by: Rick Moore
When I think of Mitch McVicker and Deep Ellum, they are usually not in the same sentence. In this case, however, the exception to the rule applies. For those not familiar with Dallas, Deep Ellum is part of the Arts District near downtown that houses the more entertaining clubs and pubs of the city. When I found out that Mitch was going to play there I thought this would be something to see.
show I had the opportunity to sit down with Mitch in a quiet little Tex-Mex
restaurant and ask him about his music, his past, and life in general.
This is an excerpt from said interview:
Mitch: I tried to….I just know how people get scared away by the whole….talking about God, talking about Jesus in a kind of artificial way. My approach was to just be myself, to be real and I actually feel like I didn't do it as well as I would have liked to. I think I talked a little too straightforward about Jesus and God without talking about myself and oh yeah this is who I am. But the thing was……I am naturally drawn to areas like this just because I think this is the world and too often we get in these little corners of reality that we create for ourselves….total comfort. Our friends, our church…..we just have this little clique we're a part of. So for me this was like ‘Wow, I'm singing to the world that God so loved that he gave his only Son’….and I get to be a part of that and I hope that people don't walk by once they hear a reference to God or Jesus, but that they may check it out. I hope I don't scare them away (laughs).
Rick: Well, how's the new album coming? Are you finished recording it?
Mitch: Almost done recording it and then it just goes through this long process to get all the artwork together, all the manufacturing together….yeah it just takes a while. The wheels of the music industry turn slowly and so it ….I'm really excited about it and I don't want to rush it along and just haphazardly put it out there.
Rick: Do you have a tentative release date?
Mitch: I don't really have a tentative release date. I just know that its going to be towards the end of the year.
Rick: On Rhythm House Records?
Mitch: Well it probably wont be on Rhythm House but it might be if I see a reason to be with Rhythm House.
Rick: Going back to an independent-label then?
Mitch: I might go back to independent or I might…..if someone else wants to jump on board, that would be great.
Rick: Have you ever thought about Rocketown Records? They seem to cater to new young artists.
Mitch: Yeah, I've thought about Rocketown. Yeah, I have thought about it and I think probably hundreds of people have thought about Rocketown (laughs). Its some place I’d very much like to be. We'll see.
Rick: Right now its just yourself and Brad (Layher). Any plans for a "big band" tour?
Mitch: I do have plans for the first part of next year…..doing a "band thing". Me and Brad and a drummer and a bass player to do the "band thing".
Rick: Do you already have the guys lined up?
Mitch: Yeah, I do.
Rick: Ragamuffin guys?
Mitch: Nope, just various guys (laughs). So I'm real excited about that. I've seen the "band thing" tonight and a couple nights ago as a part of the Bebo Norman tour and the "band thing" was there and I'm just ready to do the "band thing" and I'm ready to try and take the essence of what we're doing and transfer that over to the band realm and that's really exciting for me.
Rick: How's the recovery process coming from the accident? You mentioned you still have double vision.
Mitch: Its still there. Its coming along great though. I don't notice improvement from day to day but I do know that I'm way better then I was a year ago and way better then it was two years ago. I would say that probably my eyesight…..I would like to think its about 90%. Because what I see in front of me, I can hone that in and see one object but the peripheral is still messed up. So I guess its just time will work…….
Rick: How about your voice?
Mitch: The voice….Man, I feel like it’s……I can notice a significant difference from six months ago so I'm really thankful. I'm fine with where it is now. I know that physically its not where it was before the accident but I know that I am a better singer then I was before the accident. I know that I understand more about it. I understand my voice better and if this is what I've got to work with then that's great and I'm thankful for that.
Rick: You and Rich met in Friends University. Did you have a class with him?
Mitch: Yes we had a class together. Yeah we……I was at Friends to play basketball….that’s why I went to school. And he had come back to school after a number of years. I decided I needed to pick a major so I picked Religion and Philosophy and he was in one of my classes because he was interested in that particular class. We were in a small group together and became friends and we hung out for a while. He didn’t know I was a musician for about a year. Then we happened to graduate at the same time and I didn’t have anything to do when I graduated so he said "Well, do you want to work with me", and I said "Ok".
Rick: And the rest is history?
Mitch: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess so!
Rick: In an attempt to be a little different, I thought I’d ask your favorites on a few things.
Rick: Who is your Favorite artist/group?
Mitch: Wow…….I can tell you four really quickly (Laughs). I can't really narrow it down but off the top of my head I would say my Favorite artist is Tom Waits. I think he's a wonderful songwriter and an unbelievably creative musician. Counting Crows is a band I really like because of their passion. Rich is the only influence I ever had. People are like well, "Who are your influences"? You know, there's people that I've listened to and I've really appreciated but Rich influenced me. He's my influence. He's a Favorite. And Ani Difranco who is an independent artist who's been doing it for about 15 years now. She's a wonderful songwriter, one of the most honest people I know. The most honest person I know is Rich. Ani is close. I just respect her very much for doing the independent thing. She's turned down million dollar record deals and she's doing it on her own and her last album sold 500,000 copies. So those would be four big ones.
Rick: How about a Favorite movie?
Mitch: Favorite movie would be "Nobody's Fool". Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, and Jessica Tandy in her last film. I think it came out in 1995. Paul Newman won the Oscar for it, finally. He'd been up for it a bunch of times and he's my Favorite actor. I think its an unbelievably written story and the symbolism in it is so thick. Probably close behind that is "The Fisher King". Another well written story, very Christian story, I think. Those are my top two, I think.
Rick: Favorite fast food?
Mitch: …..Arby’s. I love Arby’s. Everything there, and I especially their Jamocha shakes. But now I'm diabetic so now I can't eat those (Laughs) and I don't know if Schlotsky’s is fast food or not but that would be close too.
Rick: So I guess your favorite sport would be basketball?
Mitch: Favorite sport to play is basketball, favorite sport to watch is college football. I love college football.
Rick: What's your favorite team?
Mitch: Nebraska. Nebraska Football. I grew up on the Iowa-Nebraska border. I grew up going to games. I don't love anything affiliated with sports near as much as I love Nebraska football.
Rick: Biggest influence or role model? Would that be Rich?
Mitch: Yes….(pause). Rich Mullins and Jim Smith. His writing name is James Bryan Smith. He lives in Wichita. I think this summer, the book has been done for a while but just recently did a biography on Rich. That's who Rich lived with for a couple years in Wichita. The attic that he lived in where "Hold Me, Jesus" video was filmed. So my role models would be Rich Mullins and Jim Smith.
Rick: Your favorite place to perform?
Mitch: Wow!!…..that’s a hard one. (Laugh). That's a loaded question.
Rick: You're supposed to say Dallas
Mitch: (Laughs) I know, I know. Dallas is one of them, ironically. Actually, most of Texas was wonderful. I can just say general areas. Wisconsin, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, and Northern California.
Rick: Favorite season?
Rick: Favorite Holiday?
Mitch: Christmas. Very much so. Because that's when all the family gets together. And as you get older you start understanding the whole thing of giving and how gratifying that is. And the whole incarnation is really baffling to me. And because we're celebrating God coming to Earth in human form. I'm thankful that happened. So Christmas is hands down.
Rick: How about a few favorite memorys.
Mitch: Wow…..(pause). Favorite memory, oh there's so many. Let's see here. I'm trying to narrow it down. I don't know if any of them….I can give kind of general answers. One of them would be going to Nebraska football games as a kid. I was ten or so. One of them would be the good games I had playing basketball.
Rick: Well, I wanted to thank you for the time tonight.
Mitch: Cool! Yeah, those are some good questions. You even stumped me some.
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