Skylarkin is a sweet and optimistic album. In it's now retrospective context, many of the songs seem to take on a new nostalgic role easily yet always evading melancholy. The album opens with "Heyday", by now familiar to many after it's adoption by the Frames as well it being the title track from last year's EP from Mic.
Kids Song, Listen Girl and Looking for Jude follow and each will immediately entice. If you've never heard Kids Song for example, you'll struggle not to sing with it's catchy "So how comes your sister's in drag". This was the beauty of Mic's songs. Simple yet confident and captivating, his lyrics oozing with love and beauty.
What A Curious Notion is introspective and personal with its poetic lyrics and instrumental backdrop.
Skylarking follows and while many of Mic's songs are familiar by now from bootleg recordings and memorable performances, the title track is probably the most unfamiliar to fans. Mic resembles Tom Yorke as he sings, "Skylarking, isn't this the way that we can go". Once again, this is sure to join Kid Song and Heyday as an anthem synonymous with the celebrated singer.
Guest Vocalists feature throughout the album and the household voices of Gemma Hayes, Lisa Hannigan and Glen Hansard can be detected while the production merits of the Odlum's add their own trademarks on the release.
On Friday 29th of November Mic Christopher's debut album Skylarkin was launched in front of a very fortunate Vicar Street audience. On the same night one year earlier, a similar grouping of audience and artists came together to raise funds Mic after a most unfortunate accident. That night was unique in its passionate performances, its sense of respect and devotion and in its premature celebration of Mic's life.
While the former lead singer with the Mary Janes didn't survive his accident, his music lived on and through such close friends as Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, Ronan O Snodaigh and his sister Maureen. Mic has his heyday at last.
The words from Daydreaming hang in the air like a call from Mic "Stop dreaming our lives away, daydreaming our lives away". Skylarkin will have you daydreaming alright, great stuff.
Review by Thomas Finneran, U.L.
"Mic Christopher" was this name I had heard, for years, around
but I'd never gotten to see or meet him. This was a little strange
because everybody else knew him. He was almost a landmark. I didn't
quite get his music until we were in Prague and he went on after Glen
Hansard and played a better gig - which was nuts because Glen was my
favourite performer at the time. I was impressed!"
- Damien Rice
"Mic Christopher to me was a hero in every way. Mic had something of his
own, that is what separates true artists from the rest. His voice was
deep and not an imitation and his lyrics were completely from a
different sphere. I was lucky enough to become friends with him - I used
to go and see him play when I could 'cause I could learn from him. We
did a good few gigs together around Ireland, he made me laugh very hard
and loud and when I think of him he still does, I just see a big, warm
"Mic died a handsome young rover, he left no debts and no anger, just a
lot of great memories and beautiful songs and a friendship that will
never diminish. He lived as a poet and died as one, and I will never
fear death again because I know when it's my time, my friend will be
waiting to show me around."
- Glen Hansard
SoundsXP - Skylarkin
You probably won't have heard of Mic Christopher before. Not that many have, really- and it's a pity, because they're most certainly missing out. So let me tell you a bit about the story of Mic, for it's quite a sad one. The singer-songwriter - formerly of Irish stalwarts The Mary Janes, who enjoyed moderate success during the 90's in Ireland - was on tour supporting The Waterboys last year, when he fell down some steps in Amsterdam, slipped into a coma and died shortly afterwards. He had enjoyed a kind of cult following in Ireland, gigging regularly and at the time of his death, had been working on his debut album - that is, Skylarkin'. Having had just an EP to his name (entitled Heyday) his family and fans thought it important that Mic should have his dream of a solo album realised and completed work on Skylarkin'. The end product: an achingly beautiful album that belongs in the CD collection of anyone who likes folky, acoustically based singer-songwriters.
Reviewed by Lauren M
Sorted Magazine - Skylarkin
Mic died before completing this, his debut album, but his sister and friends have worked since his death in November 2001 to complete what is a permanent memorial to one of Ireland's great lost talents. After the Mary Janes broke up in 1999, Mic concentrated on his own music, a mellow and melodic sound that he often showcased live in Dublin venues, particularly Whelan's. Many singer-songwriters tend to become very introspective on their first solo albums, but thankfully, this isn't the case with this, it's a bright and joyful release. It echoes other Irish acts like the 4 of Us and a number of American singer-songwriters like Grant Lee Philips, but Mic had a charisma and style that infuses the material here and made it truly his own.
Guests on the album include some of Ireland's bigger names like the Frames' Glen Hansard and Gemma Hayes, but this is entirely Mic's album, his voice and words are what it's all about. It's the kind of timeless music that can, at times, like on the beautiful 'Listen girl', make you stop, close your eyes and just listen. It's a particularly well put together album that seems to get better with every track, reaching a peak with the upbeat 'I've got your back' and the sublimely beautiful 'Skylarking', which is everything Grant Lee Buffalo was, but better. Then it winds down slightly for the last track, 'Daydreaming', which has a nice easy vibe for the end and it's all over.
"Skylarkin" is the sound of Mic Christopher celebrating life and it has become a celebration of his life and music. His death was a tragedy, but, with "Skylarkin", he has left us a large piece of what he was and it stands up well to his memory. Nobody could ask for more when they're gone.
Entertainment Ireland review - December 4 2002
Just before he died Mic Christopher completed the songs for what would be his debut solo album. He left instructions with his former Mary Janes bandmate Karl Odlum about what finishing touches needed to be done. Considering this, no one can claim that this album is a digging up the demos or lost recordings of a deceased artist to make a quick buck. It is more the finishing of what was almost complete and the preservation of the music of a talented musician. Sometimes the last recordings of an artist may be melancholy or even dark and moody but Skylarkin' is nothing but positive and optimistic. The words from Daydreamin' repeat, ‘Why should we wait/For things we want in life/When we can just go out and find them/And stop dreaming our lives away.' Mic's surviving friends and family have certainly done an excellent job bringing a certain warmth and full bodied sound to the album, which was somewhat lack in his previous release, the Heyday EP. The production and finishing touches would mean nothing though without Mic's simple yet poignant lyrics that conjure up thoughts from childhood innocence to true friendship. Despite Mic's life being cut too short, one can only conclude after listening to this album that it was a life well lived.
Reviewed by Jim Healy.
Published on the 04/12/2002.
Where's The Craic.com review
Heyday is the Debut EP from Dublin based solo artist Mic Christopher. At first listen you fail to hear the intricacies and arrangement of his voice with accompanying vocals from Gemma Hayes. On further listens you hear the luscious blend of harmony and subtlety as he woes you through the pleasant and summery four songs. The EP was recorded with friends and former Mary Janes band members.
The opening track "Heyday" features his deep distinctive voice with backing vocals from Karl Odlum. He follows on with the melodic lullaby "Listen girl". Track three "Looking for Jude" is in my opinion the strongest track on the EP. This is a blend of great lyrics matched with fluctuating vocal tones and a heart warming chorus. "Kid`s song" is the last track on the EP. A folk driven song with pleasant backing vocals.
If these tracks are anything to go by, his next EP will bring us further into his captivating vocal ensemble. We are also promised a duet with Gemma Hayes which should create the perfect balance of harmony and sound. A heart warming mix of folk and melody.
Local Ireland review
MIC CHRISTOPHER ‘HEYDAY’ EP
by Daniel Hegarty
If you look at the history of lead vocalists going on to have solo careers after a group splits up, history has told stories of conflicting fortunes. At one extreme there Neil Young (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), John Lennon (The Beatles) and Michael Jackson (The Jackson Five) who managed to remain successful. The other tells of opposing fortunes, Paul Westerberg’s career suffered greatly after leaving The Replacements, as did Gary Barlow’s following Take That’s parting.
The Mary Janes never reached that kind of status, but they had a loyal following in Dublin, so on the announcement of their break-up last year, it ended a small part of Dublin’s musical history. There were no emotional scenes, but many were genuinely sad at losing a band that seemed to be reaching their prime.
Vocalist Mic Christopher has wasted little time dwelling on what might have been and put out an independent EP, the title of which may give you an idea of what was/is going through his mind these days. It’s four tracks recorded with friends and former band members that do nothing but warm the heart.
You get the impression that this is more like something to let people know that he’s still here and hasn’t given up making music yet. If tracks like ‘Kid’s Song’ and ‘Looking For Jude’ are anything to go on, we’re in for quite a treat when he puts out a full album.
Cluas.com - EP review
Ronan falls for a worthy DIY release
A self financed, self released EP of curious charm and warmth, Dublin based singer/songwriter Mic Christopher has been growing in stature as each week passes by thanks largely to some key support slots across the capital. A regular at the Frames' multi-supported shows Mic has the Frames to thank in spades with this debut EP. Managed by the same manager helps, as does the presence of Frames six-stringer David Odlum. But that's where any comparisons that there may be end.
Mic Christopher has that kind of folky voice that crops up a lot with your Dad's record collection. A warm, quivering country drawl that reminds the listener of dozens of vocalists including the bloke from Credence Clearwater Revival, Eddie Vedder and even a teenage Neil Young before he learned how to attack an electric guitar and grow his hair.
The opening track 'Heyday' is an instantaneously catchy vibe on saying "Hey!", makin' up the years and foolin' around (in the hay?). Gloriously homemade in feel and execution it's the perfect introduction to this DIY talent. The rest of the EP pans out gently enough with a bluesy country feel that grows ever warmer with repeated listens. If 'Listen Girl' were any warmer it would be an oven while 'Looking For Jude' could have been written around a campfire at Woodstock.
There are a million and one acoustic troubadours (un)plugging around Dublin at the moment. Some are good (David Kitt, Pete Courtney, Adrian Crowley to name but three), some dreadful (no names to protect the guilty) and you can now add Mic Christopher to that list of quality. Check him out, you won't be disappointed.
RTÉ Ten - Skylarkin - January 7 2003
This solo debut from the late Mary Jane Mic Christopher is a tribute to the man himself, as well as to family and friends who put the final touches to the album.
A member of the Grafton Street busking tribe, which included Glen Hansard of The Frames and Kila's Ronan O'Snodaigh - both of whom contribute here, along with Gemma Hayes and his Mary Jane's bandmates - Christopher had been working on this album before the accident which resulted in his untimely death in November 2001.
It is near impossible to listen to 'Skylarkin' and ignore the circumstances surrounding its release. Always a popular song, 'Heyday' has taken on a new anthemic quality with Christopher's death. So too have lyrics gained a poignancy unintended by the writer - "...we've been 'round/And getting closer to our dreams/There'll be a mark here when we leave/So everybody'll know what we've been 'round" (I've Got Your Back').
Maybe if Christopher had had more time he would have worked for longer on a some of the songs which recycle the same musical ideas. That aside, his voice - a warm, vibrant instrument - makes up for other shortfalls.
'Skylarkin' is a worthy debut for Christopher - it's a shame that he's not around to see it fly.
cluas.com - Skylarkin
After Mic Christopher's motorbike accident in 2000 he spent a number of months convalescing in his flat in Dublin, immobile in traction. This would have disheartened and broken many people, but instead he returned with the irrepressible 'Heyday', the song which opens Skylarkin. It is a song about living life to the fullest, and embracing each day with joy, a theme that runs throughout Mic's debut album. Uplifting such themes may be, but this great album is also punctuated by a great sense of loss, it being released a year to the day after Mic's tragic death.
With the advent of programming buttons and skip functions, it is a rare occasion that an album is released which doesn't have you reaching for one of the former. Here is such a record. From the first four songs (the Heyday EP in a different order) through 'Wide Eyed and Lying' and finishing with 'Daydreamin'' this album holds your attention and demands that you listen. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the album almost finishes more strongly than it begins - 'I've Got Your Back', 'Skylarking', and 'Daydreamin'' are unarguably impressive songs to close any release.
The two personal highlights for me are the duet with Gemma Hayes on 'I've Got Your Back' and the closer Daydreamin', a song which unashamedly wears its joie de vivre on its sleeve ("cause it's our time / and we'll use it anyway we want to"). However the undoubted emotional centre of the album lies in its showstopper, the title track. The song wears its strings and horns lightly and with grace, while the lyrics examine how world-weariness tinges our view of situations and makes us cautious:
"You learned a lot when you were out there
About this foolish game
And finding cause to let your nightmares
Get in your way"
But soon an upbeat Mic closes the song with some eternal optimism: "Skylarkin' 'cause you know we never will grow old". However today it is an unexpectedly powerful and painful closing lyric, it being only too true of Mic and his short - but inspired - life.
With bands such as The Strokes and The Hives superficially bringing alt.rock into more upbeat territory, it is a pleasure to hear an album that wears its author's experiences (both negative and positive) on its sleeve, yet can still sound as beautifully upbeat, as Skylarking most definitely does.
Credit for the clear production values on the album has to go to Karl Odlum, along with his brother Dave, who - in taking away the rough edges that were present on the Heyday EP - have ensured that there can be no doubt among listeners that this is anything but a gem of an album.
Sorted Magazine - Mic Christopher (1969-2001)
Mic Christopher, of the criminally underrated Dublin band, the Mary Janes, died on 29 November. The circumstances of the incident two weeks ago that put him on a life-support machine, while on tour with the Waterboys, are unclear.
What is clear is that Ireland has lost a great talent, someone who should have been a lot more successful than he was, and the Dublin live scene will be poorer for his absence.
Mic Christopher is someone whose path I personally crossed quite a few times over his tragically short life. He went to the same secondary school that I did; in fact, he blazed a rebellious trail that I was to follow. The trouble my own insistence on wearing my hair long and piercing my ears caused led to many comparisons with the dreadlocked Mic who had drawn the same criticism a few years earlier.
Mic's parents are friends of my parents, so tales of his activities were a constant source of interest. It was a few years, though, before I actually had a decent conversation with him. In fact, it was through a Sorted invite to the launch of "Spiders" by Space in 1997. Mic was the support act and joined us in the free bar upstairs in Whelan's. A somewhat alcohol-fuelled conversation, swapping stories of our experiences of school, him discussing the music biz from his side, me from mine. It was great to finally meet the "legendary" Mic properly.
Some time after that, we interviewed Mic about his work in Bosnia with the Warchild group. Of course, going to gigs in Dublin on a somewhat regular basis, it was kind of hard to miss Mic, playing solo or with the Mary Janes, as he was a regular fixture in Whelan's and often cropped up as a support act elsewhere. The fact that he never got any further while crud like Boyzone was clogging up the charts is criminal.
And now he's dead. There's not much more I can say, our thoughts and best wishes go out to his family in this difficult time and we hope that Mic will live on in the memories of those who heard him for a long time.
THE FRAMES @ the Savoy. Cork
support by josh ritter & mic christopher.
I was a bit dubious when I heard the Frames were playing the Savoy Theatre nightclub I always equate club with big toilet and thought the Frames were only in it for the money (!) but I was so wrong. After eventually getting past the bouncers and being asked for I.D (a lot of people were not let in as there was a strict door policy) and finally getting in, the venue turned out to be lush with candlelight seating and a niche crowd the rest were still outside trying to convince the bouncers they were Kosher.
Josh Ritter a singer songwriter hailing all the way from the U.S.A was the first of the two support acts, both solo acoustic affairs. He managed to captivate the audience with his smooth free flowing lyrics and a voice to go. A country Nick Drake meets Elliot Smith. His set finished with an encore stuck to you which he tells the story of how he wrote this song while deciding whether to be a scientist or musician, he made the right decision sticking to music. Second support act is Mic Christopher, a singer songwriter from Dublin. (X-Mary Jane's singer) Mic has a great voice reminiscent of Tim Buckley with upbeat songs from the E.P Heyday the Kids Song a folksy sound and heyday with the chorus sounding a bit like the "Hey bodyform, bodyform for you" ad. His strong vocals seemed to transcend his songs. It's great to see so many solo singer songwriters around (besides David Gray) who deserve to be signed.
After a brief interlude with music by dEUS and Mercury Rev with the atmosphere filled with anticipation the Frames all five of them arrive on stage to a rapturous applause Glen Hansard is dressed well sporting a "Josh Ritter T-shirt" he must be getting the royalties in. It's great to be here he says but it's not the Lobby his usual haunt when he comes to Cork solo. plateau is the opening song and the band launch into the set with fused energy, Lay me down is an achingly pure melody and is the first song played from the long awaited for the birds album. Next is the infectious tune God Bless Mum the crowd joining in with the chorus and echo back "you see how hard it can be to keep your side of the deal..." A lot of bands seem to have that problem at the moment. Glen invites the people at the back to come sit on the stage as there plenty of room ten girls and a guy take up the offer perch themselves on the stage this is the beginning of an intimate soiree, which is a Frames trade mark.
What happens when the heart just stops is another new song with breathtakingly bare lyrics made complete with the fused rhythm from the whole band. Glen thanked the crowd for their support as for the Birds has charted at no.6 this is a first for them as they've never charted before. Disappointed is a melancholic melody with an electrical looping background Bursting into Revelate The Frames and the crowd rock on. Glen narrates his way through the set telling the story of what inspired rent day blues, it involved him as a down an out musician in the States, a George Michael fan and a hot tub! They then do two cover songs , a moving rendition of You'll have the moon I'll have the stars by Magnetic Fields and Rotterdam by The Wedding Present. Both of these bands have also been produced by Steve Albini. Glen must be keeping it in the Family.
Star Star brings the set to a close. But wait there's more! there had to be, the crowd made sure of it. headlong is an emotionally charged melody with soaring violin strings. Josh Ritter accompanies Glen with his own song come and find me. Mic Christopher does an explosive version of Elvis' suspicious minds. Santa Maria mesmerises the audience with its electric charged fade out and shows just why the Frames have a cult like following.
Jaysus! I think I found a new Religion.
review by Sharon McCarthy
Hot Press - In memory of Mic Christopher 1969-2001 - December 14 2001
It was the afters of my wedding and I was dancing with my wife of eight hours. The Mary Janes were playing ‘Friends’, Mic Christopher’s awesome voice ringing out over Simon and Karl’s guitar and bass lines: “You’ve seen me die/But you’ve helped me to rise up again/’Cause you are my friend…”
Now it’s eight years later, and I’m listening to that same song in very different circumstances. Mic Christopher has passed away after spending over a week in a coma in a Dutch hospital, the result of a bad fall. He was on tour as special guest to The Waterboys, a band that inspired a whole brotherhood of players who came of age on the streets of Dublin at the turn of the last decade, a community that birthed not just The Mary Janes but also The Frames, Kila and scores more. They were all – and still are – kinsmen, and Mic’s passing will send terrible tremors through that network, throwing a shadow on the innocence of that lunatic summer of 1989.
I first met Mic on South Anne Street around that time. He was just back from London, a street urchin with an impish grin, deadpan delivery and cherub’s curls – all the girls were cracked about him.
A whole bunch of us played on the same bills together over the next five or six years, sharing vans, management, rehearsal rooms, roadies, instruments, spliffs and sometimes bedding. If you were in a band like Peach or The Tulips or The Castanedas, you went on after the Mary Janes at your peril. Even as an acoustic entity they could blow just about anybody else off the stage, but you couldn’t hold it against them: as champions like Bill Graham and Maria McKee testified, they were just too good. Years before Starsailor and Coldplay and Muse and even Jeff Buckley, they went deep into Tim Buckley’s dreamtime and merged those spells with the rock dynamics of a Led Zeppelin or Jane’s Addiction.
The band made two fine albums, played everywhere from New York to Glastonbury to Bosnia and then split in 1999. This autumn Mic, having recovered from a bad motorbike accident, released his own Heyday EP. There was plenty more to come, and the Waterboys tour made it seem like the whole thing had come full circle. And then, this.
Mic Christopher wasn’t the kind of guy you usually find in rock‘n’roll. He exuded integrity, he was funny, moral, gentle, sardonic and in a way, protective. A couple of years ago he rang me up out of the blue after a Mary Janes gig to tell me that if I ever needed an ear, he was there. I hadn’t spoken to him in a long time. I think that was the last time we talked, and I can scarce believe that now, especially when I hear his voice coming from the speakers:
“And we’ve been so lost/But when we get back together/It will all seem worth the cost/That we lost/Oh ’cause we are friends”.
Our hearts go out to Mic’s family and extended clan.
Hot Press - A New Heyday For Mic Christopher - Jan 21 2004
The family and fans of the late singer-songwriter are delighted with the use of one of his songs for a new Guinness advert.
Fans and friends of the late Mic Christopher were thrilled to hear the music of one of his most popular songs ‘Heyday’ being used in the current Guinness television advert entitled ‘Quarrel’. The ad opens in a Dublin home when Christopher’s ‘Heyday’ comes on the radio. The chief protagonist immediately departs on a journey to the Cliffs of Moher, dives into the sea and swims to New York City. He finds a person he quarrelled and fell out with in a Manhattan bar, says sorry and as the pair embrace, ‘Heyday’ is reprised, concluding the commercial on an upbeat and life-affirming note.
“If we were to use his music for anything it had to be the right thing, but as I say he is still making money for Guinness!,” laughs Mic’s sister Maureen Christopher. “I’m sitting here at the moment looking at a photograph of him with a pint of Guinness in his hand. He would be fussy about who would be using his music, but I think we’re totally safe on this one!”
“The new campaign is about Guinness and the things that matter,” explains Damian Devaney of Guinness. “The first ad of that campaign, ‘Quarrel’, is about friendship and the creator was Nick Kelly. The ad shows the strength of character a person has to resolve a quarrel. So a simple idea was told very dramatically. The whole journey is a metaphor for what people will go through to resolve issues.
“Music is obviously an important part of advertising and particularly Guinness advertising,” Damian continues. “The idea to pick ‘Heyday’ was down to Nick who used to be the lead singer in The Fat Lady Sings and has a huge breadth of knowledge of the Irish music industry and music in general. The reason he picked ‘Heyday’ was that he wanted something that was emotional but not downbeat. The second thing was that he wanted a rhythm from the start, so from the very start of the ad you have motion.”
Already, the ad has proven to be a hit and has been the subject of a Gift Grub sketch on Today FM featuring Ronan Keating and Boyzone. The Boyzone lads jet off to New York for a holiday, but don’t invite Ronan because they’ve had a row. Ronan is sitting at home with Yvonne when ‘Heyday’ comes on the radio. Upon hearing it, he departs for the Cliffs of Moher, swims the Atlantic and gets decked by the lads when he apologises to them in a New York bar.
“A funny thing is that my mother is from Tyrone and everyone from there thought that it was actually written about Mic’s life story because we were both born in New York,” Maureen Christopher adds. “But that’s got no connection whatsoever to do with the storyline, even though I could totally see him in the pub just barging in there!”
The Heyday EP itself will be re-released on January 16. The Skylarkin’ album is still selling steadily with increased interest since the advert resulting in the record going Gold just before Christmas. The album launch benefit gig on the first anniversary of Mic’s death in November 2002 raised a total of €15,929.62, which was distributed amongst the Lucena Clinic in St John of God’s, the Music Therapy Unit in Cheeverstown House, the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation and the Jack and Jill Foundation. The money was also used to purchase computers, video equipment and tools used in the area of speech therapy for children and speech therapy sessions for a number of children in particular need.
Mic Christopher’s Heyday EP is back in the shops on January 23.
Hot Press - The King Of Queen Of Hearts - March 8 2004
Bás Mic Christopher 29/9/01 - A Special tribute in Irish (and English) by Rossa O'Snodaigh
In modern day physics it is generally accepted that all things are connected in some mysterious way and that the stuff of the world (us included) is merely comprised of different variants of the same basic elements.
Mic understood that before he left us. He understood it a couple of months before he died when he began to see life’s aura around flowers close to his Dartmouth Square flat. He understood it when he began to feel a huge sense of love from everyone he was meeting. A love that left him feeling a little uncomfortable, albeit very grateful.
He understood it also when, on a cold November evening, as he lay deep in a coma, on his deathbed in an Amsterdam hospital, while his gentle sister Maureen kept vigil. On the same night, in Dublin’s Vicar St, his friends had organised a concert to raise money for his folks who were toing and froing between Ireland and Holland. And when two of his oldest and boldest friends, Rónán and Glen began to sing ‘Friends’ (a song he wrote with Rónán), Glen felt that Mic was singing on stage alongside them and Maureen felt him letting the tiny grip he had on life go, leaving his body as pollen leaves a flower to go to somewhere new and unknown.
“And I’ve seen you hide
Seen you lose all your pride”
He had no pride left to lose. And although his time with us was much too short and his work incomplete (although complete in many, many ways) he had seen the Dance of Shiva, he was content with life |(the Yogi call it enlightenment) and he was ready to go.
And he understood it later when on a fresh clear-skied morning his family, friends and Dublin’s musical fraternity gathered by his graveside to pay respects and say goodbyes, in the new cemetery by Newland’s Cross. As the priest finished his oration Keith gave a loud shout. ‘Look up at the sky.’ And above us, to the west, two jet planes had crossed paths leaving an enormous white X in the sky – the biggest, most beautiful kiss you’ve ever seen. Later as we celebrated Mic’s life in Clondalkin’s Áras Chrónain, we huddled and cuddled together allowing love, friendship, sorrow and mostly music bring us even closer.
With the celebrations in full flow I had to slip off to pick someone up from town. On my way back to Clondalkin the sky was burning in a blaze of glorious colour. And I felt it was Mic, mischievous smile, hat hiding his ears, hips jutting forward, hands in his pockets, head turned calling his dog, ‘C’mon Dylan’ and he was walking slowly, nice and easy just like the sun – going down.
“Come embrace the day
Before the day is over
I want to have some fun
Before I grow any older
Come embrace the day
And worry when we’re older
There is life left
In this dream I have to show yeh”
Hot Press - Single to be re-released on the back of Guinness ad - December 12 2003The late Dubliner's musical legacy lives on in the latest Guinness commercial, with 'Heyday' set to be re-released in January.
Mic Christopher's 'Heyday' single is to be re-released on January 23 as a result of it soundtracking the latest Guinness TV and cinema commercial.
Says a Christopher family spokesperson: "People who weren't aware of Mic before are seeing it and going, 'That's great, where can I get the song?' Once they've heard the whole of 'Heyday', we're hoping they'll check out his Skylarkin' album which is still available."
The music for the €1.5 million Ireland-only Quarrel campaign was sourced by ex-Fat Lady Sings man Nick Kelly who's now gainfully employed by the Irish International advertising agency.
"We're delighted with the soundtrack on Quarrel," enthuses Guinness Marketing Controller Mark Ody. "It's a beautiful and uplifting song and suits the ad perfectly."
Filmed on location in Dublin, Clare and New York, the 60 second advert was directed by James Brown and stars Irish actor Michael Fassbender.
Mic Christopher passed away on November 29, 2001 after sustaining a head injury whilst on tour in Holland.
We'll have more on the 'Heyday' re-release and Mic's musical legacy in the first Hot Press of 2004, due in the shops on January 15.
The Hot Press Newsdesk
Hot Press - Album receives posthumous release - Nov 15 2002
Skylarkin' to hit the shelves on November 29, following a Frames tribute gig in Vicar St.
Mic Christopher's Skylarkin' album receives its posthumous release through Loza Records on November 29.
The same day finds The Frames and assorted musical friends paying tribute to the singer at Vicar St. A similar night is planned for The Druid Pub, Cambridge, MA on December 18.
Still a work-in-progress when Mic tragically died last year, the 11-song collection has been finished off by Glen Hansard and Karl and David Odlum. Also featured are Gemma Hayes, Lisa Hannigan, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Simon Good and Ronan O'Snodaigh.
Reviewed in the next issue of Hot Press, the full track-listing is: 'Heyday', 'Kids' Song', 'Listen Girl', 'Looking For Jude', 'That's What Good Friends Do', 'The Loneliest Man In Town', 'Wide Eyed And Living', 'What A Curious Notion', 'I've Got You Back', 'Skylarking' and 'Daydreamin''.
The Hot Press Newsdesk
Hot Press - Remembering Mic - November 29 2002
A year after Mic Christopher’s untimely death, his family and friends are celebrating his life and music with the release of his Skylarkin’ album and a star-studded gala live performance.
A year to the day after his tragic death in Amsterdam, family, friends and fans of the late Mic Christopher will be gathering in Vicar St. for an evening of Skylarkin’ on November 29. All 1200 tickets for the night sold out within a week, with the proceeds going to a children’s speech therapy charity.
“It’s sort of a joint venture – it’s a celebration of his life on the anniversary of his death, and it’s also the posthumous launch of his album,” explains the late singer’s sister Maureen. “The album will actually be in the shops that day.”
The album Skylarkin’ was completed by former Mary Janes bandmate Karl Odlum, using the Dublin recordings Mic had just finished prior to departing on his ill-fated European tour supporting The Waterboys.
“Before Mic went away with The Waterboys last year he finished recording all of his own work for the album, and he left it with Karl Odlum with instructions about what he wanted done with it, in terms of certain people doing backing vocals on certain tracks and the whole lot,” explains Maureen. “All his end of it was finished. The way Mic was was kind of, ‘There you go, get it finished and I’ll be back in two months!’ I didn’t actually know anything about this but, after he died, Karl got in touch with me to say, ‘Look, it’s all here, it’s ready to go and it’s just a matter of getting it finished’.
“So we decided we’d just get at it and get it done. So literally everything that he wanted done in terms of backing vocals – he wanted Glen to do a little bit in places and things like that – we got done. Over the past year we’ve got together at different times and got the various parts done. Karl’s been working flat-out along with Dave, his brother. And we’ve just got it finished off.”
There are 11 tracks featured on Skylarkin’, including all of the songs from Mic’s solo Heyday EP (including ‘Listen Girl’ which Glen Hansard covered for The Frames’ Headlong EP). Other tracks include ‘I’ve Got Your Back’, ‘Daydreaming’ and ‘The Loneliest Man In Town’.
“The title track is probably the only one that nobody will be familiar with,” says Maureen. “I’d never heard it myself until just a couple of months ago when Karl played it to me. It’s absolutely gorgeous – very, very different from the rest of his music. Very upbeat, a lovely tune.”
The album cover and sleeve also features artwork by Mic and some never before seen photos of him performing in New York last summer. “The cover is a picture Mic did himself – it’s like a cartoon character of a little boy peeping over a wall made of stars, and it’s very childlike and simple. And there’s also quite a few photographs taken over the last year of his life by this photographer called Patrick Glennon from New Jersey. Patrick became a good friend of Mic and Glen from when they were playing in the States last year.”
The Vicar St. night will feature some of Ireland’s premier live performers, all interpreting Mic’s work – both solo and with The Mary Janes.
“First of all, The Mary Janes are getting back together for the night, with various different people singing. The whole night is going to concentrate on Mick’s own stuff, so it’ll either be music that he made with The Mary Janes or his later solo stuff. So it’ll be an awful lot of well-known people around the Irish music scene but basically none of them performing their own stuff. So there’s The Mary Janes, The Frames, Kila, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mundy, Damien Rice and Nina Hynes, to name just a few. We’re also pulling in a few people from years back – like The Pale.”
The album (on Loza Records) will be on sale on the night and also available in all good record stores nationally. There’s also talk of re-releasing The Mary Janes’ Hunter S. Records 1993 debut Bored Of Their Laughing a little further down the road. For the moment, however, there was a lot of debate but Maureen is satisfied that Skylarkin’ is being released exactly the way Mic would’ve wanted it.
“There was a lot of people suggesting various things over the year. You know, why don’t we throw in this track or try that or whatever. There was a lot of talk about including a DVD with it, but in the end I just decided against the whole lot. The album is exactly the way Mic wanted it. I didn’t add anything extra. There was talk of maybe even making it a tribute album, but it’s not. It’s something I’d like to do a little further down the road – maybe getting other people to record some of his tracks and then possibly including a few live recordings and that kind of thing – but basically this is exactly the way he wanted it.
“I know Karl had a really hard job because there were things that he didn’t agree with – the way a song would finish or whatever – but Mic had said, ‘I want it this way.’ Normally they would have argued it out but because he couldn’t argue with him, he let it go the way Mic wanted it.”
Hot Press - Remembering Mic Christopher - February 9 2004
Held in the Dutch city of Groningen, this year's Eurosonic Festival brought back some painful memories for Irish attendees, The Frames. Hot Press' John Walshe followed the band to the site where Mic Christopher lost his life.
For many Irish music fans, The Frames included, Groningen will always be associated with the late Mic Christopher, as it was here that he suffered the tragic accident which led to his untimely death.
On the Thursday night, after The Frames’ gig, Glen leads us on a short walk through the city’s winding streets to the spot where his best friend fell. There’s something disconcertingly ordinary about the steps where Mic slipped and hit his head, sending him into the coma from which he never woke. It’s hard to believe that it was in this rather mundane spot that the life of one of Ireland’s most talented songwriters was cut tragically short.
I wondered if it was very weird for Glen and The Frames, going back to Groningen, considering its association with Mic?
“It was,” Glen admits. “To be honest, that’s the overwhelming feeling I get when I think about it. EuroSonic was like a backdrop, to be honest. When Claire [Leadbitter, Frames manager] told us we’d been offered a gig in Groningen, I don’t think any of the band really thought about what it was: we all just decided ‘of course we want to go’. I thought that when Groningen came up again as a subject, that I’d shy away from it, but I got really enthusiastic about it because I felt that I wanted to revisit the city.
“I spent 10 days there while Mic was in a coma and it was a very, very difficult 10 days. I was walking around the town like a chicken with its head cut off, and it was weird going back, being in a more stable emotional state, seeing the places where I had gone and the cafes I had sat in. And going to the steps where Mic fell over was the hardest part. Mic’s daughter had asked me the next time I was over there to give the steps a good kick, so I went and gave them a good kicking for her.”