Guitarist MICHAEL CIRAVOLO had a vision not many have and really went for it. His super collaboration group featuring members of The Mission, The Cure, Cheap Trick, Ministry, The Awakening and more has stepped up the musician’s dream to another level. Fans of T Rex will really love Michael’s newest vision of ‘20th Century Boy’ with Rolan Bolan, son of Marc Bolan and Wayne Hussey. We spoke on the phone with Mr. Ciravolo in the middle of his beautiful chaos to dig even deeper…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born and raised in New Orleans! Moved out to Los Angeles with the band HUMAN DRAMA in the late ’85. My wife and I now live just outside of LA in Shadow Hills, California.
Your new single/video with Wayne Hussey (The Mission) and T Rex’s son Rolan Bolan, could you tell us about it:
I love this song, and Marc Bolan was a big influence on not only how I play guitar, but also why. Watching him on a late-night TV show when I was a kid sealed the deal for me! Having the chance to work with Rolan is one of the great surreal BIC moments for sure. We had already done ‘20th Century Boy’ on FBIC, in a far different vein. When Rolan agreed to be involved, I decided to re-record the song, far more authentic to his Dad’s version… which I think is one of the all-time great RockN’Roll songs. I had broached the idea with Wayne, who as it turned out was even a bigger Marc Bolan / T.Rex fan. No way he was not going to be part of this! As for the video, I really wanted to do something that captured the glam spirit that I remembered as teen, the video is fun and campy but it’s truly meant to honor what Marc gave to music. Having Rolan tell me after shooting the video that “my Dad would think this is really cool’ meant the world.
How did you an Wayne meet?
I was introduced to Wayne by Mark Gemini Thwaite, who played in THE MISSION during the ‘90s. Wayne and I hit it off well, sharing a lot of common ground musically which led to him contributing ‘The Long Goodbye’ and ‘Man of Faith’ to the BEAUTY IN CHAOS debut record. I was always a big fan of The Mission, especially Wayne’s voice and I’m blessed to have him part of BIC and even more so to call him a friend.
What song with the pinnacle point and realization that you knew this project was about the become bigger then you could have imagined?
I would have to say when I heard the vocals that Ashton Nyte did with the music track which became ‘Storm’. Up until that point, we had recorded two tracks, one being an older song I had that CHEAP TRICK’s Robin Zander steered into becoming ‘Drifting Away’, and the first cover version of ‘20th Century Boy’, which we did with AL Jourgensen of MINISTRY. Two really good tracks with two amazing big name singers but it was ‘Storm’ that gave me the confidence that this record could and would happen. It also started a great friendship with Ashton, who is a big part of BIC. Musically and lyrically, ‘Strom’ is everything I wanted this record to be. The line ‘there’s always a light’ is the most import lyric on this album to me.
Both of your records are on vinyl, what was the decision to press them up rather that just go with CD?
Honestly, this was my plan from day-1. I love the sound, the feel, the look… everything about vinyl. Maybe it’s showing my age, but it does take me back to my teens and just how import music and the purchase of music was to me. I am really not a fan of how people do consume music nowadays and the lack of value that many place on the art of making music. I was lucky to meet Tim Perry at a Gene Loves Jezebel show. We started talking and he was interested in doing a vinyl label, as he is a bigger vinyl junkie than me! He formed 33.3 Music Collective to do our first record. Several bigger labels that expressed some interest in BIC had either no interest in doing vinyl or wanted the record to sell what to me was an unrealistic about of CDs and digital before ‘considering’ pressing LPs. The choice of 33.3 was easy for me.
Tell us about the album cover and who the girls are:
The cover is exactly what I had in my head before a note was even played on the record. Some friends of mine that live back east shoot abandon buildings as a hobby. A few of their photos really caught my eye. Basically, nature re-taking a burnt out man-made shell. The beauty of a flower in the middle of destruction sparked the phrase ‘beauty in chaos’. I began to equate that to the current state of the world we live in, Chaos everywhere. The two beautiful ladies on the cover are Tish and I’s daughters. They are certainly our beauty in the chaos that abounds.
Would would you say were a couple surreal moments so far for this project?
I know that is probably a term I overuse but it is really accurate as to how I feel. Before starting this record, I was fans of all of these artists and their music so having them pour their heart, soul and lyrics into these songs is truly special. As far as those ‘surreal’ moments there are and continue to be many. ‘FBIC’ certainly started with two of those moments for me. Growing up as a big fan of those early Cheap Trick records, and having Robin Zander in my studio sitting on the couch next to me listening to the playback of ‘Drifting Away’ and asking me what I thought of his vocals is… yeah a bit surreal! Hard not to be a fanboy as this is the guy who sang ‘Surrender’ and ‘Dream Police’! This was followed up the next week with Al Jourgensen. Ministry was a big influence on me in the ‘90s and seeing Ministry live a Lollapalooza in 1993 was Tish and I’s first overnight date. Fast forward 25+ years and Al is singing in my studio… surreal. Also having two of my all time favorite singers and bassists from two of my all-time favorite bands. The Cure and The Mission together for the first time ever on my song is really crazy. Calling Simon and Wayne friends is a true blessing. These moments continue.
You work at Schecter guitar, who are some legendary artists you do guitars for?
We work with a lot of great, diverse artists. Avenged Sevenfold, In This Moment, Disturbed, Papa Roach, Zakk Wylde, The Time, Ministry, The Mission and Peter Murphy to name a few. Legendary? I would have to say that phrase exemplifies The Cure, Cheap Trick and the late great Prince.
Well we are currently editing the video for ‘The Long Goodbye’ (Au Revoir). This is the beautiful piano version that appears on “beauty re-envisioned’. I really love this song. Wayne sings it so amazing. We should have this one out by the end of September. We’re also working on our next new release, which will be an EP. It’ll probably be 5 new songs, with the debut single ‘The Delicate Balance of All Things” and a corresponding video hopefully being ready by late November. The EP, which also features a new track, ‘The Outside’ written with Ashton Nyte should be out in February 2020. I’m really excited about this record, it has a bit darker starker feel than ‘FBIC’. When we started Beauty In Chaos, I never looked at or approached it in the context of a live situation. As ‘finding beauty in chaos’ nears its 1-year anniversary, I think I’ve been thinking more about the possibility of performing it. Since it’s not a ‘normal’ band in the standard context, the who/how/where are a bit more complicated. I do hope that can indeed happen next year, even if only a few special shows.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
To me it means looking past the obvious and seeing the beauty or good in something or someone that others might miss or overlook.