|Birth name||Michael A. Viola|
|Born||September 26, 1966|
|Origin||Stoughton, Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, pop rock, power pop, folk rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, bass|
|Labels||Blue Thumb/MCA (1996)
Good Morning Monkey (2005–present), Lojinx
|Associated acts||L.E.O., The Major Labels, Mandy Moore, Torres, Fountains of Wayne, Kelly Jones, The Figgs, Ryan Adams|
Michael "Mike" Viola (born September 26, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter best known as singer, songwriter and "musical architect" of a team he called the "Candy Butchers", a pop-rock band from New York City that recorded three critically acclaimed albums for Sony. A native of Stoughton, Massachusetts, Mike began his musical career in the 1980s. No recordings of his earliest musical work, however, were known to have been officially released as of September 2009. His biggest musical influences include The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Elton John, Big Star, Squeeze (band), Crowded House, Cheap Trick, XTC and Jellyfish (band).
The success of the Candy Butchers in the 1990s led to multiple appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Last Call with Carson Daly. It also found the group touring alongside the likes of Ron Sexsmith, They Might Be Giants, Robyn Hitchcock, Semisonic, Sparklehorse, Barenaked Ladies, and Ivy.
Viola simultaneously began a career in film work as the co-producer and lead singer of the Oscar-nominated title track from Tom Hanks's That Thing You Do!. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a film collaboration between Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow that starred John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox, featured nearly a dozen songs written by Viola.
Viola joined the ranks of "indie," or independent-record-label artists in 2005 when he released an album of new songs on his own label, Good Morning Monkey Records. Recorded live at Largo in L.A., Just Before Dark showcased Viola's abilities as a live performer. Once made available on his official website, the album, released as a long-playing vinyl album with a CD copy included, sold out in three months.
His album, Lurch, employed classic pop elements, and incorporated storybook imagery, such as Viola’s fans had come to expect by this time in his career. Lurch was also released internationally, with such selections as “Maybe, Maybe Not” (the first selection on the album) and “So Much Better” (the first single Viola released from the album) receiving radio airplay in Denmark. "So Much Better" was a Danish chart selection.
After signing a contract with EMI Music Publishing for worldwide distribution of his own material, Viola remained a songwriter and/or producer on a multitude of projects. His work could be heard on Amanda Leigh, the most recent of Mandy Moore's albums as of September 2009. In addition to being Moore's musical director, Viola has collaborated with Dan Wilson, Inara George, Tim Christensen, Dan Bern, Steve McEwan, Kelly Jones, Ryan Adams, Drake Bell, Bleu, Adam Schlesinger, John C. Reilly, Mary Wood, Sam Bisbee, The Gentlemen, John Wesley Harding, Ben Romans, and Noam Weinstein during this period.
In 2010, he joined the 9th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers.
In 2012 Viola recorded a version of Andrew Gold's "Lonely Boy" for a fund raising cd titled "Super Hits Of The Seventies" for radio station WFMU. He also recorded a cover of The Silver Beatles' version of "Ain't She Sweet" for the pilot of TV show Bunheads.
Candy Butchers (aka "Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers") was formed in the 1990s in Boston, Massachusetts by Viola. Viola moved to New York City and began appearing as an acoustic duo with his long-time friend Todd Foulsham. Candy Butchers were a vehicle for Mike's songwriting and went through various incarnations.
Viola, along with friend Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, co-produced the title track for Tom Hanks's 1996 movie That Thing You Do! The selection received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Viola sang lead on the track, and as the accepted singing voice of Johnathon Schaech's character, Jimmy, also sang on other tracks in the film, such as "Little Wild One" and "All My Only Dreams."
For the 2007 Jake Kasdan/Judd Apatow film, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Viola wrote or co-wrote "A Life Without You (Is No Life At All)," "Darling," "(I Hate You) Big Daddy," "Dear Mr. President," "Beautiful Ride," "Sir Ringe The Marshmallow Elephant," and "Let Me Hold You Little Man." Viola served as musical director on a promotional tour for the film in December 2007, with John C. Reilly acting out his fictional character of Dewey Cox.
Viola contributed songwriting for Russell Brand's character Aldous Snow in the movie Get Him to the Greek, including "African Child," "The Clap," "I Am Jesus," "Searching For a Father in America," "Little Bird," "Furry Walls."
- Live at La Bonbonniere (1996)
- Candy Butchers aka "The Blue Thumb Album" (1996)
- Falling into Place (1999)
- Let's Get Serious (1999)
- Let's Get Christmas EP (1999)
- Temple of Static (2001)
- Play with Your Head (2002)
- Hang On Mike (2004)
- Just Before Dark (2005)
- Making Up Time Candy Butchers Rarities (2006)
- Lurch (2007)
- Melon EP'' (2010)
- Electro De Perfecto (2011)
- Acousto De Perfecto (2012)
- GHOUL (2013)
- Pure McCartney (2013)
Artists produced by Mike Viola
- Mandy Moore "Amanda Leigh"
- Rachael Yamagata
- Noam Weinstein "Clocked"
- Justin Gaston "Pineville"
- Ned Brower "Great To Say Hello"
- Kelly Jones "SheBang"
- Peter Block "Snow People"
- Marissa Levy "63 Songs About Joe"
- Ryan Adams "Ryan Adams"
Alongside Jellyfish's Andy Sturmer, Chicago's Jason Scheff and the Hanson Brothers Band, Viola collaborated with Bleu, the leader of L.E.O., a team that paid tribute to the Electric Light Orchestra. They released a single album, Alpacas Orgling, in 2006.
The Major Labels
Viola, Bleu, and Ducky Carlisle joined forces to form a power-pop supergroup which they called The Major Labels, self-releasing the album Aquavia in July 2008. Discussions promptly got under way for the album's release on and distribution by a major label in 2009, which was to include bonus material.
His known guests on stage
As of September 2009, Viola was known to host, and/or make guest appearances in, concerts given by a number of independent pop-rock musicians, all of whom he also considered his friends. These included Bleu, John Wesley Harding, Marshall Crenshaw, Jed Parish, Jim Boggia, The Brilliant Mistakes, The Click Five, Oranjuly, Mono Puff (They Might Be Giants's John Flansburgh side-project), Fountains of Wayne, the Finn Brothers, Tracy Bonham, Mandy Moore, and Tribe's Janet LaValley.
- Official website
- MySpace music page
- EMI Music Publishing
- Audio interview with Mike Viola on the Sodajerker On Songwriting podcast