This is No Cover, a production of KOSU and Oklahoma State University and hosted by Matthew Viriyapah. On this episode is Mike McClure.
Mike McClure is a pioneer of the Red Dirt music scene that began in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He was part of The Great Divide and produced numerous other records for acts like Cross Canadian Ragweed and Turnpike Troubadours.
With the pandemic giving many in the music industry a lot more time at home this year, Mike believes his latest solo record, Looking Up, is his most cohesive album yet. The album was written in the wake of close friends and mentors passing away, as well as him coming to grips with drinking.
Hear him talk about his decision to give up drinking, recalling those early Red Dirt days and advice for those going through tough times.
About a year and some change ago, I came to the realization that I needed to put it down. I started to figure out that I was just pouring alcohol on top of things that I needed to be working on, whether it be personal growth or spiritual growth of sorts.
And so I quit. I didn’t realize how sideways I was in my thinking and my living. When you’re in a band and you’re traveling around and you work in bars, you get swept up in it really easily.
And I was no longer just drinking at shows. It was everyday... and just really sidelined a lot of the things I was trying to accomplish and didn’t even know I wanted to accomplish till I got my head clear and could go out and start putting the pieces together.
When you go from drinking all the time... into not doing that, it can change your group of people that you hang around. And the ones that love you, and the ones that love me, they're going to still be there no matter what's going on.
Now singing ("Holiday Blown") with a little bit of clarity, you know clarity is certainly something I was missing and I think it showed over my life over a span of several years. I wish I could go back and change that, but all I've got is today and the next one and just keep on going.
On taking time to produce the album
When everything shut down, I shut down. I came off the road and wasn’t quite sure what I was going to be doing. And I live in a studio, you know my house, the Boohatch Studio is in. And the gear is always there so I didn’t really have an excuse…
I haven’t made an album in 5 years so a bunch of songs were sitting around. And we had the luxury of time to sit and really play through the songs and try to figure out what they’re saying and put them in the right order. And it just had a cohesiveness to it that I think has been lacking on a lot of my records.
Being home and grounded in a sense... I got a chance to experiment. I had the luxury of time to like 'well I'll try a solo with this sound.'
On looking inside
I think now is the time to take this time… and instead of looking out and rushing around and seeing what’s going around in the world, start looking inside, look inwards and see what’s going on inside of you. And instead of trying to find your inner picture by looking at your outer picture. Reverse that start looking in and that will change your outer picture, you know as far as 'what is it that I need to work on?'
Y’know I think that's the best advice I could give anybody is to try and find the truth and look inside yourself for that.
Music featured in this episode:
- Mike McClure - Your Kind of Blue
- Mike McClure - Dying to Try
- Tom Skinner - Skyline Radio
- Steve Ripley - Gone Away
- Mike McClure - I Am Not Broken
- Mike McClure - Holiday Blown
- The Great Divide - Goin' for Broke
- Turnpike Troubadours - Diamonds & Gasoline
- Cross Canadian Ragweed - 17
- Tanner Fields - Redemption Day
- Tom Petty - You Don't Know How it Feels
- Mike McClure - Become Someday
- Mike McClure - Distractions
- Mike McClure - Distractions
- Guy Clark - Stuff That Works
- Mike McClure - Little Bit of Love
- Mike McClure - Here I Am
- Mike McClure - Orion