Article – To Fathom Lane’s Michael Ferrier, Inspiration Comes Full Circle

Photo Credit Sara Montour

In the last year, it has become chillingly obvious with the loss of David Bowie, Prince, and most recently Chuck Berry, that our heroes don’t live forever. Blessed are we that their music does live on, and while we mourn their passing we have to celebrate those among us that carry on that legacy, inspiring us with their music and enriching our lives.

For every great musician, there is one that came before them as a sort of catalyst that helped to ignite the whole music making fire. One local musician who is unafraid to enthuse about the talents of those who have inspired him on his musical journey is Michael Ferrier of Fathom Lane.

Fathom Lane’s third record Asilomar will be released on June 9th of this year. Michael Ferrier takes the stage with Fathom Lane this weekend at the Cedar Cultural Center to support The Twilight Hours, who are led by the founders of the late great band Trip Shakespeare: Matt Wilson and John Munson. What follows are Ferrier’s own words about his inspiration coming full circle.

“Growing up a classic rock kid in the ’80s was kind of awkward. It felt like a secret society back in those days before the advent of even the idea of the internet. The early rock masters hadn’t yet been pummeled to death by Classic Rock MOR radio, and their early records still felt so exciting to discover and collect.

But the contemporary ’80s musical landscape was pretty bleak if you cherished artfully written songs, poetic lyricism and . . . well . . . GUITARS. And most of the guitar-abusing punk bands I was into at the time openly disdained classic rock as a matter of honor.

Enter Trip Shakespeare. I distinctly remember the first time I heard them, as if like a sirens call across the grounds of Harriet Island’s Riverfest in the late ’80s. I think the headliner that year was Thompson Twins, if that gives you an idea of what the festival was like. But playing a late set on a side stage was Trip Shakespeare, and it was a revelation.

Their guitar style was part Jimi Hendrix, part George Harrison, part Marx-Brothers’ -style slapstick. Their three part harmonies had a sort of hammy swagger, but were stunning in their consonance. Melodies were playful and complex yet somehow classic. There was a sense of DRAMA. Their lyrics gave a keenly developed sense of a Midwestern Mysticism or mythology of sorts. The kind of mythology usually reserved for other “cooler” places. Then, suddenly, the lead singer (with Apollonian locks tumbling sweaty over open-shirted sparkling love beads) went into a sort of weirdly sad rap/stand up comedy routine regarding getting drunksmacked around by bridesmaids at a wedding. And at the center of it all was their drummer. Was she . . . STANDING? No wonder the groove was so infectious, the drummer literally DANCED the beat all night long.

HUH? How did that all somehow work? They managed to pull together all of these threads of things that I loved, yet made it sound so much their own. They didn’t sound like their heroes, they didn’t sound like ANYONE else.

That was so inspiring, and something I try to do with Fathom Lane. We don’t want to fit to a genre, or sound like our idols, we want to sound just like US.

Things have come full circle, I ended up opening for Trip Shakespeare a couple of times in college. And now John Munson, that same bassist who blew me away that night on Harriet Island in the ’80s and helped me set a course to my own life in music is a guest performer on our upcoming record Asilomar on the track “Zero”.

With The Twilight Hours, I see Matt and John continuing on that journey. Their music still doesn’t sound like anyone else, in the best possible way. The Midwestern Mysticism is still alive and well, just witness the Queen of Tomorrow and the Sioux City Swinger for evidence. The harmonies are still sublime, and the guitars have got the devil horns.”

See Fathom Lane, The Counterfactuals & The Twilight Hours this Saturday the 25th of March at The Cedar Cultural Center:

By Rebecca Marx