Perseverance. Through a career that spanned five full-length releases with his band Fat Opie, a struggle with a long-term illness and a career as a fine artist, Scott Mickelson has persevered. Now, with his debut solo release Flickering (released 05.05.15) Mickelson delivers the record he’s worked towards since he first sat down in front of a microphone. Flickering embodies the wisdom gained from his personal and musical journey.
After weathering a rollercoaster of a career populated by characters ranging from indie labels to major-league managers, penthouse attorneys to shady international distributors Mickelson was then overcome with an undisclosed illness.
For years, Mickelson was unable to perform but never stopped creating. Turning to his background in the visual arts, Mickelson exhibited as an award winning fine artist and his illustrations appeared in magazines and newspapers. He even wrote and illustrated well-received children’s books. Destiny can also be persistent, and it was while planning a solo exhibition in San Francisco that once again Mickelson was lead back to music. “The gallery owner realized that I was Scott M from Fat Opie and she insisted that we play at the art opening,” relates Mickelson. “I told her I didn’t perform anymore but in the interest of getting people to my art show I reformed most of Fat Opie, did a couple of rehearsals and played what I’m sure was a horrible set BUT—I never picked up a paintbrush again.”
Diving deep into the visual world had a profound effect on Mickelson, liberating him from his past. In many ways Flickering is the record he’s always wanted to make and completes the evolution into the unique, dynamic artist that’s always been inside him. Says Mickelson, “This is the first time I wrote songs that were 100% personal and without any motivation but to make the most expressive record that I could with whomever I wanted and however I envisioned it. This is my first honest record.”
Glide is premiering the video for “Head’s Too Small” (below) off Flickering, a buoyant composition showcasing that Mickelson’s offers undeniable musical charm and instrumental dexterity. Filmed in his home city of San Francisco, this montage of Haight Street reflects Mickelson’s connection to the eccentric community as he sings “I drive like Mario/I act like Brando” with unabashed joy.
The interactions on Haight St were amazing, ” recalls Mickelson. “Looks like we planned people skate boarding through the shots,. but it all just happened.I wrote the song just a few blocks from there. One thing that trips me out is that I did not have any audio to lip sync to! That was all just me playing it 7-10 times and at what seems to be perfect tempo. weird but true.”
Lyrically, Flickering inhabits the world we all share, revolving around the challenge of existing in an oppressive culture, inundated by our surroundings. Mickelson is singing the stories of those living their lives in contemporary America, as fragmented as it is. Songs about home, family, loss of family, marriage, relationships that are forever and ones that are slowly dying. More so, Mickelson reminds us that we all need to be aware of how we affect those around us both positively and negatively as we navigate through this life.
When the time came to record Flickering it was the distinctive musical community of San Francisco that joined together to help lift him up. It features nearly two dozen guest artists including members of The Family Crest and other leading Bay Area artists like Jeff Campbell, Megan Slankard and Rivvrs. The record was recorded and produced by Mickelson in his home and mixed by Jay Pellicci (The Dodos, Sleater-Kinney, Deerhoof) at Tiny Telephone in SF.