By Patrick Dolan, Staff Writer
This Thursday at 123 Pleasant St., Mikey Iafrate will play a special show with Morgantown newcomer David Bello, with both artists playing solo acoustic sets and full-band sets. I recently caught up with Iafrate to talk about the show and other things:
Patrick Dolan: How did the idea of performing with another local solo artist manifest?
Mikey Iafrate: I met David earlier this year and immediately liked his music a lot. At 123 one night, we … thought it would be fun to put together a unique show where we each play an acoustic solo set, a full-band set and a few songs where both bands could play together somehow.
PD: Do you think it’s a good complement? You and Bello?
MI: Yeah, I think so. We both do the acoustic singer-songwriter thing that turned into a full-band thing. I think it’s a good match.
PD: Will it be a long night? I’m assuming it will since you are both playing solo sets and then full-band sets.
MI: I don’t think it’ll be much longer than a regular show. I think the acoustic sets will each be shorter to have plenty of time for the rock songs and the collaborative songs at the end.
PD: What do you think about how some publications focusing on the religious implications in your music?
MI: I don’t mind that people focus on the theology in my music. It’s a noticeable aspect of the music I make, so I expect people to wonder about it. Not all of my songs are theological. Some of the songs are just love songs; some don’t have much of a message whatsoever. But a lot of them contain religion and politics because they are both things I think about a lot. Just as long as people don’t start thinking that what I do is “Christian rock.” I despise Christian rock with a passion. Almost as much as I despise Republicanism.
PD: What do you think of David Bello’s music?
MI: I love it. His “Hair on Yr Head” record is fantastic. It’s really imaginative with all the different instruments and sounds, yet it all sticks together and makes sense as an album. (It) reminds me of some of the best aspects of Neutral Milk Hotel or Microphones. I also like how he re-interprets the songs in a live setting with more of a rock backing. That shows how good the songs are.
PD: How long have you been playing with a band? Do you prefer a backing band or the intimacy of a stand-alone acoustic gig?
MI: I’ve been doing my acoustic-based “solo” music since the early ’90s, and here and there I would have various friends play with me live. But I didn’t really acquire a solid lineup for the band as The Priesthood until a couple years ago. Lately, I prefer to treat music as a social activity, so I tend to prefer playing with the full band rather than solo, but there is a time and place for both. When we play as a band, though, we can play the songs as I always imagined them in my brain, with the different parts and stuff. That doesn’t always translate when I play solo.
PD: Any new releases or plans in the future?
MI: I recorded a 10-song Christmas album entitled happy xmas, x is here. It’ll be pressed in limited quantities and included in Christmas cards to friends and family, but it’s also available as a free mp3 download from my Web site: miafrate.catholicanarchy.org.
PD: And finally, what are your top five favorite things about being a musician in Morgantown?
MI: 1) We have some great venues. 123 and the Rosewood are awesome. 2) The other bands/musicians in town are so great. There is a lot of great stuff happening, and everyone is really supportive of each other. 3) Lots of great support, not only from other bands, but from U92, the DA, the Den, etc. 4) Black Label. 5) I don’t know.