Jul 152017
 

 

Well last weekend Mr.Mickey Lamantia stopped by to chat with me about Tumbleweed Festival and more. Mr. Mickey has created an online phenomenon called Whiskey Wednesdays, that is currently generating an online response of thousands of people. He recently opened for Country music Legend Mickey Gilley out here at the Nashville Palace, which is where I currently sit while writing some articles for another project in town. while I wait for the show to begin I am just typing some other articles out.

This phone conversation was quite possibly one of the longer ones out of this entire project thus far, however to be honest I’m not totally wrapped it up yet…I got one or two more up my sleeve for this festival. I have a large deal of admiration for this man for his avocation of  gun rights, and as an avid sportsman and fellow firearm enthusiast I seek those that promote firearm safety.

He’s proudly playing on the main stage for us in a few weeks in Kansas City for the much anticipated Outlaw Country and Red Dirt festival that boasts large attendance. It has kept me quite busy this month, and I have had to pull a few late nights because of the work involved, but you know what? It’s worth every minute I invest, the music and the friends I have made from this job is insurmountable.

I involve my website with so many different scenes and genres of music, and the Outlaw scene (if you want to use that term) has been good to me. Truthfully I just call it all real music really, I mean I feature so much different avenues from various regions of the world. So without any more yapping about anything here is my time with Mr. Mickey.

GHC:

Why don’t you tell me how you got started in music, and when?

Mr. Mickey:

Well pretty much my uncle played in bands, and I followed him around in my teens. He played in a lot of bars and he did George Jones and Waylon type stuff, he was really good in his prime. He could’ve made it big but we are in a tough spot up here in around my area.

I got to open up some shows for Willie Nelson when I was twenty two, I got to meet all those guys, the road crew and the whole band was really good to me.  I kind of got away from it when I got the prison job, but I played acoustic shows for years. I just never put any effort into carrying on the momentum I got when I was younger. I started writing songs, and a couple years ago I thought man I got some good songs and I asked myself, should I try to get back into it as a songwriter? So I thought I’d put forth the effort and it got me to where I’m at at the moment, and it’s been a good ride so far.

GHC:

Whom influenced you more than anybody else?

Mr. Mickey:

Randy Travis.

GHC:

That’s one reason I respected you a lot, I saw the admiration that you have for him. It showed a lot!

Mr. Mickey:

Yeah, it’s truly sad to see him like that and what he’s going through. But you know, all those years of writing songs like he did it’s got to be absolute frustration not to be able to sing like he did. He really has trouble communicating , I mean he knows what’s going on, when I seen him at the Palace he knew. I saw him watch my set and I played a Jamey Johnson song, you know he and Jamey are close. I played In Color  and he loved it, and I did my song for him called Digging Up Bones, and you know he loved it. It was so damn cool to see him enjoy the fruits of his labor like that.

I met him twice now, I met him before and after the incident. I was twenty two and I got a picture with him and then I got the picture at the Palace this year, I was really excited that we almost re created the same photo all those years later.

GHC:

How did you land that opening slot for Mickey Gilley? I’m sorry I missed that by the way.

Mr. Mickey:

Well a couple guys that I know took an interest in me Joe Kelly and Steve Popovich from Nashville got it for me. We are probably going to be working together and they got me a couple of shows one was with Gilley and one was with the DJ from Sirius XM, Dallas Wayne. You know Steve Popovich’s dad actually discovered Meat Loaf.

GHC:

I did some work with him and Mr. Phil Lister, on a couple of projects and he was really nice guy. His dad is really interesting yes.

Mr. Mickey:

Yeah, they are straight up and honest which is hard to come by in this business. In the two years I been doing this I think I found every snake in the grass. Everybody who wants to try to take you somewhere but isn’t going anywhere themselves. There’s a lot of bottom feeders in this business, they find some innocent girl and they take their money and all their dreams.

My first EP I paid eight thousand dollars for it was called The Dash. After that I kind of messed around a little but I said right there and then that it won’t happen again. I found Bill McDermott who is a great producer, and we did Outlaw Life, it was just night and day the production and the whole thing was just amazing. Bill and I will work together for as long as we can that’s for sure.

GHC:

Tell me more about your job as a correctional officer.

Mr. Mickey:

I been working for the state up here for nineteen years now, actually I left in 2005 and I was a police officer down in Florida. And I went back to the prison, I been back here for eleven years. I’m hoping to be out of here in another six months, that’s the plan. As a correctional officer you see everything, I actually wrote a song in the maximum security cell block, I took out a pen and paper and I wrote out Sad And Lonely. I never changed a word in that song, because I deal with a lot of stuff on a daily basis.

GHC:

Tell us more about your show you have on social media, Whiskey Wednesdays?

Mr. Mickey:

We were sitting around one night  drinking some whiskey and having some good times, and I had heard about this facebook live thing. I said well let’s try it and we did it and we had like four hundred people at a time on that thing. I thought well we got to do something every Wednesday so we’ll do a show called Whiskey Wednesdays. Same time every week and we’ll do a different bottle of whiskey every week. So what we did was go find small companies like Sons Of Liberty in Kingston Rhode Island which had home delivery.  They are actually really good companies so made a proposal and came up with a logo, you know I branded myself before we got this idea going. That being the ML 750 which stands for seven hundred fifty milliliters in a bottle of whiskey, right? Well, I flipped it around and came up with that logo, and they loved that idea.

So what they did on their end is gave us six bottles of whiskey a month. Usually we have a group of people come over to the house and drink and we do it. It got to the point where the highest I had was forty thousand views, and we averaged anywhere from ten to twenty now. That’s almost football stadium Gary.

GHC:

You are doing good on social media man, I been following you..I follow three thousand bands so I don’t always get follow you 24-7 but I noticed one of your video got a million views buddy!

Mr. Mickey:

Yes we just crossed over one million views on that one. Just some guys sitting around with an acoustic guitar, so that’s pretty cool. I really take pride in my songwriting, if someone comes up and says hey man you are a really good singer, I always say I appreciate that. But if someone comes up and says I really like your lyrics and your delivery, that’s more exciting to me.

Whiskey Wednesdays on social media if it wasn’t for that I got two kids and a full time job. I won’t put my kids at risk, I struggle but I won’t do that to my kids.

GHC:

You are doing the right thing, trust me buddy you are. I waited until my child was eighteen to bust this website wide open, you know my child support was done and she’s off doing her own thing. I just took that hat off and flipped this one on, the music’s always going to be there buddy.

Mr Mickey:

With the kids I say I’m not going to take that chance, it’s coming to a point where the call is going to be made for me I think at some point which is good, because that’s what I want. I think Steve and Joe Kelly are the missing piece to what I’m doing.

So, we created a solid foundation with social media we got thirty thousand people on my facebook page, and then my Whiskey Wednesday page, Twitter and Instagram. We have done a good job for just being ourselves and I have been all over the country with social media.

GHC:

Ok…one thing my website does is it specializes in festivals. That’s the reason I was called upon and hired to do what I’m doing, so let’s talk about tumbleweed…what do you think about it?

Mr Mickey:

Well I’m calling it the Woodstock of Outlaw Country Music man. I think it’s effeminately potential for much cleaner atmosphere but at the same time I think you are going to find bands that are obscure. You got Jamey playing there and Billy Joe Shaver, but then you got guys like Cody Jinks and Whitey Morgan. But then you got a lot of guys below that who I think are going to surprise you even though some of those acts are one o clock. I think a lot of those bands are going to ride out of this Tumbleweed Festival soaring, you know.

GHC:

Well, that’s what I started this series for, the ones the crowd might not know as well. Everybody knows Jamey Johnson and it’s cool to interview him but you know I would rather interview you guys. Because a lot of people may not know your music, and let’s bring it to them. That’s my point, and why I’m doing this.

I have been out there on other assignments, I been out to the facility and I think it’s a wonderful venue. He’s doing this thing right so far, this is a science. He’s doing some thing I think are right and some thing I think are wrong but he’s going to succeed in the end.

Mr. Mickey:

Well they used one of the bigger Nashville booking agencies, but one of them had watched a Whiskey Wednesday. I went to bed and he had sent me a message at about midnight, and asked if I had a booking agent or a manager. He called my manager, and he called me up and said hey we got this offer for this thing in Kansas City. He said so and so is on it and they are legit, and we got twenty four hours to accept.

I said you just call the guy up and take that job. So that’s how I got it, I got tumbleweed through Whiskey Wednesday too, which is pretty cool.

GHC:

Well, the director sent me an email and said festivals is what you do and I have a vendor partner that I work with. She runs the back end and I handle the stage up front, we have this down to a science we don’t drink and we are all about making money and promoting music.

Mr. Mickey:

Well we are going to bring a great show at three o clock. My last trip to Nashville I got to hang out with Robby Turner, Waylon’s last steel player.

GHC:

That’s my next question for you. (laughing)

Mr. Mickey:

You don’t miss a thing, do you? Yeah Robby called me the next morning and said I had this divine intuition to call you. So he invited us back out that night in his set and me and you will play some music together. And I love Robby because he played with Waylon and he’s played with Stapleton, so I said alright.

The next night he came to my ML 750 party in Nashville and we jammed and I got to play with him on one side, and another guy that played with Janis Joplin. We got invited back to the studio and the next thing I know I got a beer in my hand. After that we took off and went back to Rhode Island, and we went back and forth talking a little bit.

I thought now wait a minute this festival has Cowboy Eddie Long, Brett Robinson, Austin Tripp and I thought you know what Robbie Turner really deserves to be in that mix.

GHC:

Hell Sunny Sweeney has Tommy Detamore, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Mr. Mickey:

So you have all these great steel players, and I think he really deserves to be among them that weekend. So I called him up and said hey Robby is there any way we can work it out that you can play for me? And I think it may have been on his mind already, but he said we will work it out. you go ahead and make the announcement. So I did and it was a very popular announcement. Robby  is a good guy and I think that we will play at three and he will get to hobknob with all these guys. They’re all friends anyways so you know, and I really truly thought from my heart you should be on this festival.

GHC:

I have a steel guitar series where I feature different ones every article. I’m going to try to do a live one with Robby Turner and Cowboy Eddie Long if I can. I covered Brett Robinson and Austin Tripp, but I want to contact him and do a LIVE interview with him.

Mr. Mickey

Well you know he was the last person to play for Waylon. Waylon had gone to him and said let’s cut some acoustic tracks, I won’t tell you what they are for but you know it was kind of like a special thing for Robby.I want you to produce them and then they are yours to do what you see fit with.

So Waylon went and cut Belle Of The Ball again and he did thirteen songs on the album. Robby got one of the guys from the band and they played in Robby’s garage. I got to listen to it, just like he listened to my album, we sat around listening to music.

That’s one cool thing about Robby is he’s got a big heart. He actually took us back there and let us listen to those cuts by Waylon,and I think they are released now but there was some fight with Sony over it. You can ask Robby about it, but that’s one of the cool things about my time in Nashville.

GHC:

I have never heard of that, the last obscure stuff I know of was the stuff that Shooter released on Record Store Day.  That I knew about and I have.

Mr. Mickey:

Well, this is something I don’t think anybody knew about. There’s a big story on it, and he was offered all kinds of money for it. You talk to him and he’ll tell you the whole story about it, and it’s a very interesting story.

GHC:

He’s pretty easy for me to get a hold of around town, but interviewing him live at Tumbleweed is going to be a better ambiance. I think it’s going to be more exciting for everybody involved to do it there.

Mr. Mickey:

Like you said it’s going to be a festival that will be a huge success. We got a bunch of good bands playing before us that are great. You know both bands that finished neck and neck are going to be there, the Piedmont Boys and Porter Union. it came down to the last ten minutes the Piedmont Boys were up like thirty one votes. I think Doug saw the effort and he noticed the quality of everyone involved, and decided well hell let them both play. And then Dustin James Clark who came in third is playing.

GHC:

Well that should be a pretty good interview and I thank you for this much time, Jesus that was a lot of coffee.

Mr. Mickey:

Alright brother, well I have rehearsal soon so you have a good weekend.

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