Long Shadows in the Afternoon
Michael Munnik was always going to be a novelist. But at a car show in Mill Bay, British Columbia in 1994, his best friend stuck a branch in the spokes of that bicycle. He suggested they start a grunge band - Ira could play the bass, Mike could play the guitar. For six months, they wrote pages and pages of lyrics. Then they got their instruments and learned how to play them. Threw those lyrics away and started writing songs. Songs became a far more comfortable medium for Michael's expression - it was like sticking a novel in a pan and simmering it until only the best elements of the story were left, then singing it to other people and watching them respond right away. Since then, he's put the grunge... not exactly behind him, but it shares space with folk, roots, country and whatever else comes to mind. He left the West Coast for Ottawa, Ontario, where he found a new musical community and new stages to play on. He finished a degree in journalism and English literature, married a lovely girl and moved to Scotland for a year. Music stalled a bit there - the year was mostly about good pints, long conversations with theology students and preparing cappuccinos for Kate Middleton, who may become the future Queen of England. Back in Ottawa, Michael works with CBC Radio, which makes him insanely happy. He brought a bouzouki back from Scotland and managed to fill a conveniently emptied hole in Celt-punk sextet Siobhan. For his troubles, he's played shows, drunk local beer and driven and crashed vans (not in that order) in Finland, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. And through it all, he keeps writing and performing his own material. Michael Munnik's music centres on his cheap acoustic guitar - the same one he used to patch through a distortion pedal and play drop-d punk tunes on all those years ago in Nanaimo. The songs follow the time-justified patterns of strumming and singing. He draws inspiration from the places he has walked and lived - the coast of British Columbia, an ancient pilgrim trail in Spain, or a second-floor apartment looking onto rainy Bronson Avenue. He brings to his tunes the poet's love of beauty, the journalist's attention to the telling detail, the theologian's continual struggle to describe the ineffable. Here's what some other people have said about his music: 'A voice soaked in honey, followed by a Colombian coffee chaser.' - The Charlatan 'The music is moving and intense, written in a traditional singer-songwriter style reminiscent of Stephen Fearing, with evident Dave Matthews, Paul Simon and Pearl Jam influences.' - The Centretown Buzz.