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Basically a blues piano player

A rare interview with Mickey Lee Soule. This was done in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, and covers most of Mickey’s career — from starting to learn the piano at the age of 6, to his current at the time projects, and everything in between.

The first album with Elf was produced by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover. How did Roger get involved with the band?

Elf had a manager who live in Connecticut and he’d book us a few gigs. He got a position with a major talent agency in New York. When he went there it turned out that this agency was booking Deep Purple. Meanwhile our manager had got us an audition with Clive Davis of Columbia Records and it just turned out that Roger and Ian Paice just happened to be in the office so our manager asked if they’d like to go along and see our band. So, they came along. We had no idea this was going to happen until we got to the audition place and Clive Davis came out with a few people and sat down in front of us. We did a few songs. I’m not sure what Clive Davis made of us but they did know who Deep Purple were and Roger and Ian really liked us. They joked about it because when we first walked out, everybody was so short, that they asked if we were a circus act. After we played, they thought it was great. From that audition we got the record deal and both Roger and Ian wanted to produce it. Within a couple of weeks we were in Atlanta, Georgia in the studio recording the album. We recorded the album in a couple of days.

Read more in Metal Express Radio.

Thanks to Uwe Hornung for the heads-up.

9 Comments to “Basically a blues piano player”:

  1. 1
    Andrew Jackson says:

    Good interview. Further evidence that IGB was a mad band. Really like “I’m Alright Now” song on Mickey’s website.

  2. 2
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I really like Mickey as a musician, next to Ronnie’s voice his piano playing made Elf special, he was like a Billy Joel trapped in a hard rock outfit! 😎

    Here’s the song he mentions writing with Roger (you could very well imagine Roger singing it!), he’s touchingly turned it into a commemoration of musicians he knew/played with:


    Some other songs mentioned in the pleasantly in depth interview, Mickey is as much a “singer” as Tony Ashton, Randy Newman, Roger Waters or Colin Towns, but I like that kinda “talking over the music”:






    And, lest we (or he!) forget(s), his Butterfly Ball performance, at 58:22 (just after Big Ian received his standing ovation and got a hug from Jon Lord):


    People always deride the Butterfly Ball live performance for the artsy, modern theater pantomime work, but I find it charming, very much of its time and “really out there!” – popping a few pills probably helps though in thorough appreciation. 💊😵

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Thanks Uwe for that Butterfly Ball concert. John Lawton RIP. So many wonderful musicians gone in the last few years & Uriah Heep in particular. A wonderful song is Little Chalk Blue. I do wonder why the extra singers are there though. Not their fault of course, but talk about over doing the vocals in certain songs. My only slight critique though & just for the record I always wondered why Pink Floyd had them as well at times. It doesn’t suit rock music to my ears, never has. I will continue to watch the remaining BB concert later today. I haven’t ever watched that. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It‘s criminal how that concert (audio or video) has never been released legally in any form (I think there was a US origin VHS of it once, but that was legally fishy). Roger initiated a crowd funding/pledge project for it some years ago which lamentably failed (I participated, the rest of you feel guilty 😞 in all eternity!). Roger has stated in an interview many years ago that sorting out the rights is a nightmare due to the participation of so many musicians plus the orchestra etc.

    Ear Music, are you listening?! ☝️🧐

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I wish DP would start using background chicks, rock image-(in)appropriate or not! It would give Big Ian the chance to pace himself more and just set highlights in every song – to a man turning 80 soon that would be enough for me. He doesn’t have to prove endurance to me, I look for those little moments of magic.

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    The live concert footage is what I was keen to watch & knowing Dio wasn’t there was always going to be interesting as to who sang those songs. I have always favoured the second half of BB, better songs & John Lawton & Dio are wonderful on those compositions. Gillan singing that rather quiet song is ok, but it doesn’t suit him like it did with Dio. And the less said about Twiggy the better, not that she was bad at all, but couldn’t they find someone more suited to the role? That dastardly Blackmore again, laying down the law in regards to Dio being able to perform at that concert. Malicious intent or were Rainbow busy at that time? Vincent Price is worth the narration as always, classic indeed. Cheers

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    DP having a backup vocalist(s), I don’t know about that, I know that you mean though. Ian Anderson had a male co lead vocalist about 10 years or so ago. Singing the harder rock songs in the Ian Anderson band. It sounded much better than Anderson trying to sing. Trouble is it didn’t last long from my memory of it. Regarding backup singers, I like how the two McKinley sisters in the Paice, Ashton & Lord live concert sing. Not over the top at all, keeping everything together as poor ole Tony is off his rocker & rather paranoid about the crowd or size of the venue or something. Bernie Marsden thankfully also helps out. It is quite amusing in a way watching Ashton getting about & tinkling the ivories occasionally & not doing a lot at times, all good fun. With certain backup vocalists it is the ‘gospel’ style singing I loathe with some bands, too loud & too repetitive, repeating the vocal line over & over that has just been delivered in many instances. Steely Dan also have them getting the job done very well most of the time. Cheers.

  8. 8
    stoffer says:

    I’m all for backup vocals, never gave it much thought but think of the possibilities for a revamped setlist!! I wouldn’t mind hearing Child In Time with IG singing the parts in his range and someone else handling the screaming ; )

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Amen. These days Big Ian can happily remain a stylist, he doesn’t need to be an athlete.

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