Music, Print, Reviews January 9, 2020

Album Review: Mike Shamrock – “Not I” Said The Lil’ Mouse

by Kevin Johnston

Mike Shamrock is the on-stage moniker for Mike Robertson, a leader in one of Northern Colorado’s most well loved, yet under-celebrated categories: cover bands. The number of tribute acts in Colorado alone has grown significantly in the past handful of years, with live bands reenacting everything from Devo to Slipknot.

Currently hailing from Fort Collins, Shamrock is a 90’s heavy metal guitarist at heart, responsible for bringing the music of The Cult, Candlebox, The Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine and more to Colorado stages via a slew of successful tribute bands.

Mike Shamrock’s upcoming full-length record includes original music and covers from his catalogue of tribute acts in Northern Colorado.

And though shredding the work of the greats is awesome for audience and performer alike, what happens when a musician who makes his living playing covers wants to perform, let alone release original material? The answer lies in compromise.

Six instrumental, electric guitar-based tunes and 4 previously released tracks from Shamrock’s band called 20XIII (pronounced “Twenty Thirteen”) flesh out the majority of Not I Said The Lil’ Mouse, including “My Ending” featuring Amy Morgan of Post Paradise on cello. The track “Speak” is a highlight, fitting somewhere between rap rock of Zack De la rocha and the heavy yowls of Chris Cornell with impressive guitarmony ripping and fast-break double kick drums.

Shamrock on stage at Hodi’s Half Note where “Not I” Said The Lil’ Mouse will be released January 25.

Shamrock includes three cover tunes on the release: “Up The Beach” by Jane’s Addiction, “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys and “Take The Power Back” by Rage Against the Machine. This may seem like an odd move to put on an original release, but consider #1 – how heavy metal guitar is as much a scholastic discipline as Jazz has historically been, and #2 – how much a part of Shamrock’s shreddy identity these covers are. Jazz records nearly always include the work of other artists, so why can’t hard rock?

On Saturday, January 25, Mike Shamrock releases “Not I” Said The Lil’ Mouse at Hodi’s Halfnote in Fort Collins with performances by his original band 20XIII and Sabotage, his tribute to The Beastie Boys.