Jan 2 2017

Hello 2017

Happy new year Five Eight fans! This site has been a little quiet as we were working hard at the end of 2016 to put the finishing touches on our long awaited new double album, Songs for St. Jude, to be released on Austin TX based Chicken Ranch Records this spring. Artwork and liner note credits are being finalized as we speak, so it won’t be long now. In the meantime, look for us at the Caledonia Lounge in Athens GA on 1/26/17 opening for Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. We are also finalizing our official showcase and “unofficial” appearances at SXSW this coming March 13-19. Stay tuned to this site for more details and thanks as always for all of your support!

– Mike, Sean, Patrick, Dan

Hello Fans:

This is Five Eight’s manager Doug Rasmussen weighing in from the northern outpost of St. Louis MO!

It has been a great 2016 so far. Make sure you check out the newly released single for “The Only One” featuring the reissued track as found on the Weirdo 2015 re-release, a 1992-version of the song, and the classic Five Eight tune “Practical Guidance.” Available digitally on bandcamp, itunes, spotify, etc….

The band has been active in the studio in Athens GA and has tracked some 17 songs. Having previewed the album as a superfan of the band I can tell you the songs deliver both a classic Five Eight hard rock sound and tremendous growth and new directions in songwriting and instrumentation. This will be a record that both long time fans of the band and new fans will love. Stay tuned to this space for updates on the new record!

While the band finishes the record, they will be staying close to home this summer. We have 3 shows planned for this June; June 4th at Oglethorpe Lounge in Albany GA; June 24th at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, and June 26th live on the main stage (Pulaski Street Stage) during Athfest at 4:30pm!

Thanks for all your support and see you soon.

Thank You to the Drive-By Truckers.
The ties between Athens musicians run deep.
Back in the summer five eight had been working on our new album, “Songs for St Jude”.
On two particular songs I had written lyrics to Sean’s music for a song he wanted to call “The flood” and “Song for Jim Gordon”.
For “The flood” I immediately thought of all the people displaced by Katrina.
I had read somewhere about the children who had lost everything and how strange their interviews were. They had a naïve, micro version of the events.
Children have a way to humanize the enormity of such a disaster, into something that could really haunt you personally.
I tried to capture that.
We also been working with Jack Logan and it was really fun for me to write with someone; and for a band that has been playing together for as long as we have it’s frankly nice to mix it up and stretch out with a completely new vision and voice.
I started thinking more about writing for someone.
I felt “The Flood” would be the perfect song to have a guest singer because really most of my songs are from a first person point of view; a lot of the time that view is mine. I would need a song where the character in this song is more unfamiliar and in this one with a “southern accent” to quote Tom Petty
We were lucky to have such an encouraging presence in Patterson Hood and a voice instantly recognizable. I ran into Patterson at the Will Johnson’s living room show hosted by Sean Dunn. Will’s performance was transformative and I am looking forward to sharing the stage with him on Saturday night as well.
I had been missing The Truckers for years and finally got to see them with the new line up last year at their sold out homecoming show at the forty watt and was blown away by the power of the band and the obvious joy they had playing together and that voice.
Then I ran into Patterson again at a local benefit for Nuci Space: five eight played a Vic Chesnutt song and Patterson just couldn’t have been more intense with his praise for our version. He made me feel like we could still make an impact: humbling and affirming. I wondered to him directly if he would be willing to sing on two songs on our new album, yet figured it will never happen with him having moved out to the Pacific Northwest.
Somehow despite the intense pressures he found a way and showed up at The Espresso Machine the local recording studio run by Mike Albanese who is engineering, co-producing, and mixing the new five eight record (as I write this we have a “first” mix for every song on the new album)
In a few hours Patterson knocked out the vocals for the flood and Song for Jim Gordon (More on that one later…)

And the takes just blew me away We still have “The Flood” up on bandcamp for those of you who want to listen.
When we play on Saturday you could be thinking of Patterson’s voice on both of those songs it might help you take them home with you.
Thank You Patterson
Thank You Drive-By Truckers
Thank You Athens, GA

Nov 28 2015

Thank You

Dear Fans,
We’d like to thank all of you for your support this year.  I know I speak for the band when I say how grateful I am to be playing music for you.  It’s been a great year for us.  Here are just a few of the highlights; teaming up with Chicken Ranch Records to re-release Weirdo, playing SXSW for the first time since 2004, recording with Patterson Hood of the Truckers, releasing our song for Katrina, “The Flood”, continuing to record the new album, the Weirdo documentary, and of course just playing music in cities we haven’t played in over ten years.  At every show I’ve had people come up to me and tell me stories about what we have meant to them.  That has meant so much to me.
I wanted to list some of what has made all the difference this year; our families, our friends, our pets, and all of our influences (musical and otherwise), the instruments that we play, our new van and trailer, Doug Rasmussen, Michael Dickinson, David Barbe, Marc Pilvinsky, Patterson Hood, Brad Roell, Christian Lopez, Nick Elliot, Dave Domizi, John Neff, Mike Albanesse, Michael VanHassel, Dan Mistich, the other bands the we play with, the sound men everywhere, all of the players that have gone to the great gig in the sky… and as I sit at the kitchen table I am over come with wonder at it all.
I wanted to make sure I said it.
Thank You,
PS, Our final gig for 2015 is set for Saturday Dec 12th at the Syndicate Lounge in Birmingham AL with the band Royal & Toulouse!! And we are giving away our Black Album when you make a purchase through
http://fiveeight.fulfillmentmerch.com/ now through cyber Monday.
And as always stay tuned there is much more to come

Sep 16 2015

Too much information.

Why does a 52 year old man re-release an album he made 21 years ago, especially one whose title song “Weirdo” is about being a freaked out adolescent? I really have to say there is no way I could have done it with out being pushed into it by the guys.

Once upon a time when I was 17 years old people really called me a weirdo and that taunt was usually followed by a punch. Mostly I lied about stuff, played guitar, masturbated, got blacked-out drunk on the weekends, talked to my girlfriend on the phone, drove drunk too fast, stole stuff, vandalized my high school, had my mother write my term papers for me, felt guilty about it all, then masturbated some more. The week before I went to college my dad and I destroyed my Aunt’s vacation cabin in a drunken fist fight. I was 120 pounds he was 220. Earlier that summer I broke my nose driving the family 69 Rambler wagon into a tree.

My yearbook picture from Saint Anthony’s (an all boys catholic school) inspired the song Weirdo. I wrote the song when I was 27 years old and was home from touring and found my 1980 senior high school year book. I looked at my picture, I saw the pain, the terror, the sadness, the hurt, the confusion, the desperation, and it all came hurling in on me so hard, my brain flooded with feelings. I realized then I was a fucking weirdo. Those words came flowing through me. I felt a release. I looked like a weirdo, I was a weirdo, I had never thought about it so clearly before, never really fully owned it. Maybe recovering from alcohol addiction and mental illness gave me the tools to put my life in focus in a way teenage Mike just couldn’t, and maybe that’s what growing up is. Two Mike’s talking to each other in a song. Maybe singing the song will make it ok to be a total outsider, freak, insomniac, manic depressive, narcissistic poet, with delusions of grandeur, and with a powerful self-hatred that tore me up from the inside.
Although I couldn’t wait to sing it for people, when I did, it never really saved me.

21 years later when Patrick (“AKA Tigger”) first came to me and the band about re-releasing Weirdo I said “Fuck that shit nobody gives a shit about Weirdo anymore or ever because Five Eight failed with Weirdo.” That’s how I felt. It sold at best 8000 copies and we didn’t accomplish what we hoped for, to be the next big band out of Athens GA. We didn’t become household names, we weren’t able to make a living at music. The song Weirdo didn’t make it out to everyone in the world who felt as insecure as me. Radiohead came out with a song shortly afterwards way cooler than Weirdo and stole any small flame of hope we had for that lofty goal. We were not a cool indie band. Not with a Jerry Lewis-like crazy front man recovered manic depressive alcoholic fronting an intense Replacements, Fugazi influenced mess.

Weirdo failed, except that we poured every last ounce of our heart and soul into it. We left nothing on the table. We may have swung the bat and struck out then, yet we are still together 21 years later as friends and a band. We still write new music every time we get together. We are not a nostalgia act, rather we are just cleaning up the wreckage of the past. We failed, except that 21 years later we got back together with the original producer David Barbe in his world class mixing room and went back to right a wrong that no one had thought possible, and in doing so had one of the best moments of my musical career—having the whole band, David Barbe and Dave Domizi together in the control room listening to the remastered version of “Hurt You.” I heard the old me talking to the new one, I heard how great it sounded on its own and the memories of why I wrote the song came pouring in. I was so glad we were putting it out there.

Still, the dream feels larger and better than the reality of so many dashed expectations over the years. Sometimes all I have to talk about is the personal hell of deep long term depression, the frustration and terror of being a new father, a bad marriage, a troubled teenager having a hard time with drugs and free floating anxiety, Friendships have helped give me an understanding that my own struggles are the things I know best and I am able to bring them to others via my music with an honesty and stark confessional power (one so honest that it almost makes me cringe with embarrassment). If it wasn’t for the band blasting through the chords and music we wrote and arranged together, it would be a humorless nightmare. Unfortunately with the type of mental illness I suffer from, most of the time I go around thinking I am perfectly normal and sane. It only occurs to me every once in a while that I’m not like most normal folks, like when I catch myself looking at the old artwork for the record and realize for many years I went through a naked performance show thing, a smash my gear on stage thing, a break up the band thing, a broken Marriage thing, a destroyed business thing, a bankruptcy thing, a everybody quits the band and rejoins the band thing (except Dan he never quit), etc.

The reason the Weirdo re-release happened is a combination of passionate chain reaction and serendipity. Doug Rasmussen, a super fan who became Five Eight’s current manager lights a fire under us, then Tigger, having a vision of fixing a past mistake with the mixing and sonic quality of the original Weirdo, writes a long letter about how I took the record that sounded amazing and had it remastered badly, destroying the sound of the record and making it mostly unlistenable. Although that wasn’t exactly the way it happened, having him remember it that way hurt my feelings. I wanted to just dig-my-heels-in, and not deal with what happened, not reopen the old wounds, but sometime later we accidentally found the original masters, and next thing I knew I was calling Barbe and we started the process. Fast forward some and a record company president of an actual indie record company (Chicken Ranch Records-Austin TX) gets behind the idea of a re-release and with Dave Barbe having the same vision/remembrance on the original Weirdo sound quality as Tigger (and me getting out of the way) it happened.

Why listen to Weirdo now? It has 5 new unreleased songs, 4 of them being the most pop sounding tracks I have ever written. It sounds exactly like we sounded back then and it kicks ass. It doesn’t lend itself to easy listening. It takes itself too seriously. It’s earnest not ironic. It is bare knuckles reporting on the mental condition of the singer. Its songs are too long, too real, and speak about the most taboo. The singer has a harsh Long Island accent, nasal and grating. There are hardly any overdubs and there is no autotuning. It is put out by a real indie band that toured the country in a van. The manager was just a friend. There was no time to record the record. We were never really hip or cool and still aren’t. The song “Weirdo” came to me in minutes. Music journalist Lisa Robinson always said that she would have signed Five Eight to a record deal based on that song alone. Walter Yetnikoff loved the Karaoke video and Cracker took us on the road with them. We opened up for REM at the Forty Watt. I have memories of singing Weirdo acapella— like at the Chicago Metro opening for Drunken Boat, the Cat’s Cradle in D.C. opening for Archers of Loaf, the Grand Ballroom in New York City opening for Cracker, and the Greek Amphitheater in Berkeley CA opening for REM on their 2004 world tour.

Five Eight has always been a band for outsiders. With songs like Looking Up, Suit of Sin, A Man is a Pent Up Thing, Depressed All the Time, etc it makes perfect sense that we’ll never speak for everyone unless somehow everyone has the same feelings about themselves as I did about myself. Thankfully sometimes it does seem that way… What a relief for us then to finally put this record out for the right reasons, an album by misfits for misfits.