Mike Dillon’s high-energy performances mirror his offstage life
In the next few months he will release three records and a DVD. After Dillon disembarked in Miami from a Jam Cruise, he took the time to call Tahoe Onstage before he flew to the West Coast to start a tour that included an intimate and wild show on Jan. 14 at the Divided Sky in Meyers.
It was Dillon’s third appearance in the upstairs venue.
Dillon, a percussionist and vibraphonist, moved from Texas to New Orleans almost 10 years ago. He performed on the cruise with several of his NOLA (New Orleans, LA) peers: Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Galactic, Johnny Vidacovich and Dumpstaphunk, along with several bluegrass bands and the British soul-jazz quartet the New Mastersounds.
Clearly, the definition of a jam band is quite broad. Dillon’s music fits in many spaces, too, including punk rock, jazz and experimental rock.
The bandleader also has collaborated with Les Claypool and Primus and played with Galactic’s drummer Stanton Moore in Garage A Trois. The Mike Dillon Band played twice at Tahoe in 2014 after releasing the album “Band of Outsiders.” Trombonist Carly Meyers and the other members have since moved onto other projects.
At the Divided Sky, Dillon was accompanied by a longtime musical friend Brad Houser, guitar and baritone sax, Nathan Lambertson, upright bass, and drummer Paul Thibodeaux. Houser played bass and co-founded Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.
Dillon said the DVD “Mike Dillon Band Live in New Orleans” has just been released.
On Feb. 26, the album “Dogs” will be released by Royal Potato Family. The band’s name is Nolatet, and it includes Dillon, Brian Haas, James Singleton and Vidacovich, the legendary New Orleans drummer.
“It’s a really elegant modern jazz record,” Dillon said.
On April 29, Dillon will release “Functioning Broke,” an album of Elliot Smith songs, and finally, in the fall, the Mike Dillon band will release “New Orleans Vikings,” also on the Royal Potato Family label.
Dillon learned of the death of one of his heroes, David Bowie, at the end of the cruise.
“Some artists transcend genres and times, like Thelonious Monk,” Dillon said. “He was asked, ‘What kind of music do you like?’ And he said, ‘I like good music.’ And Bowie made good music.
Dillon said one of his first band’s covered Bowie’s “Suffragette City.”
“He was multifaceted and an inspiration,” Dillon said. “I was always into punk rock. ‘Let’s Dance’ came out when I was in high school. He was one of the cool pop stars. He was a guy who got big but never lost his integrity.”