Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
MA: A persistent one. My friends never believe me on the days when I say “I quit!” It never happens and is a tall tale I occasionally tell myself.
Musically and creatively I write about life as I see it and how I would like for it to be. I write quite a bit about what things seem to be as compared to how they actually are and I think that resonates with people as they too are suspect there might be more going on than we sometimes see or are told to see.
New wave influences me the most and while there are other genres I draw from (from disco to country) music from the late 70s/early 80s new wave, glam, pop, New Romantic, CBGB punk- are my backdrop and what I tend to come home to and where I am the most comfortable and from where I can communicate with the most honesty.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
MA: I have no brief history or stories. So, here is a summation of me as regards my music and how I have approached it all.
I can tell you about a conversation I had with punk rock drummer Martin Atkins (PIL, Pigface) in a Detroit dive bar in winter 2018.
Martin: “So how did you get your start?”
Me: Thinking back nearly 20 years earlier, through the fog and suppressed tears of having watched my mother and best friend die just two weeks earlier and the shock of finding myself stranded in my hometown decades after I left to pursue my life as an artist.
I sat in ignorance over the fact that my life was on its way to getting much worse (in which I too got cancer which I rapidly survived whereas she had not) before it became far better than I ever imagined it could be-minus my best friend.
I found one drop of life left in me to answer his genuine inquiry, in kind, with earnestness.
“I arrived in a city and went around town introducing myself as a musician so people started asking me to play gigs. I said “yes” and then went and wrote some songs, formed a band and showed up to the venue.”
Martin: “That is very punk rock.”
Level Achieved: Seal of Approval, Junior Punk Rock Member badge earned.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
MA: I’m inspired by the people I meet and by my own musings about it all
Naturally, The Psychedelic Furs. I’m a big fan of Roxy Music, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Maria McKee, Kristin Hersh and anyone who isn’t cookie cutter. I’ve been known to draw out of The BeeGees, Townes Van Zandt and Bonnie Prince Billy. So, I’m open to anyone who moves me.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
MA: At its heart, I hope to inspire others to dream and to hope and get from my music what I get from the music that has enriched my life.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
MA: I write all of my lyrics. I have written the music on my own in some cases and, in others, I have collaborated with other writers and musicians.
They are about the agonies and ecstasies of life. I take what I observe, experience and imagine and put pen to paper.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
MA: Online my hub is www.micheleari.com and am on all key socials and loads of streaming services. Word of mouth too as I meet so many people who express interest in what I do.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
MA: As someone who has moved a fair bit, and is likely to move again, I am a big fan. I’ve sadly had to part ways with a massive record and CD collection over the years because I couldn’t keep lugging it all around the US so nearly all but a bit of my music is digital. One day, if I settle, I will buy another turntable and build my record collection again.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
MA: If There is Something, Roxy Music. Every bit of it is genius and a marvelous story.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
MA: When I go to a concert and want to dance and people act too old to have fun and get upset at you for not sitting in your seat like a dead lump of cells. No need to be a whirling dervish but life is meant to be lived and enjoyed to its fullest.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
MA: Every moment I am in because it means I am still here and still carrying on and creating. I truly feel that way but, one of my most moving moments was when I was recording my vocals at John Ashton’s studio in upstate NY for my upcoming EP New Page. I stayed at his house with he and his fabulous family and on the last night, it was just us- vocals and guitar. All of the past moments of my life that lead me to that very spot. I felt at home, I felt I belonged where I was and I felt confident.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
MA: Letting everyone I can possibly reach know that my new EP New Page is coming out soon with the single Little Parties leading the way. It was hard won and I am thrilled to be at the fun part where people get to hear it for that is what it is all for.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
MA: I have three solo EPs available on www.Micheleari.com as well as pre orders and saves for Little Parties, there, Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Tidal and all the usual places.
Michele Ari links:
Band/Artist location – Clearwater, FL
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Check our page for Michele Ari