Mick Overman mixes a little blues and jazz into his folksy stuff.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
When Mick Overman was about 10 years old, his teacher instructed the class to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. While most boys drew pictures of firemen or professional athletes, Overman drew a picture of a guy with a guitar.
In 1978, Overman started to pursue his childhood dream by forming a group in Portland, Oregon called Crosscurrent, with a pal from high school named Marty Headman-the same Martin Headman who now plays piano at the Highlands Inn. The young songwriters performed their own material and covers of artists ranging from Bob Dylan to John Coltrane. "We were playing fusion type stuff," Overman says. "We were budding jazz elitists."
After Crosscurrent broke up in the early ''80s, Overman started Mick Overman & the Maniacs in Southern California. The name was inspired by a musician friend of his named Eddie who had a popular punk rock group called Eddie & the Subtitles.
In 1994, Overman achieved his childhood dream by releasing his debut album, Empty City, on his own record label, Max Records. Since Empty City, the Freedom-based songwriter has released four other albums, with help from Bay Area musicians like Myron Dove (Santana''s bassist), and David Hayes, a bass player who has worked with Van Morrison.
Like the most interesting songwriters, Overman chases his muse through a handful of musical styles. "Get the Lead Out" starts with what sounds like Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Renaldo on slide guitar before easing into a bluesy number. On "Twelve Main Highways," Overman sings about leaving town over a roots-rock song that would sound right at home on his hometown radio station KPIG. "Take Off Those Cold Shoes" is a light jazzy number propelled along by a funky bassline.
Overman believes that his diverse music is just a reflection of his personality. "You got a guy with a fucked-up bluesy voice with a jazz education that writes folk music," he says.
Though Overman enjoys being able to create music whenever he gets the urge, he realizes that he probably will not get rich from the venture.
"Being the CEO of Max Records is roughly the equivalent of being the CEO of Fred''s Window Washing," he says.
Mick Overman & the Maniacs play Bluefin Billiards, 685 Cannery Row, Monterey, Friday at 9pm. No cover. 375-7000.