Mickey Pantelous' Athens blues

Half Greek half Danish, Mickey Pantelous has created during the past few years an anti-conventional artistic profile, ideally expressed/ reflected through his music. On the occasion of his new concerts with Dr. Albert Flipout's one CAΝ Band and his first album "Hangover", I give him a ring.

Where are you as we speak?
In the café-bar Waiting for Godot.

And is Godot going to be late?
…(laughing) I don’t know. The bar is in Kolonaki.

What do you do there?
I serve music and drinks.

Cool. And what do you play exactly in Café Alavastron?
I play my own songs. They are based on blues and extending to jazz and rock but now and then we make a mistake and you get a bit of reggae (laughing). I also play covers of Tom Waits, Guns‘n’Roses, Depeche Mode…

Your first album "Hangover" is performed by you and the band under the name of the "Chessmates". How long have you been a band?
We have been together as the Chessmates for two years and there’s five of us: Antonis Maratos from Mode Plagal plays bass, Nikos Papavranousis plays drums, Haris Lambrakis hammond and piano, Katerina Papagiannaki saxophone and I play guitar, harmonica and sing.

And you don’t do any conventional singing...
I distort my voice with a Rat pedal and sometimes I use a voice trumpet.

Like Tom Waits. Have you ever thought that people can say you’re imitating him?
It is clear that I’m influenced by him, I don’t deny it, but it is true that generally people have started calling me things such as “the Greek Tom Waits” or “Tom Waits’ bastard” and other crap , which is very flattering, but I also get not-that-obvious influences by others, like
Kurzweil, and from the rock scene by the Who, the Rolling Stones…Therefore, no matter how flattering this might be, I know it’s also a trap because I end up “being under the shadow of Tom Waits”. I’m not interested in being his “bastard”, I care to be Mickey Pantelous and to be treated as Mickey Pantelous.

You’re half Danish. Have you ever had to choose between having a career in Greece or another country?
A proposition was made to me in the past, when I took part in that European Blues Contest in Lycabettus. In brief it went like this: we’ll make you a record tomorrow, if you sing in Greek. My answer was “guys I’m not doing it”. There are artists who can do this in an excellent way, I express myself better in English – and I happen to think that the English language is part and parcel of rock music. During the last years of course, with globalization, you get to hear very good stuff in Spanish, French, etc, and rock music’s started to become multilingual, but I’ve grown up using the English expression, I was bilingual anyway. I’ve always thought “but why don’t they sing in English?” I took that for granted.

And this was the only reason for you to stay here?
No. The other reason is that I like Greece. Abroad, I might have had a very easy career, but Greece’s chaos is very healthy. The album I’m recording now though, will be sent abroad anyway. I’m not interested in releasing it here. There is a better audience for what I do abroad.

Talk to me a little about the album.
To me, making an album like this is a dream of a lifetime. I’m pretty satisfied with the result, it’s an honest album.

Besides you’ve made your presence noticeable before. You actively participated in the soundtrack of the movie “Tomorrow will be late…”
Together with Platon Andritsakis, Roula Tzimou and some of the guys from Mode Plagal.

Where do you live?
I used to live in Gyzi, then I moved to Pallini and sometime now I have moved back to the center. Exarhia.

Are you more into country blues or the city’s electric blues?

Ah, I’ve never thought about it like that. Well for the moment I think I like more city blues. I go back home at night and passing by Solonos I see the transvestites and the prostitutes and I dare to say that I like seeing people on the street and not getting the feeling of desolation.

Which was not the case in Pallini I suppose.
No. There I only saw toads and frogs (laughing).

Moreover in Athens you can play music on the street.
It is very pleasant. First of all, you get to make money! I am very pleased when I walk on the streets and I see people playing music. And I’ve seen both in Greece and in Europe excellent street musicians. I saw Bruce Springsteen play in Copenhagen once.

Have you played in other European cities?
Yes. From Brussels to Copenhagen.

And where did you make more money?
Strangely, It was about the same everywhere.

And what do people normally tell you?
They usually ask me if I’m from the States, funny cause I’ve never been there.

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
I’m in an amateur theatrical group in Holargos where we stage The Threepenny Opera and I play the introducer, and a fella from Mackieth’s gang.

Only this?
Some times I work as a driver, I work at the bar a couple of days in the week, and some times I work at building sites, like a couple of hours ago I finished carrying three tons of building material from the ground floor up to the sixth. I’m having a whiskey now, helps relax the muscles.

Excuse me… its two o’clock in the afternoon and you’re drinking whiskey?
It’s the second. Think I’ll get me something to eat, and hit the pillow. Got to be in shape for a rehearsal tonight…

Stay tuned for Mickey Pantelous and the One Can Band performances
November / December @ Alavastron Bar

Mickey Pantelous data
Official site
Mickey & Dr Albert Flipout's Adventures at YouTube
Article on Exodos guide magazine


Anonymous said...

Το mail μου είναι

Anonymous said...

Το mail μου είναι