band but the metal crowd doesn’t think we’re metal enough. The fact that the lyrics are humorous makes a lot of people mad, but the joke’s on them since they don’t know how to have a good time. I like to pretend that I’m Duke Ellington and say that we are “beyond category.”

RIPPLE: What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

WOODY: Our intention is to play louder than hell and to kick ass. We’d love it if our audience would go wild but it’s usually about 20 stoned dudes holding their beer cans and nodding politely.

RIPPLE: In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?

WOODY: I never try to make the songs more complicated than they need to be. We keep the jams lean n mean with a few left turns here and there, but we’re not talented enough to get too progressive. In fact, we refer to ourselves as Brooklyn’s #1 regressive rock act.

RIPPLE: The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living? What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?

WOODY: Luckily I have a good job so I’m able to finance this ridiculously expensive hobby. I’m thrilled that people all over the globe have discovered and enjoyed our music but it would be nice if a few more of them would pay for it. If there was some money coming in than we could make even cooler t-shirts and record more often. The economy is hitting everyone hard and attendance at shows is way down but we really appreciate anyone who shows up and gets loaded. I knew when I started the band that Mighty High would have an extremely selective appeal.

RIPPLE: Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

WOODY: A few years ago I lent someone from another band my guitar tuner to use. When they were done with it, they re-calibrated it to a different tuning so when I used it my guitar was completely out of tune. We start playing and I’m convinced that our other guitarist TJ Whippets is out of tune. I start yelling at him to tune his guitar during the first 2 songs. He keeps tuning and nothing changes. Finally I realize I’m the one out of tune. I felt about 3 inches tall. Luckily I had a spare guitar and the rest of the gig went great.

Another great one was the time we played a party using another bands gear. During the first song both guitar amps blew up and I broke a string. There was a big crowd staring at us while we spent about 10 minutes repairing everything. Our bass player used to unplug himself a lot on stage, but luckily that has happened in a long time.

RIPPLE: Where do you see you and your music going in ten years?

WOODY: Good question. In ten years I will be 51 years old with an 11 year old daughter. I will have a lot of explaining to do. The original concept of Mighty High was to sound like Black Flag playing Grand Funk’s Live Album. In a few years I’d like to make it sound like Black Flag playing BB King’s Live at the Regal.

RIPPLE: What makes a great song?

WOODY: A great riff and a good slogan. It should make you want to step on the gas or punch someone in the face.

RIPPLE: Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

WOODY: The first song I ever wrote was called “Slow Gin” but I never finished it. It’s basically a medley of “Slow Ride” by Foghat and “Cold Gin” by Kiss but came out more like “Sister Ray” by the Velvet Underground. The first song I ever wrote and finished was “Dusted” – track #1 on Mighty High…In Drug City.

RIPPLE: What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

WOODY: All the songs are near and dear to me, but it’s usually whatever song I’m working on at the moment. I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 31 years old. I’m completely self taught as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter so finishing a song is always a huge achievement since I really don’t know what I’m doing.

RIPPLE: Who today, writes great songs? Why?

WOODY: Jeez, this is a tough one. There are a lot of bands I like out there but most of it is so derivative of older stuff (I’m including Mighty High in this statement). Off the top of my head, I’ll say Mastodon. I think they write great songs that you can rock out to but are also interesting musically and lyrically. Locally, I’ll give it up to Federale and the Brought Low. When they play new songs I’ll still remember them when I sober up the next day.

RIPPLE: Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

WOODY: All 3. I know it’s heresy these days, but I do think CD’s can sound the best. When ZZ Top remastered Tres Hombres I compared it to my old LP. The CD sounds much better, but the gatefold of enchiladas looked so much more appealing on the LP.

We’re already starting to see artists issuing their stuff on vinyl that includes a CD or mp3 download. This will probably be the choice of serious music fans, but the general public will take whatever they can get for free.

RIPPLE: What's the best record store in your town?

WOODY: My favorite store closed just about a year ago – Slipped Disc Records in Valley Stream. It was a metal/punk/hardrock specialty store out on Long Island with incredible selection. It’s where I was able to track down tons of imports and out of print stuff plus cool shirts, books and DVD’s. The owner was a great guy and had excellent taste. He sells at some record shows now, but it’s just not the same.

I wish NYC had a store the caliber of Amoeba in California or Waterloo in Austin, TX. Generation Records in the West Village is pretty good. Passout Records in Brooklyn is a small but good punk/garage spot that also has live music. J&R has the best prices but their selection is a little conservative. Other Music in the East Village has some great stuff but they insist on filing everything in frustrating little micro-genres.

Awesome, Woody. Great stuff. Keep the Mighty High madness coming our way and thanks for all your great writing for the Ripple.

Friday, May 15, 2009

#1 on the High Times Pot 40 July 2009

Thanks again to everyone who voted to keep us #1 on the list. If you want to vote for us again just send an email to

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Free Mighty High bootleg

We recorded our show at Trash in Brooklyn on 4/25/09 on a digital recorder and also through the soundboard. Our personal baker Chef Vin Jovi mixed the two sources together under the influence of hashish the other night. The quality is still pretty rough and there's tons of mistakes, but if you want a sneak peak at some of our new jams and relive some old favorites, feel free to download this High N Nasty document·

Set list - Mighty High; Breakin Shit; Shooting Spree; Cable TV Eye; The Ram; Come On! I'm Holdin'; Stone Gett-Off; Drug War; Hooked On Drugs; Kick Out The Jams.

Get it here here.