Mike in the sunshine

Mike Rimbaud is an American singer-songwriter and painter who lives in New York City. He has recorded 11 albums(including an album of covers and a compilation).  “Put That Dream in Your Pipe and Smoke it” is the latest (released fall, 2014.)   In February 2014 Mike released his single cover of  "Stairway to Heaven" not what you would expect with harmonica and saxophone, watch the music video on You Tube.  "Night Rainbow" from 2013 was inspired by hurricane Sandy and the continuing economic crisis in the US, includes the singles, Jackhammer Jones , Rainbow Tonight, Robin Hood in Reverse and "Sandy Must Be Crazy". Coney Island Wave (2011) 12 original rockin' tunes, including "Saving Up to Go Bankrupt" which was part of the Occupy This Album collection released in 2012. Songs for the unemployed, America's ignored, and for people who still have dreams in a time when the American dream only exists when they're sleeping.

REVIEWS: 2016: "Going Down to Trumpistan" The single. New York Music Daily

"Put That Dream in Your Pipe and Smoke It" makes 50 best albums of 2015:

"Yet another provocative, surrealistically lyrical, tight powerpop and retro new wave record from one of the most fearlessly funny, spot-on chroniclers of post-9/11 global society anywhere." -NY Music Daily 12/15

Blurt Magazine, March 9, 2015: "Joe Strummer would be proud"

New York 1 TV's report from Eric Holland, Jan 21, 2015

New York Music Daily review, January 10, 2015

(Dec.2014) Interview published with "Set in The City" http://www.setinthecity.com/2014/12/01/going-deep-with-mike-rimbaud/

French review of new album: "Put That Dream in Your Pipe and Smoke it" (2014)

Oui-FM podcast interview- November, 2014

"Night Rainbow" made the New York Music Daily 50 Best Albums of 2013 list : "Mike Rimbaud- Night Rainbow
Few other songwriters have chronicled New York as savagely and insightfully as this Elvis Costello-esque, psychedelically inclined guitarist and rocker; it’s arguably his best album ever." http://newyorkmusicdaily.wordpress.com/

"Night Rainbow" review : KFJC radio, 89.7 FM in California - March 28, 2013

"No other songwriter has captured the current climate in New York better than Mike Rimbaud."- New York Music Daily, February 18, 2013

French review of "Night Rainbow", March 5, 2013.

"Coney Island Wave is one of the great New York rock records. It’s both a celebration of this city as well as an often savagely spot-on look at the state of the world, 2012" - New York Music Daily: 2-2012

"Can't Judge A Song By It'sCover" released November 2011

Judging Mike Rimbaud’s Covers Album

"After seven albums of original material – and his excellent, most recent release, Coney Island Wave (chronicled here yesterday), literate rocker Mike Rimbaud decided to do an album of covers. Which can be tricky. In order to cover a song that’s worth covering to begin with, you either have to do it better than the original – no easy task – or completely reinvent it. Which is exactly what Rimbaud did with Can’t Judge a Song By Its Cover. To call this record ambitious is something of an understatement: tackling mostly well-known, iconic songs, Rimbaud makes it seem easy as he nails them, one by one. If you’re willing to buy the argument that there’s such thing as a classic album of covers, this is it."

by Delarue 2012 (New York Music Daily)

Mike Rimbaud: What Was I Thinking? The Return of An Underground Hero By Jean-Pierre Simard

Mike Rimbaud's guitars don't look down on either electricity or percussion and even less on organ and crawling synthesizers. All that to draw, with a charcoal pencil or oil, whole vignettes of urban American life like a roof troubadour, an image that first burst out with his first album, in the 90's, "Mutiny In the Subway" on which you could see him walk by the water tanks that top the buildings of the Big Apple. His art is anchored in a reality that recalls Bruce Springsteen, the storyteller of everyday life ("Losing is a Victory"), as much as the Marc Bolan of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, ("Searching for Yourself"). Rimbaud who navigates between painting and music, slays you with all this in a slightly broken voice, the voice of asphalt, the voice of cobble stones and if he wins it all, it is because of his authenticity. Rare and valuable, Mike is the man-on -the-street of New York.

ROLLING STONE Magazine (French Edition) - Reviews- February, 2011

Lower East Side vet Mike Rimbaud took the name of his new band from a set of cute cartoon signs that reminded ’50s commuters not to smoke or spit. But it’s that dingy, subterranean, through-the-grate kind of glow that informs his scruffy-voiced rock songs, invoking ’70s Costello and Springsteen along with an improbable hint of Brazil—the Baiana guitar (a surfy-sounding electrified acoustic).
(Kamenetz) –The Village Voice

Mike Rimbaud, in basic black, wielded an electric guitar in songs that were terse, telegraphic and propelled
by urgent strumming. Mr. Rimbaud has a rocker’s rasp in his voice, and he knows how to get the most
power out of verses with few words. His songs crackle with New York’s nervy paranoia.

By JON PARELES The New York Times

April 3, 2012: An interview in French and English:
Interview in French 2-2012: "Sweet Songs Never Last Too Long"
"Mike Rimbaud, underground artist from Coney Island"

Mike Rimbaud Press Book (Download)

Review of Mike's concert at the Delancey in New York, March 29, 2010 –from Lucid Culture

X-Roads magazine interview May, 2010 (French Press)

Mike Rimbaud: Coney Island Wave

Interview published in New York City's The Villager:

Mike Rimbaud is an indie musician from New York City. He has released six CD's and he is also a painter who exposes his work. He is performing regularly in the City and in other places. He has visited Brazil many times although you can't feel any "Brazilian" sound in his work, the influence is present by the use of an electric "cavaquinho" (also called "Baiana Guitar", a 60s invention by two musicians from Bahia, used in samba and chorinho). He agreed to give The Villager an interview after we met in person at an East Village pub.

Ernest Barteldes : Tell us a little about your background.

Mike Rimbaud : I was born in New York, spent my childhood on Crosby Street, in Little Italy. I'm a third generation American. I took guitar lessons from Eric Darling, a folk singer who played with the Weavers and the Roof Top Singers,starting when I was six years old. With a couple friends I formed a rock band in high school, I played bass in it and sang some original songs, we did some gigs in Massachusetts where I was living at the time. I started performing solo when I was in college, I played some coffee houses and open mikes, and since then I never stopped. In the early nineties I lived in Paris for a couple years and toured solo and with my band all over Europe, including Russia. I continue to go to Paris regularly and have a side project called "Adam Evening" that I'm recording with a French experimental electronic musician.

Ernest Barteldes : Your working track, 7-11 on 9-11 gives your view of that day. Did the events of that day affect your music in a deeper way?

Mike Rimbaud : I don't think it changed the way I play guitar or write songs, I've been playing since I was a little boy. I've written political songs before, for example, "American Terrorist" and "Blacks sea, Red Light" from my "Red Light" CD, or "Police State of Mind" from "Mutiny in the Subway" my first CD. My song "You Make Love Like you Make War" was inspired by the Gulf War. I'll probably write a sequel for Gulf War 2. It's important to have songs that speak to current events, topical songs are pretty common throughout folk music history. Unfortunately there are very few outlets for many people to learn about and listen to these kinds of songs today, unless you hang out in folk music circles and can tune in some college music stations. Pop music today is so poor and artistically bankrupt, I think it's cheating the public out of the real healing power of song. "Beast of "Broadway" is like my folk music album, it's very minimal, I wanted to record it like an old blues session. My last three records were all rocking with a full band, and here many of the tracks are only my guitar and voice.

Ernest Barteldes : You recorded a Springsteen song, "Atlantic City". Coincidentally, he released a new album this year as well. Is there any particular reason to include this song in your new album?

Mike Rimbaud : First of all, I'd like for him to hear it, and second, I hope he digs it. He's a busy guy, so I'm not waiting by the phone for Bruce's call. This is the first time I put a cover song on one of my albums. Maybe it's like a little wave to New Jersey from the other side of the river. I originally recorded it to be included on a Springsteen tribute album, and I liked it so much, I thought it could go on my CD too."Nebraska" is one of my favorite Springsteen records, and "Atlantic City" has a fantastic atmosphere. I tried to shine a different light on the song, especially the phrase "maybe everything dies someday comes back." Also I always wanted to do CD that was only guitar and vocals like "Nebraska," maybe I should have called it "Beast of Oklahoma."

Ernest Barteldes : You use a "cavaquinho" in the CD. Has Brazilian music influenced your style in any way?

Mike Rimbaud : I've been going to Brazil regularly for the past twelve years, I hope it has. I bought a used Cavaquinho in Salvador last summer in a little shop. It's a black one, and it's electric. I didn't buy it when I first saw it, but I was haunted by it and I went back a few days later to get it, all musicians understand this feeling, I think. A friend of mine who lives in Gavea in Rio plays the instrument professionally in a great group that specializes in old Brazilian songs from the 1920's. Anyway, she's given me some tips for the Cavaquinho and guitar. Three of the songs on my new record were written in Brazil, "Angry in Paradise," "Without sugar", "Turtles have Shells." I wrote the words for "Mind Eraser" in New York and the music in Rio. You can go all over Brazil and find bars and restaurants where there is a lone singer with his guitar, no band, singing beautiful songs. It's not like Bleecker street, in Brazil it's in the air, the way they play guitar, wi! th nylon strings, and those sensual melodies.

Ernest Barteldes : I understand what you mean about Brazilian music. People look at you differently when you make a sound that is completely different from what they are used to hear. Anyway, how influenced are you by Brazilian music today?Are you considering incorporating it into your kind of sound?

Mike Rimbaud: Whenever I go to Brazil I want to listen to new music that coming out over there, weather it's Pagode or Rock. I like "Televisao de Cachorro"(by Pato Fu) and "Chico Science" (the late Brazilian pop fusion artist) but also "RevelaÁ„o" and "Falamansa". I'm really not sure how much it has influenced my music, but I know I'm heavily influenced by the Brazilian lifestyle and attitude, which must touch my songs somehow. My first CD, "Mutiny" was done with only bass and percussion, so I've always loved Latin American percussion, but I think I'm a rocker at heart. when I was a kid I wanted to rock like Jimi Hendrix or Elvis(Presley and Costello) and I still do.

Ernest Barteldes : In some of the tracks, I can hear that you ran an acoustic guitar through an amplifier, but you can hear the sound of the guitar's strings that were probably picked up by the voice mike. Was that intentional, to create a sound somewhat like Eric Clapton did on the Bluesbrakers album?

Mike Rimbaud : That's exactly right, I actually recorded some guitar tracks using a POD, by Line 6, it imitates tube amplifier sounds. Yes, I recorded the vocals live with my guitar playing, so it picked some guitar too. When I started performing around New York, I played solo with a Fender Telecaster and a Twin Reverb amp, very heavy, I like the sound of solo electric guitar too. I used to listen to Billy Bragg a lot, who recorded albums with only electric guitar and voice, like a Punk Woody Guthrie.

Ernest Barteldes :You released your album through an independent label. Are you independent by option or do you intend to shop around larger labels or distribution companies?

Mike Rimbaud : Yes, I'd like to find a larger label and distribution company, but a lot of larger labels won't even listen to your CD if you send it to them. Maybe if I taped a hundred dollar bill to the jewel case, and stuck a joint inside, I'd have better luck. (photo by Pierre Dufour)