Mike Tirelli interview
Written by Kevin Tanza on June 22, 2022
Mike Tirelli is one of the most underrated Heavy Metal singers of his generation and a career that has been going strong for over forty years is a testament to his dedication hard work and consistency as an artist and as a performer. And his recent tour with one of his main projects, Holy Mother, highlights how good he still is.
Having enjoyed a career that has extended for several decades and doing records with so many different groups such as Holy Mother, Messiah’s Kiss, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, among many others, it was a pleasure to sit down with Mike and talk about the recent tour, his progression as an artist and a lot more.
Hi, Mike. Welcome to MusikHolics! How’s it going?
Things are going well, thank you. Glad to be back on the road with Holy Mother.
How’s the tour with Holy Mother going so far? Any interesting highlights?
The tour is going very well as planned. We do have 17 shows in 17 days. Also in seven different countries. There’s always some great highlights at each show but some of the more outstanding or extravagant highlights would be the last show in Switzerland, where we all got to play together. I also went up on stage with Dynazty and did Highway Star.
Mike Tirelli performing Deep Purple’s Highway Star with Swedish band Dynazty.
As someone who has been around for so long, what are the things that you have learned to cope with the demands of the road in better fashion?
Well, being on the road is always pretty tough. But I do not party when I’m on the road. And I also make sure I get plenty of rest and hydration which is also a big part of it. There’s always going to be ups and downs with different venues, etc. But we had a great crew with us to minimize any problems that could occur. Mostly sound issue that can be a problem playing so many different venues. But again, our sound crew we had took care of that with ease.
Speaking a bit more about Holy Mother, you guys released Face this Burn last year after 18 years without a new album. For people that perhaps lost a bit of track, what was the reason for taking so long?
Well, basically, we all agreed that we needed to take a break. We did not anticipate it to be 18 years. But I got involved in other bands/projects, one in particular was a band called Messiah’s Kiss from Germany. I toured with them for years and released four albums. I also toured with the band Riot for three years. I also play in an eight-piece wedding band which keeps me extremely busy.
You have obviously played in a lot of bands over the years. After spending so much without recording with Holy Mother, how did you feel writing and recording with this group?
Writing and recording with other bands like Messiah’s Kiss is definitely a slight different style than Holy Mother. But I enjoy the freedom that I get when singing and writing with any other bands, especially Messiah’s Kiss.
One thing that surprised me about Face this Burn was the fact that the production felt very organic and natural. Was that by design or was it a natural result of the recording process?
I intentionally wanted the new Face this Burn album to sound sonically the best I’ve ever recorded in my career. So I used Kane Churko, whose father Kevin Churko and him are very famous producers/mixers in the business, to fulfill exactly what I was looking for. They’ve worked with bands like Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy, Papa Roach, Bad Wolves, just to name a few.
How do you think you have evolved as a songwriter throughout the years?
As a songwriter I’ve become way more versatile. Since I play in different bands that play different styles, I am exposed to so many different kinds of music from country/Pop/dance/hip-hop/soul/standards. I do it all! And this has opened up my musical influences in my writing ability.
What are the musical ethos of Holy Mother?
As far as Holy Mother’s influences, I go back to my original roots which would be Dio, Black Sabbath, iron maiden, Judas Priest, Queensrÿche. Those were the most influential on me especially when Holy Mother started. Where I am today, there are so many that I can appreciate, not just one in particular.
Musicians are always asked about what initially influenced them as musicians, but what are you listening these days that is currently influencing you?
Like I said before. I play all kinds of music and I can appreciate a lot of different types of music. But there are some great singers that I am still listening to, like anything from Chris Cornell. But as far as bands go I like Disturbed a lot. Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace.
Mike Tirelli covering Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again.
Focusing on the tour, what do you guys usually do to select a balanced set list?
Since the band has a history of at least 25 years or so, I definitely have to add in the classic songs from Holy Mother’s Toxic Rain album, Criminal Afterlife album, those were the biggest ones for us. And of course the new album, Face This Burn. I also have to sing a song from my biggest influence which is Ronnie James Dio. We do Holy Diver.
Of the recent album, what are the tracks that you prefer singing the most?
On the new album songs that I prefer singing live the most which is not always my favorite songs off the album. But I like to sing live, and I think that the ones that go over really well are Wake Up America, Face This Burn, Today, and No Death Reborn.
Favorite show in the tour so far?
It’s a really hard question because they always so spectacular. But I really enjoyed Budapest, and all the German shows. Also Croatia was really great as well.
Best album you have ever made and why? (No, you can’t say Face this Burn!)
If I can’t say Face This Burn, I would have to go with Toxic Rain. There was anenergy on that album that probably can never be duplicated again!
After so many years in the industry, what are your goals now? What are you still aiming for?
I am always aiming to just make sure that our fans and all Heavy Metal fans enjoy all the music that we release. Also I want to be able to play live each year for all the great fans, and just have fun, and keep writing great music forever!
Thank you for taking the time to do this, Mike. Any last words for our readers? Where can we follow you in social media?
You are so welcome. It was my pleasure. I’d like to add that Holy Mother will be headlining in Europe in December. You can follow Mike Tirelli on Facebook and Holy Mother on Instagram. Also on Mike Tirelli’s YouTube channel.
Thank you again!