WBEZ: The Morning Shift Interview
“In a city filled with hard-working musicians, Mike Maimone is right up there. The blues musician has released six albums, six EPs, and averaged 100 live shows per year over the past 12 years. Maimone plays the blues, but with a swampy New Orleans-influenced sound reminiscent of Dr. John or Leon Russell. He said he brings ‘a little queerness to traditionally straight blues-based genres.'” Listen to Interview
Pride.com: Hey Now Video Premiere
“His new music video for “Hey Now” features a delightfully diverse cast of dancing LGBTQ artists from Chicago including musician Stella Steel and drag performer Sofia Saffire. The video is too fun and too queer not to check out.” View Post
“The song and video are a big dose of joy and sunshine, and show that best way to overcome hate and fear is love and friendship.” View Post
The High Hat Club” (mikemaimone.com) is a five-song EP that leaves us wanting more. Maimone’s piano-playing is mind-blowing, his vocals exude enough warmth to start a blaze, and his word play, especially on “Hey Now” and “Clear Black Night,” is unforgettable.” – Gregg Shapiro View Post
“The man has the keyboard style of Fats Waller and Jerry Lee Lewis combined.” – Windy City Times
“He plays the piano with his feet. He swills whiskey between songs. He shouts and howls. He is an unstoppable music force.” – Choose Chicago
Mike Maimone “goes from zero to a hundred quicker than most,” according to Daytrotter. This hard-working independent artist has averaged over 100 tour dates each year since 2007, written and released 6 albums and 6 EPs on his label 8eat8 Records, played on dozens of recordings as a session keyboardist, and been hands-on in the production of audio and video for his projects. He is an official Nord Keyboards artist and showcased for them at NAMM.
Maimone works primarily with his band Mutts and as a solo artist, and has been a session keyboardist for Company of Thieves and Los Colognes among others. He has toured in support of OK Go, Blues Traveler, Plain White T’s, Murder By Death, and The Hold Steady, appeared on national TV several times, performed at Lollapalooza, Sasquatch!, Riot Fest, and at legendary venues from The Fillmore in San Francisco to the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.
In his own words, Maimone says, “My songs are born from a life of contradictions.” Maimone grew up in conservative rural Ohio, not coming out of the closet to his Catholic parents until age 30. He was an all-state athlete in high school, who played against LeBron James, while having a deep appreciation and love for the arts. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame business school, but quickly walked away from corporate America to focus on music.
From these experiences the prolific writer has published nearly 100 songs that are as diverse as his life has been.
For example “God, Country, Grave” appeared in gritty adult show Banshee on Cinemax, and “Let’s Go” was played in the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field during the Cubs’ historic World Series run.
His latest solo release, The High Hat Club EP, is a tribute to the now-closed New Orleans-inspired bar where he once played regularly. “It was a music club with a house 2nd Line horn section” describes Maimone. “After hours we’d close the blinds, smoke cigarettes, drink Malort, and keep playing music until the wee hours. This record is a tribute to that scene that meant so much to a lot of people.”
While confessional at the core, the music’s aching honesty speaks to the universal. Writing The High Hat Club EP was a deeply freeing experience; “finally singing openly about other men feels natural, and very liberating” says Maimone. “While I have written songs about coming out, and social issues surrounding it, this is the first time it has felt right to sing a relationship song with another “he” in it.”
Maimone is engaged to Mike Grimes and they live in Chicago with their American Bulldog, Levi.
Mike Maimone’s Band:
- Bob Buckstaff – Electric & Double Bass
- Nathan Graham – Electric Guitar
- Tim Koelling – Saxophone
- Alex Leong, Joe Goltz, or Alex Piazza – Trombone
- Ian Tsan or Pete Nocito – Drums