If you asked the guys in Miracle Legion five years ago if they would have gotten back together for a tour, the answer probably would have been a resounding “I don’t know.” But Mark Mulcahy had a solo record that did well, and a reunion tour with Polaris, so by 2016 it seemed almost inevitable. When it was announced, it was no surprise, and the reaction was immense. They sold out shows in the US and in their adoptive UK, megastars of the intervening 20 years were singing their praises, and a live album (Annulment) documenting last year’s shows was released on April 7th. On that day, I phoned guitarist Mr. Ray, to talk about the reception the band has received, the new album, and where he thinks things are heading just ahead of the bands last couple of shows for the foreseeable future.
(Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity, and so I don’t sound like a mumbling idiot)
How does it feel to be touring as Miracle Legion again? To see the reunion being so well received?
I personally feel really blessed to be doing it again, there was a time when probably everyone, including us, assumed we weren’t going to do Miracle Legion again. And then, the way it’s turned out… when it was first brought up, I was really worried it was going to be some sort of nostalgia, the audience would be all just guys my age talking about the old days, and it hasn’t been that at all. It was just as real as it was 20 years ago. It’s been just incredible, the first couple of times playing it was like “this is so weird, some kind of time slip has occurred.” And the audience has been really mixed, young and old. To be honest, I’m completely blown away.
Did you expect this time last year to be doing a second leg of the tour?
No, when this was first talked about the question was would anyone come. Who would book us? Did anyone care? It’s been so nice to just see, and I’m not saying this to boost my ego, but the outpouring of love has been great. It’s just been fantastic.
It can’t be all positive, has there been any drawbacks after not touring as Miracle Legion for 20 years?
For me it’s been pretty easy. At this point in my life a lot of pressures I had are now gone. It’s just fun for me. When you start a band, you start it to start a band… before you know it, you get caught up in the business. No matter how hard you try not to. So now it’s almost easier, and because we’re older, and it’s not six 25 year old guys in a van for three months. That gets weird. There’s pressure, tension, and none of that’s there. If anything my knees hurt in the morning. But I’ll take that. It hasn’t been hard at all. It’s been fun.
So in other big news, today is the release day of Annulment, the first new Miracle Legion album in 20 years. How does that feel?
Who would have thought? Yeah, it sounds pretty good. Live recordings, in the past you know that they weren’t really live, and this is a live recording, and it sounds… I’m proud of it. And it’s really good that it exists because our career existed pre-digital, there isn’t a lot of stuff, videos or recordings, and our live show was a unique part of what we did. Now we got this, it’s a record of our last shows.
Speaking of live recordings, the Paste session was great; being a power pop/jangle pop band did you expect the songs to be so good stripped down?
I really enjoyed that; I didn’t know what it was. But at one point in our career, Mark and I, we had it down. That’s one of the big things about getting back together, everytime Mark and I get together and start playing music, it’s not that hard, you know? I’ve played with other people, and I respect other musicians immensely, but nothing beats playing with Mark.
The Butterflies of Love just reunited for two shows, you jumped in with them in the UK? Do you think there’s a moment for Connecticut bands?
I don’t know, it’s a weird coincidence if nothing else. I think in a way, it’s a certain time, a lot of our era bands doing things. It’s a cycle that’s coming around. But it was kinda weird, I planned my trip back here via The Butteflies of Love gig in London. I was a huge fan, collectively and individually they’re just great guys.
What band would you want to see reunite?
Again, if it wasn’t just boring nostalgia… I did get to see the Smiths play once, but that’s never gonna happen. They wouldn’t even be in the same room as the rhythm section.
So is this it? For the foreseeable future or forever?
There’s no plans. Mark has a record coming out (The Possum in the Driveway, Mezzotint, Record Store Day), and then I don’t know. We’ll say there’s no plans for now.
So there’s not a period on the sentence, maybe an ellipses?
Yeah, I’ll go with that.
Miracle Legion is playing the Bowery Ballroom with Elvis Perkins on April 21st – Tickets HERE
And the Space in Hamden, CT on the 22nd – Tickets HERE
Article: Christopher Gilson
Cover Image: Kenne