Michael Cerveris

Michael Cerveris Biography

Michael Cerveris, the Tony Award nominated actor, has always been at least as at home in a dodgy rock club as in a theater. Growing up in West Virginia, offspring of a classical pianist and a modern dancer, Cerveris formed his first rock band (named Ukiah and remembered, if at all, more for being loud than good) while in Junior High School. Through the years, his acting career (including starring in The Who's Tommy on Broadway and Hedwig and the Angry Inch in NY, LA and London) has led to his performing live with an unlikely range of rock stars including Pete Townshend, the Breeders, Stone Temple Pilots and Boy George. Around this time, he formed his first NY band, lame, an acoustic rock quartet that played regularly in East Village clubs and coffee houses with a brief stint in Europe playing clubs and festivals and a support slot for Lloyd Cole.

Even closer to his heart was a lengthy stint as guitarist/vocalist in former Hüsker Dü and Sugar frontman Bob Mould's band throughout the alternative/punk legend's 1998 US/UK tour (captured live on BobMouldBand:LiveDog98, available through www.granary-music.com)

At the end of that tour, Cerveris began writing and recording his own music in earnest. Gathering work tapes and enlisting friends from several UK bands (among them Norman Blake and Francis MacDonald of Teenage Fanclub, Euros Childs of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and Charlotte Hatherley of Ash), he began his first round of recordings. The songs evolved from early beginnings under the name hUMP via front rooms and bedrooms, through truly crap rehearsal rooms and 4 track home studios. Basic recording began in Glasgow at the Fanclub's DiscoCitizen studios with overdubs and mixing completed with engineer/co-producer Nick Brine (Oasis, TFC, Stone Roses) at legendary Rockfield Studios in the Welsh countryside, birthplace of classic albums from Queen, Robert Plant, Teardrop Explodes, My Bloody Valentine, Stone Roses, and Oasis. The finished product, under the band name Retriever, was titled Hinterlands (www.retriever-music.com).

As Cerveris spent more time in the UK, Retriever evolved from a kazoo-wielding acoustic duo to a six-member, violin-toting ensemble, eventually being reborn in latter days as a four-piece rock band composed of Cerveris, Mark Kulke, David Ledden and Alex Lutes--three veterans of North London indie bands. The band divided its time in 2001 between NYC (playing at Mercury Lounge, CBGBs, Fez, and Maxwell's) and London (including an acoustic support slot for Frank Black of the Pixies).

Eventually, events conspired to return Cerveris to the US on a more full time basis and Retriever went on a quasi-permanent hiatus. Cerveris began writing, recording and performing his solo project in 2002. Recorded with engineer/co-producer Adam Lasus (Madder Rose, Varnaline) at Fireproof Studio in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn and Sean Flora at Alberta Music Collective in Portland, Oregon with contributions from friends: Laura Cantrell, Jeremy Chatzky (They Might Be Giants, Laura Cantrell), Lara Gray (Luna, Ben Lee), Kevin March (Guided By Voices), Joe McGinty (Losers Lounge, Baby Steps), Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Ken Stringfellow (Posies, REM), Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney). Coming from a more melancholy place, the new songs combine heartfelt power pop and dark edged ballads. Music for under the skin.

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