Mike Cooley (musician)

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Mike Cooley
Mike Cooley 1.JPG
Background information
OriginTuscumbia, Alabama
Years active1985–present
LabelsATO Records

John Michael Cooley (born September 14, 1966) is an American songwriter, singer, and guitarist from Tuscumbia, Alabama, near Muscle Shoals.[1] He is a member of the band Drive-By Truckers.


Cooley received his first guitar at age 8, spending time with a local bluegrass musician to pick up the instrument.[2] In 1985, he formed the punk-influenced band Adam's House Cat with Patterson Hood. The band was chosen as a top ten Best Unsigned Band by a Musician contest in the late 1980s. After the end of Adam's House Cat, Cooley and Hood performed as a duo under the name "Virgil Kane." While living in Auburn, Alabama they started a new band, "Horsepussy," before splitting for a few years. It was during this split that Hood moved to Athens, Georgia and began forming what would become Drive-By Truckers with the intent of luring Cooley back into the fold.[3]

With the Drive-by Truckers[edit]

Hood and Cooley formed Drive-By Truckers in 1996. Cooley contributed one song to their debut record Gangstabilly and three songs to the follow-up, Pizza Deliverance. Cooley wrote five songs for the breakout double album Southern Rock Opera, which received a four star rating from Rolling Stone Magazine.[4] Cooley added four songs to the Truckers' next two records Decoration Day and The Dirty South, including his signature song "Carl Perkins' Cadillac". He wrote two songs for the follow-up A Blessing and a Curse and seven for Brighter Than Creation's Dark. He has written three songs for each of the Truckers' records Go-Go Boots and The Big To Do and six songs for their 2014 release English Oceans.

Solo career[edit]

In 2013, Cooley released his first solo effort The Fool on Every Corner, a live album recorded at Atlanta's The EARL.

On June 15, 2014, Cooley, Patterson Hood, and Jason Isbell performed at a benefit concert in Florence, Alabama's Shoals Theater. The live acoustic concert was released as an album Mike Cooley Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell Live at the Shoals Theater on November 6, 2020.[5]

Cooley and Hood occasionally perform as an acoustic duo under the moniker, Dimmer Twins.[6]

On May 22, 2021, he performed at a benefit concert in Brookwood, Alabama in support of striking workers during the 2021 Warrior Met Coal strike.[7]

Cooley lives in Hoover, Alabama with his wife and children.[8]

Drive-By Truckers contributions[edit]

Year Album Song
2022 Welcome 2 Club XIII "Maria's Awful Disclosures"
"Every Single Storied Flameout"
2020 The New OK "Sarah's Flame"
2020 The Unraveling "Slow Ride Argument"
"Grievance Merchants"
2016 American Band "Ramon Casiano"
"Surrender Under Protest"
"Filthy and Fried"
"Kinky Hypocrite"
"Once They Banned Imagine"
2014 English Oceans "Shit Shots Count"
"Primer Coat"
"Made Up English Oceans"
"Hearing Jimmy Loud"
"Natural Light"
"First Air of Autumn"
2011 Go-Go Boots "Cartoon Gold"
"The Weakest Man"
2010 The Big To Do "Birthday Boy"
"Get Downtown"
"Eyes Like Glue"
2008 Brighter Than Creation's Dark "3 Dimes Down"
"Perfect Timing"
"Self Destructive Zones"
"Lisa's Birthday"
"Checkout Time in Vegas"
"A Ghost to Most"
2006 A Blessing and a Curse "Gravity's Gone"
"Space City"
2004 The Dirty South "Where the Devil Don't Stay"
"Carl Perkins' Cadillac"
"Daddy's Cup"
2003 Decoration Day "Marry Me"
"Sounds Better in the Song"
"When the Pin Hits the Shell"
"Loaded Gun in the Closet"
2001 Southern Rock Opera "72 (This Highway's Mean)"
"Guitar Man Upstairs"
"Zip City"
"Women Without Whiskey"
"Shut Up and Get on the Plane"
2001 Pizza Deliverance "Uncle Frank"
"One of These Days"
"Love Like This"
1998 Gangstabilly "Panties in Your Purse"


Live Albums
  • The Fool on Every Corner (2013)


  1. ^ AL.com blog
  2. ^ "12 Questions with Mike Cooley". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  3. ^ News
  4. ^ "Drive-By Truckers: Southern Rock Opera : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". www.rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on February 22, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  5. ^ "Live at the Shoals Theater".
  6. ^ "Dimmer Twins".
  7. ^ Kelly, Kim (May 19, 2021). "'Alabama Strike Fest' Planned to Help Striking Coal Miners". Rolling Stone. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 31, 2021.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Personal challenge: Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers readies for solo shows at Birmingham's WorkPlay (Video)". December 16, 2011.

External links[edit]