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“I Haven’t Written My Favorite Song Yet”
Mike Viola has written some of my all-time favorite songs. But the Massachusetts singer/songwriter tells me in this interview that what keeps pushing him creatively is that he hasn’t written his favorite song yet. Viola’s musical career began when he was a teenager, playing in a hard rock band that garnered some pretty serious regional attention, including opening for Todd Rundgren and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Viola’s solo career started with an EP in 1985 and since then he’s put out nearly 25 albums of some of the most perfect pop music you’ll ever hear.He’s produced for everyone from Ryan Adams to Fall Out Boy, recorded with Shania Twain, The Monkees, Jenny Lewis and Rachel Yamagata and he’s written tracks for and with Matt Nathanson, Mandy Moore, and John Wesley Harding. Along with his buddy Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Viola wrote and co-produced the Oscar Nominated title track for the 1996 Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do. Viola also wrote must for the film Walk Hard and Get Him To the Greek and he currently is the VP of a and r over at Verve Records. Viola’s new album Godmuffin is a thing of wonder. Filled with songwriting finesse and masterclass pop phrasing, it might very well be his best effort yet. From ruminative tracks like “Ordinary Girl” to the aching grind of “Creeper” to the bluesy pop ripple of “Drug Rug,” on Godmuffin Viola has proven once again that he’s a practically peerless songwriter who knows how to land a hook better than anyone I can think of. Godmuffin is the album that we needed in 2020 to remind us that there are still good things in their world.In this conversation, Viola talks about his love of horror movies and monsters, giving up his ticket to see Randy Rhodes, parenting during a pandemic and memories of hanging out in L.A. with Dan Bern.