Mike Neal







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is my soul. It's difficult to reduce the gift of music to any simple phrase. It's gives me happiness, joy, strength, satisfaction, love, excitement, fulfillment, and it takes me to places where nothing else can. There's nothing like hearing an old song that's a favorite and singing along!

What is your music dream?

That's funny. My music dream is stressful. I have a recurring dream that I'm supposed to play a gig and I can't get there on time. Or, I'm getting ready to play and I don't know the songs and I'm figuring out how I can fake it. Or, the worst is that I'm getting ready to play and my bass strings are broke. Anybody else have dreams like that?

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

Teach everyone love and tolerance. There's so much hate in the world today. So many simply can't understand how anybody can think differently from them. I see meaningless hateful dialogue on social media and it makes me sad. 'Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.'

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

I was a child when the Beatles were happening. I would spend any money I had on a 45 and play it to death. My favorite was 'Eight Days a Week.' Although, anything by those guys would qualify.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

Wow; where to begin. It all depends on the style. I love R&B and jazz. I grew up on James Brown, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, and many other. I grew into blue eyed soul and love Hall and Oates. Earth Wind and Fire, Rufus and Chaka, Rick James and Tina Marie. But, I also like Rock! Led Zepp, The Who, Yes, Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart; I could go on forever! Got to mention a few Jazz favorites; Weather Report, Spyro Gyra, Yellowjackets, Jean Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, the Crusaders and Return to Forever. I better stop.

What inspires you to make music?

The need to express myself and provide commentary on social issues.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

That depends on the mood and the song. Sometimes I just want my bass in your face! Sometimes I want wrote a ballad that is moving. Sometimes I want to recall some of my best memories and sometimes I just want to connect with the world.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

I always get a little nervous and it turns on the adrenaline. There's nothing quite like it!

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

That's a rhetorical question. Each of us has our own reality and our own need for expression. Listening is the key to improvement. For me, I always like playing with musicians who challenge me. Because I know if I push myself, I 'll come up with something unique.

What do you think of Drooble?

I like it. I won't say I love it, because I don't access nearly as often as others, but I do enjoy it.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

When I'm writing and it is crap! I always know when a song is good or not. The first line is the key. If I look at the first line the next day and think, 'that's pretty good,' I know it has potential. If I laugh and throw it in the garbage, I know that's where it belongs.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Not as much as I used to. I travel a lot for my job and I 'm not there very often.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

If you know the answer to that, lay it on me!

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

Assuming that you've never hear of folks is arrogant. But, I suppose I can come up with a few. How about the 'Pousette Dart Band.' Those guys were great on the college scene when I was younger. 'Mother's Finest' was an interesting group in my youth. Those guys could really rock.