From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Origin||Stoughton, Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Pop rock, powerpop, alternative rock, acoustic|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, bass|
|Labels||Blue Thumb/MCA (1996)|
Good Morning Monkey (2005–present)
|Associated acts||Candy Butchers, L.E.O., The Major Labels, Mandy Moore, Torres, Fountains Of Wayne, Kelly Jones, The Figgs|
Michael "Mike" Viola is an American singer-songwriter best known as singer, songwriter and "musical architect" of a team he called the "Candy Butchers," a pop-rock band from New York City that recorded three critically-acclaimed albums for Sony. A native of Stoughton, Massachusetts, Mike began his musical career in the 1980s. No recordings of his earliest musical work, however, were known to have been officially released as of September 2009.
The success of the Candy Butchers in the 1990s led to multiple appearances on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and Last Call With Carson Daly. It also found the group touring alongside the likes of They Might Be Giants, Robyn Hitchcock, Semisonic, Sparklehorse, Barenaked Ladies, and Ivy.
Viola simultaneously began a career in film work as the co-producer and lead singer of the Oscar-nominated title track from Tom Hanks's That Thing You Do!. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a film collaboration between Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow that starred John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox, featured nearly a dozen songs written by Viola.
Viola joined the ranks of "indie," or independent-record-label artists in 2005 when he released an album of new songs on his own label, Good Morning Monkey Records. Recorded live at Largo in L.A., Just Before Dark showcased Viola's abilities as a live performer. Once made available on his official website, the album, released as a long-playing vinyl album with a CD copy included, sold out in three months.
His most recent album, Lurch, employed classic pop elements, and incoerporated storybook imagery, such as Viola’s fans had come to expect by this time in his career. Lurch was also released internationally, with such selections as “Maybe, Maybe Not” (the first selection on the album) and “So Much Better” (the first single Viola released from the album) receiving radio airplay in Denmark. "So Much Better" was a Danish chart selection.
After signing a contract with EMI Music Publishing for worldwide distribution of his own material, Viola remained a songwriter and/or producer on a multitude of projects. His work could be heard on Amanda Leigh, the most recent of Mandy Moore's albums as of September 2009. In addition to being Moore's musical director, Viola has collaborated with Inara George, Tim Christensen, Dan Bern, Steve McEwan, Kelly Jones, Ryan Adams, Drake Bell, Bleu, Adam Schlesinger, John C. Reilly, Mary Wood, Sam Bisbee, The Gentlemen, John Wesley Harding, and Ben Romans during this period.
That Thing You Do!
Viola, along with friend Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, co-produced the title track for Tom Hanks's 1996 movie That Thing You Do! The selection received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Viola sang lead vocals on the track, and as the accepted singing voice of Johnathon Schaech's character, "Jimmy," he also sang on the film's track "Little Wild One."
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Not including the title selection, Viola and musician Dan Bern were the main collaborating songwriters for the 2007 Jake Kasdan/Judd Apatow film, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Viola toured with the film's lead cast member, actor John C. Reilly, with the latter acting out his fictional character of Dewey Cox, as musical director on a promotional tour for the film in December 2007.
Known solo and band discography
- Kenmore Square (1990)
- Live at La BonBonniere, EP (1996)
- Candy Butchers / "The Blue Thumb Album" (1996)
- Let's Get Serious, EP (1999)
- Falling into Place (1999)
- Let's Get Christmas (1999)
- Temple of Static (2001)
- Play with Your Head (2002)
- Hang On Mike (2004)
- Just before Dark (2005)
- Making Up Time (2006)
- Lurch (2007)
Viola's other projects
Alongside Jellyfish's Andy Sturmer, Chicago's Jason Scheff and the Hanson Brothers Band, Viola collaborated with Bleu, the leader of L.E.O., a team that paid tribute to the Electric Light Orchestra. They released a single album, Alpacas Orgling, in 2006.
"The Major Labels"
Viola, Bleu, and Ducky Carlisle joined forces to form a power-pop supergroup which they called "The Major Labels," self-releasing the album Aquavia in July 2008. Discussions promptly got under way for the album's release on and distribution by a major label in 2009, which was to include bonus material.
His known guests on stage
As of September 2009, Viola was known to host, and/or make guest appearances in, concerts given by a number of independent pop-rock musicians, all of whom he also considered his friends. These included Bleu, John Wesley Harding, Marshall Crenshaw, Jed Parrish, Jim Boggia, The Brilliant Mistakes, The Click Five, Mono Puff (They Might Be Giants's John Flansburgh side-project), Fountains of Wayne, the Finn Brothers, Tracy Bonham, Mandy Moore, and Tribe's Janet LaValley.