Be sure to catch some great rock, blues and country tunes at The Mike Osborn Band’s District Theater performance on Friday, Aug. 12.
“I just love to blend those three styles together,” Mike Osborn says. “Stevie Ray Vaughan was a huge influence, Gary Moore also, at least as huge of an influence as Stevie. Buddy Guy and Alan (BB Chung King) Mirikitani, who I had the great fortune of meeting. He produced my latest CD at his studio in Burbank, CA.”
The San Jose-based band, also known as MOB, currently consists of Mike Osborn (Guitar, Vocals), Ric Williams (Drums), and Chris Mattheos (Bass). They typically meet once a week to work on new material.
Osborn started playing music when he took his first guitar lesson at age 13.
“I was chasing this girl I liked and she was taking a guitar class in school,” Osborn says. “I never got the girl, but I kept the guitar. By the time I was 16 I was in a working band as a lead guitarist.”
Osborn sat down with us to talk about his history with music, upcoming MOB shows, and what music means to him.
SOUTH VALLEY: What’s the story behind the Mike Osborn Band?
Mike Osborn: I book as Mike Osborn Band or MOB. The backing musicians change from time to time, but I still deliver the same show. It seemed to make more sense to bill it this way. Plus most of my heroes in the business did it that way, like Gary Moore and Buddy Guy to name a couple.
I picked a guitar back up almost 10 years ago now. Had stopped playing for many years to raise my kids. Never really planned to play again, to be honest. But a severe back injury caused me to change my plans and I (reluctantly at the time) went back into music. Had to relearn how to play and everything. It was really starting all over again, but being forced to hit the ground running. Looking back it’s kind of miraculous that I survived, but it was a hard restart and I had some tough early years. Little by little I got better and better at it and gained more and more ground. Now I have two albums out, three major product endorsements, hundreds of radio stations around the world playing my music and tens of thousands of music downloads to my credit—and no signs of slowing down. It’s a real underdog story and it shows that life isn’t over after 40 and that people can really accomplish things if they put their mind to it, try their best, and just ignore the odds and the naysayers.
What are you up to currently?
I’m working on [getting] funding for live concert footage and a short movie about my life. We are performing concerts and also play a lot of festivals and wineries, plus I do tons of solo acoustic work. We are podcasting most of the concert gigs and working on building bigger audiences in foreign markets to prep for tours there. For the here and now, writing new songs and focusing on putting on the best show possible for the folks that pay their hard earned money to come and see us. My main mission is to connect with everyone and to make sure they don’t regret coming to a MOB show.
What upcoming shows are you playing?
Big concert show in Gilroy on Aug. 12 at a super great venue in downtown called The District Theater. We have a link up for pre-purchasing tickets (saves you $5 off a $15 door price). This room is one of my favorites to play. Great acoustics, great sound and light systems, and that oh so cool entrance photo op they have set up. It’s like a red carpet experience. And we are joined on the bill by a magnificent band based out of Hollister called “Moondance.”We are really hoping the public and our core fan base there will come out in force and support us. We try to make these shows as fun as possible for everyone, and it truly does play a big part in keeping local music and musicians alive. Could you possibly imagine a world without music? That sounds boring to me.
What’s been your best show? What about the worst?
These kinds of questions are always so hard for me to answer. So many good shows. Occasionally there’s a show that isn’t as good as I’d like, but I wouldn’t call them bad. It’s part of the deal and the audience always seems so enthusiastic at those as well. What’s bad in my head, I think, is usually not as bad as I think. We just played the Garlic Festival and that was really great, lots of great people there and lots of good connecting going on. That’s what I base good or bad on the most.
What does music mean to you? Do you see it as an art? A hobby? Tradition?
Well it’s definitely art and expression. It’s a magnificent medium to bring people together and connect. Not a hobby, it’s my full time career. I respect the traditions, but I always strive to create something new so, musically, I’m not a traditionalist. It’s something that is very instinctive and natural to me. I can just do it, often times before I even know what I’m doing. Feels like magic sometimes, like I can’t even believe what’s happening and how it’s happening.
The Mike Osborn Band plays Friday, Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. at the District Theater at 7430 Monterey Street in Gilroy. Tickets are $10 in advance. To purchase tickets and for more information on the Mike Osborn Band, visit michaelosbornmusic.net/Calendar.htm or find them on Facebook.
My main mission is to connect with everyone and to make sure they don’t regret coming to a MOB show.