GLONO discovers next big thing and it is Mike!
We get a lot of shit to review here at GLONO. I mean a LOT. It’s overwhelming and we’ve been adding to our list of reviewers to try and get through it all. Most of it is crap, I’ll be honest with you. It’s a lot of boring emo or obnoxious mall punk. And most of it is adorned with so much swag that it’s no wonder so many labels are going under. We just throw that shit away.
But a few weeks ago I opened an unadorned envelope (save for a photocopied version of the picture accompanying this article) to find a breath of fresh air. According to the very brief bio, Mike Korzek “has been a singer/songwriter, guitarist for over 30 years.” Well, don’t be modest, Mike. You’re so much more than that! No, ladies and gentleman, Mike Korzek is the future…or the past…it’s hard to say. But that’s what makes great music, no? Its timelessness!
Spurning the temptation to record his songs in a fancy, money-sucking studio, Mike Korzek brings it back to basics. This is lo-fi, friends. And isn’t that all the rage? While the Strokes throw down thousands of dollars for effects that mimic crappy mics, Mike cuts out the middleman and walks straight to Radio Shack. The results are priceless. The honesty of the lyrics comes through, unhindered by windscreens, or preamps, or mixing boards, or effects processors, or ProTools “Pitch Correcting” software, or any of that bullshit that the Man’s been feeding us as “professional” sound.
And why get caught up in personality disputes that can get in the way of the music? How many great bands have to disintegrate before we learn our lesson? Was it not enough for the Beatles to descend into lawsuits and public bickering? Did we learn nothing of the Fleetwood Mac and Sonny & Cher divorces? Must we endure another tragedy like what befell New Kids on the Block? As the Kills say, “Fuck the People.” It’s about the music, and Mike Korzek is getting the music down before he “reforms the Mike Korzak Band.” Thank you, Mike. Thank you for thinking of the music first.
No, Mike Korzek is currently working with a four-track recorder, a one-beat drum machine, a bevy of guitar effects, and a dream. Sure, some might say this is Mike cashing in on the minimalist craze. But let’s keep it real because I am keeping it real. And so is Mike Korzek.
The White Stripes are near the end. They’re a divorced couple pretending to be brother and sister. They’re bound to implode. The Handsome Family are a two-piece aided by a drum machine, but they too often poison the song with the addition of organs and autoharps and backing vocals and lots of other accoutrements. The Kills? Please, they have a hot girl singing. Yuck!
Mike Korzek lists his influences as “classic rock in the tradition of Hendrix and Cream.” But you’d be hard pressed to find any of the guitar wankery of Hendrix or the percussive shenanigans of Ginger Baker in Mike’s songs. He lets the music come through with just one repeating drum beat and a handful of loosely fingered guitar chords. That’s his punk roots coming through, and Mike attributes those roots to also being influenced by “the alternative wave represented by Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Bush.” Yes, Mike likes to keep up with the new sound. Afterall, an artist doesn’t live in a vacuum!
Thankfully, we can expect a lot more from Mike than the 10 songs he sent GLONO. Along with the social commentary of “Pulpers in Palm Beach County” or “Dying in Westland” and the gentle honesty of “Karen Toes” or “Ballad of Jimi,” we can expect more of the truth in the over 230 songs Mike has recently penned. I know I’ll be checking the PO Box with anticipation.
So bow down, GLONO readers, for we have seen the future and he is the I.T. guy in your office. While you want to encourage an artist to grow, you can’t improve on perfection, as Mike so eloquently states in the title of track 9, “I Like What I am Playing and I Don’t Want to Improve.” God Speed, Mike Korzek. God Speed!