Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Danny Reisch
Mike Harmeier, the lead singer of Mike and the Moonpies writes songs that are everything you'd ever want in a country song. They are filled with those treacherous trails that are lined with jellybeans and bright lights. The characters or the character that Harmeier writes into them has a relative sweet tooth and little restraint, for these aren't really jellybeans and the bright lights are just analogies for the sneakiest of temptations. This guy in his songs is hungry, loves candy and can't help but to bend down and pick up that first jellybean, then walk a little further and happily see another, which he picks up. We could just substitute whiskey or tequila shots for these jellybeans and we should. It's what we find as the lures in these songs and they lead these guys into the most rare and humbling of moments. Taken to certain extremes, these men get to those points - and they do so many times over, very regularly - where they're able to see things clearer, even through a wheat-colored blur. They come to their epiphanies when they most expect them and it's maybe the reason they batter themselves so.
When Harmeier sings on "El Camino," "Pulled up to the bar in an El Camino/That kind of girl sure knows how to raise a fuss/I've been working hard and I know she knows/How a man like me can make you want to spit and cuss/She gives me real good lovin'/She gets all that I got/She tried to help me cover every trace of the hurt I caught going my own way," we're hearing of a man who's turned sensible in spite of himself. He's incapable of giving a guarantee that he'll remain sensible, but that's really a promise that's a hard one to keep. He's just going to try his damnedest to find himself in the good graces of that real good lovin' as often as he can get there. It's all there is to hope for, in the end - the woman who makes you an honest man and the place that feels most like home.
The Daytrotter Dream Interview. Harmeier both asks and answers three probing questions:
Q: What jobs did you have before becoming a full time musician?
A: When I was a senior in high school, me and my buddy borrowed some money and bought a night club. We intended on turning it into a "teen" club but ended up just throwing keg parities to pay the rent. After the cops raided us and we ran out of cash, I moved to Austin and did maintenance at a shitty hotel for about six months. I quit going to that job and started playing as many shows as I could for a year or so. Since then all I have done is play music.
Q: What is the longest live show you've ever played?
A: We once played an eight-hour gig for my dad's 50th birthday. It was at the house I grew up in back in north Houston. I think we took two breaks. They just fed us jello shots and requested Allman Bros. songs until we passed out.
Q: How did you get so good at "Words With Friends?"