Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
A lot of Michael Runion is very Los Angeles, or the kind of Los Angeles that people presume to be the standard order. It's tall and it's slick and it moves with an air of cool invincibility. It takes on an attitude that's likely fictionalized, playing up a myth or a status of something that's bigger than life, in a way. It's not at all supposed to be a bad thing, but it is a portrayal, an act that is meant to cover. Runion is a man, who in lyrics has experienced some of those fucked up Hollywood parties more times than he can possibly imagine and he's seen things at these parties that, while happening in real life, are as surreal as they could possibly be. He's seen and maybe been one of those people acting out an alternative illusion - for one night or a bender of nights - faking it as well as anyone's ever faked it. It's just trying on different personalities and seeing what they can do for you, seeing what you can do to them, testing their malleability. His music and his words are never deserted, but loaded with details upon details that elicit strong flashbacks to some evenings that must have spun themselves out-of-control and some evenings that must have looked like they were gleefully going to do so, but then petered out into duds, backfiring and disappointing. He plays up a feeling that people turn out to be nothing like they seem and it's this disillusionment that we all have to live with, to be around. On "Red Pony," he sings about a night and a friend, "Kids were dancin' on the ceiling, spillin' drinks into my beard/They were movin' to a music, that no one else could hear/I asked them why but nobody cared/Then I fell apart in Tucson like a doll made out of dust/Then I fell in with some hippies, but they'd just run out of drugs/So we snorted up a bible, but I didn't feel a buzz/When they turned away, I started to run/Now my friend, he's getting married, to a girl he thinks he likes/She's as worthless as a conscious, inside a prison fight/But if you're gonna have a home, you better have a wife/I just hope she takes him alive." It's as if sleep gathers rust in his songs, never used as much as it should be for normal people and the music becomes something that's all boozey swagger, full of a swirling poignancy that's getting to the crux of people and the night a little bit quicker, just with a few more tangents.