Name: michael o’connor
Birthplace: corpus christi,texas
Currently residing: brenham, texas
Musical past and present in one rambling run-on sentence: played guitar in church as a kid, quit the day job in 1986, played south texas biker bars, shrimper bars, witnessed a few fights and two stabbings, played in wedding bands, country clubs, tuxedo gigs, corporate gigs, hosted open mics, hosted jam sessions, played holiday inns and other hotel lounges, played beauty pageants, slinging lead guitar with bluegrass, jazz, rock n roll, blues, swing bands, playing festivals, working in fifty something different bands, opening shows for a very, very long list of the famous and not so famous, cheap trick, huey lewis and the news…it was the eighties, early 90’s moved to austin, texas and started writing songs and played, recorded and toured and co-wrote with the likes of terri hendrix, ray wylie hubbard – who produced my first album, slaid cleaves – who covered two of my songs on his “unsung” album, susan gibson, adam carroll- who i co-wrote and recorded the “hard times” record with, shelley king, jeff plankenhorn, cary swinney and more and more, wyoming the only state i’ve never been too, played everywhere else a dozen or so times over including canada, england, scotland, ireland, holland, beligum, france, played with willie nelson in luckenbach, tx at his annual july 4th picnic, toured and smoked dope with guy clark, recorded on over thirty albums for other artists as well as recording four of my own, two with producer jack saunders and with three more in the works as i type this, a star on the sidewalk of my old home town with my name on it, a beer named after me the “MOConnor smoked irish stout” at Uncle Billy’s Brewery in Austin,Tx and now currently playing solo gigs around the usa and performing with austin bands “apostles of manchaca” and “the night mothers” and have now painted myself into a corner with no way to stop as i am no longer fit for honest work.
1. Who are some of your favourite composers, musicians and bands from the past and present?
kiss, alice cooper, black sabbath, elton john, ac/dc, los lobos, tom waits, townes van zandt, chuck berry, robert johnson, the beach boys, the beatles, the rolling stones, miles davis, charlie parker, the band, bob dylan, brian wilson, malcolm holcombe, south paw jones, alejandro escovedo, jon dee graham, billy joe shaver, los tigras del norte, john coltrane, mance lipscomb, daniel johnston, django reinhardt, bill monroe, hank williams sr, gurf morlix, bjork, blind willie mctell and john grimaudo.
2. Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
“caroline no” by the beach boys.
3. How would you describe your perfect day?
wake up at home with my wife and my dog, smoke a big joint and go eat mexican food for breakfast. then take a nice easy drive to some cool gig like the anderson fair or gruene hall or something…play the early show to a packed house, make a fat stack of cash, smoke more dope and spend the night jammin’ and swapping songs with friends old and new…and repeat.
4. What would your friends say they appreciate the most about you?
i wouldn’t know.
5. What is your most valued material possession?
my 1980 Gibson ES 355.
6. Who were you, or would you be nervous to meet?
the only person i was ever truly nervous to meet was Guy Clark. he was very intimidating, it was like going to meet mount rushmore or something. i didn’t bother him for the first few days of the tour and thankfully, when he reached out to me he was very kind and supportive. a hero.
7. If you could blink your eyes and be in a favourite place right now, where would that place be?
Neal’s lodge and campground on the Frio river in concan, tx
8. Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?
more tours in europe, make a little money, write, record and repeat.
9. Where would you like to find yourself in ten years? alive and kicking ass.
*photo: Amanda Thompson