Kentucky resident Mikey T may look like a cop with that new
mustache, but what he brings to the world with his band Warmer
Milks is nothing but positive, whether they're spinning 30-minute-long
psychedelic song-dreams, or merely sprawling through the kind
of wrecked sludge you'd expect from the scene that has already
brought you Three Legged Race and Walter Carson (and oh yeah,
the Hair Police). The world may not be quite ready for this
stuff, at least not until the lifestyle magazine term "freak
folk" is erased from consciousness, but a new day is
most definitely coming . . . For this article, Mikey T answered
some e-mail questions by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman.
did you grow up? How did you get into music,
singing and playing instruments? Are there any
particular songs and/or recordings that hold a lot of
memories and feelings?
raised in Kentucky. I know this might sound cliche, but my
mom used to blare records when she was cleaning the house:
Carole King, Neil Diamond, Motown, then being a religious
family, she rocked tons of weirdo seventies Christian shit
from the Charismatic faith. Flower child bands like Lamb and
this Swedish woman named Evie. Total Jesus fest, let yer hair
down and go with God's flow style stuff, kinda scary but I
dug it cause it was that or hell.
on drums when I was in first grade, toy kit. I wrote a song
called "I Like School" or something of that sort.
Later on, this total Jesus rocker dude drummed during our
services and gave me some lessons, he was all like "and
a 1-2-3-4", I was hooked. Early nineties I heard Nirvana
and it changed everything. Most kids that I knew in Lexington
at the time were buying the radio stuff, but I wanted to hear
the shit that Kurt recommended so I met up with this misfit
in youth group and he turned me on to Black Flag and Bad Brains.
We also jammed out Miami bass music and smoked weed, it was
serious damage time. Good style for sure.
was all about discovering Lou Reed 'Transformer' as well as
Neil Young, Bowie and Dylan, total 101 stuff that is uncool
to mention unless you're with college indie rock asses that
talk a bunch of garbage cause they think they're hot shit.
On my own, I delved further and further into underground stuff,
remaining faithful to the clusterfuck known as 'Sister', the
one record that constantly shredded my soul.
from Louisville Mac Finley turned the cranks even harder in
my early twenties, getting me into Can and just random freak
out jams. We'd get drunk on shitty wine and listen to James
Brown's Live at the Apollo and Here Come The
Warm Jets. It was like being in the slow army, I was
going retarded but at the same time, it was gearing me up
to reprogram the idea that music is done a 'certain' way.
We'd jam in his living room in the south end and just kill
it. he'd always get on my shit for drumming slow, urging me
to just go for it, kill it. Real big time dude in the way
that I look at sound. Also, this dude David had thousands
of records and got me into the Dead as well as Pink Floyd
and the Zoo Records stuff like Echo and The Bunnyman, Teardrop
Explodes and Big In Japan. We played in a band called Electric
Kool Aid Cult that sounded nothing like the name suggests.
I wore black turtleneck sweaters and secretly wanted to be
the one to turn the Dream Academy around but "Life In
A Northern Town" needs no assistance. Robert and Trevor
from Hair Dudes are still turning me onto badass shit everyday,
it never slows down. Whether I jam or just listen to music
with those dudes, they are total inspiration.
as what makes me totally crumble, I would say the first record
I ever heard, Evie's 'A Little Song of Joy For My Little Friends'
still brings it all down. Sadly, I no longer own it but it
really works me over just thinking about it. Current stuff
is too much to mention. In the last week or so, I'm jamming
Eliminator, Bread, my second copy of Steely Dan's Citizen
box set, KITES, Ready To Die and Lexie Mountain. Yes, they
are all very good.
the Charismatic faith about? Are you still religious? Do you
consider your songs to be spirituals in any sense?
Faith is like the Mountain Dew of Christianity. Go all the
way with the huge praise band, extreme yelling, dancing, and
lots of handing over of the dollar just to hang with the times
and feel like you're not going to hell. No I am not religious.
I can receive those feelings on my own and as I have grown
older, have taken the incentive to do so.
Sure music is spiritual. There is a definite current that
goes through our music, dragging our ass over the rocks. I'm
not trying to get any heavier than I'm already being but there
is an energy that you either get or don't. That could be a
spirit, that could be science, but I do believe in it and
live my life for it.
did Warmer Milks come about? Are you the only
Milks started with me writing songs on an acoustic while living
with my girlfriend in an efficiency apartment two Christmases
ago. The idea of being in an intimate surrounding with just
my girlfriend and I allowed music to come out on a daily basis.
I had played in so many bands and was at the point where dealing
wth other people was more a pain than pleasure. Trevor Tremaine
(Eyes and Arms of Smoke, Hair Dogs) invited me to play some
songs in their living room. Spencer Yeh, Eyes and Arms, and
John Fail also played that night. It really opened things
up, sharing such personal material with a strong, close group
of friends. The idea of Warmer Milks exploded from there.
Soon enough, I wanted to expand the ideas and delegate more
melodies, 'situations' to WM. As far as the line-up is concerned,
it has been fairly consistent. My friend Travis has been jamming
the longest, while Greg, Mikey, Thad and Chris eventually
fell into things rounding out the group. A buddy, Dave Farris
played percussion on the Penetration disc but has since moved
on to other stuff. Trevor also sat in on bass for that track
as well as some other shows. In all reality, I have no idea
who the constant members are, considering anyone can stop
playing at any time, no questions asked and certainly, no
me about "Penetration Initials." Was it always an
epic? How did you write that monster?
Initials" was the second song I ever wrote with WM in
mind. The original version was all acoustic and clocked in
around 6 minutes. As members were brought in, the piece grew
to the size it is now. You can loosely follow its growth on
the Early Castles disc. I arranged the song, had all my parts
already written. I would ask the others to give the sections
certain shades, kind of like "Ok, think Eagles but WRONG".
They never really know what the fuck I'm talking about but
the end result is always completely something that rules.
We haven't played the track since that recording. It takes
a lot of practicing and we had spent a year or so jamming
on it. After that gig, we wanted to move on to other stuff.
a totally different side of the same coin, tell me
about "Tendertoe Blues"? Anything about it at all.
Blues" was more relaxed to jam out. I brought D and E
to the band and we went for it. Two days later we recorded
it live. The lyrics involve staying in the pack, avoiding
strangers, sisters and brothers taking care of each other.
That track serves as a perfect transition to the jams we're
doing now. Everyone wanted to get away from pretty. Tendertoe
was our opportunity.
there a double-LP in the works?
a single LP entitled 'RADISH ON LIGHT'. Anything gross about
what we have ever done before is merely a starting point.
jobs have you had and what have they taught you about America?
my early twenties I had punker dishwasher jobs. Awful. Then
around three years ago, I pulled myself out of the food ghetto
and into a slightly better ghetto. Now I split my time between
promotions at the college station (WRFL 88.1), night time
clerk at a gallery and once a week gig at a record store.
I'm proud to say that I no longer jump from job to job and
as result sleep better at night. I don't have any idea what
it has taught me about America other than if you don't work,
you can't get shit for yourself and you have no reason to
bitch because it's your own fault.
do you have to say about Lexington, KY? How does your environment
affect your music?
means the world to me. The (majority of) the band share a
house here to keep it cheap so we can jam as much as possible.
Slim (from Cadaver In Drag) picks me up from my job and we
listen to Neil Young in his van. Wednesdays I get together
with Trevor and we jam on his songs. Robert Beatty and I hang
out at Charles Mansion and drink tea. It's easy to find work
and school is cheap. There's a band called the L-FUCS that
do great Kiss and Zep covers. It's hard to imagine living
anywhere else. Not to say that I'll never move because who
As far as WM being influenced by Lexington, I can only attribute
that to the bonds we have with each other and with our friends.
Most importantly we love our record collections.
(anything)? Wisdom, advice? Plans for the future?
Hair Cops 'Constantly Terrified', Eyes And Arms of Smoke 'Religion
of Broken Bones', all two hundred releases by Cadaver In Drag
this year, Guided By Voices, Henry Darger, Harlan's 'Still
Beat', Cenotaph, Rampart, Arbouretum, Bonnie Billy, ELIMINATOR
Consider moderation on every turn. Read books and write as
much as possible.
Warmer Milks future consists of more jams, tours and recordings
with even better results. I'm getting married this year as
well as painting, reading, writing, partying, skating, and
early castles cd (out of print) (bornmugged)
rotted family corpse of god cd (out of print) (no label)
lucifer's twins cd (blood red cassettes/bornmugged)
penetration initials cd (mountaain)
rwanda/walken agorophobic penn 7" (paper)
nephalim1 cassette (blood red cassettes)
madonna slieve test cassette (bornmugged)
tiger cassette (blood red cassettes)
tendertoe blues cassette (rampart)