Miracle Legion’s Ray Neal (“Mr. Ray”) Talks Touring, Legacy And More (INTERVIEW)

Last summer I was lucky enough to catch Miracle Legion in Providence, Rhode Island. The show was among the first handful the New Haven cult act would play after reuniting for the first time since the release of their fifth album, Portrait of a Damaged Family, 20 years prior. The reunion that was fueled by interest in Polaris – a band featuring most of the members of Miracle Legion best known for creating the soundtrack for the beloved 90’s Nickelodeon show Pete & Pete. But whereas Polaris was more of a garage rock power pop hybrid, Miracle Legion felt more sophisticated and in the college rock realm of groups like R.E.M. For fans of both bands and their front man Mark Mulcahy, the return of Miracle Legion was welcome news. Onstage in Providence in front of a sold out crowd, the bearded Mulcahy still exuded his sporadic onstage energy while guitarist Ray Neal (“Mr. Ray”) inserted his precise accents in all the right places. The performance was emotional and electrifying, and clearly transcended the nostalgia that can plague many 90s rock acts these days.

Fast forward to nearly a year later and the members of Miracle Legion are still playing shows, all of which have been met with a level of enthusiasm from fans that the band probably didn’t predict. This week the band embarks on another small tour and will release a live album, Annulment, on April 7th via Mezzotint, the label started by Mulcahy twenty years ago. There is one troubling catch: this may be all we see from Miracle Legion. Based on the title of their live album – not to mention the stormy clouds on the cover – and a video they just released aptly titled ‘The end is here!”, it seems this may be it for their short-lived reunion. But then again, as I mentioned above, there is more demand for Miracle Legion than even the band could have predicted. Maybe I’m just optimistic, but I recently had a quick chat with Mr. Ray that left me with more questions about what the future may really hold for Miracle Legion.

You have a new live album. Was there a feeling that you wanted to capture the energy of this band in the present day?

Most definitely. We also had realised looking back that there wasn’t much of a record of us live and I think that our live show was a very special part of our thing.

Have there been any specific songs that you have especially enjoyed getting to play live again?

Lame answer, but I would say all of them. After all these years you get to reexamine the songs. They are all kind of new again.

Do you see Miracle Legion as having an influence on any particular scene, style of music, or band?

Various people have said that we influenced or inspired them. Which is fantastic. I hope if anything i hope we inspired people to just do it. Whatever it is. As Rollins said “get in the van”.

What do you think when you groups like Radiohead cite Miracle Legion as an influence?

Honoured. When we started all I wanted was to have the effect on people that musicians had on me. Sitting in your room playing that record over and over again.

I read an interview where you said you would love to write songs with Mark again. Are there any plans on the table for that right now?

I hope so. At the moment I think everybody is pretty busy. We have these shows and then Mark has a solo album coming out. But I hope we’ll get to it.

Is it possible that we could see another Miracle Legion in the future?

Depends how many fist fights there are…

Miracle Legion release Annulment on April 7th via Mezzotint. For more info visit mezzotint.com.

Miracle Legion Tour Dates:

4/7 – Fall River, MA @Narrows Center for the Arts
4/8 – North Adams, MA @Mass MoCa
4/20 – Philadelphia, PA @Boot & Saddle
4/21 – New York, NY @Bowery Ballroom
4/22 – Hamden, CT @The Ballroom at The Outer Space
4/28 – Los Angeles, CA @The Echoplex
4/29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel

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