Mike Dillon. Photo by Bill Douthart.

Album Premiere: Mike Dillon, “Life Is Not A Football”

Mike Dillon’s signature blend of punk and jazz takes center stage on his new record Life Is Not A Football, a 14-track effort that we have the pleasure of premiering this afternoon. It’s official relase is slated for this Friday, April 21 via Royal Potato Family.

Cover art by Maurice Caldwell Jr.

Cover art by Maurice Caldwell Jr.

Recorded over two sessions in 2015, Life Is Not A Football finds the vibraphonist and percussionist extraordinaire digging into original material with the latest incarnation of his Mike Dillon Band—Nathan Lambertson (bass), Cliff Hines (guitar) and Paul Thibodeaux (drums)—plus a few special guests. The first session was engineered by Rick Nelson at Marigny Recording Studio in August 2015, while the second session was helmed by Robert Mercurio at Galactic’s Studio that September. Richard Maloney, who produced and mixed the whole record, did all the overdubs at Dillon’s house in New Orleans’ Musicians’ Village in October 2015.

Unsurprisingly, Life Is Not A Football dabbles in both the profane and the sublime, jumping between moments of high-octane madness and eccentric, restrained beauty. We could say more about record, but it’s probably best to leave that to Mike himself.

“This record was made at the peak of a heavy stretch of touring with the quartet,” Dillon explains. “Nathan Lambertson, Cliff Hines, Paul Thibodeaux and I formed this version of the Mike D Band in January 2015, toured and then made this record in August and September of the same year. With these top notch jazz musicians who all went to NOCA together, I was able to explore my love of hardcore and jazz and further develop the concept I had been working on since I released Battery Milk in 2006. Conceptually speaking we really tapped into our experience on the road and a lot of the record is just stories of our ‘Viking Shenanigans.’”

“Nathan Lambertson is probably one of the funniest and interesting humans I have become friends with,” Dillon continues. ”He grew up on punk rock and discovered Mingus and Dolphy. His grasp of both genres makes playing this music effortless. Not many people can handle my entire songbook. These four musicians can. I also collaborated afar with my longtime drumming buddy Matt Chamberlain. His tracks sound like a high school marching band on Adderall that discovered Crash Worship. We recorded with Richard Maloney, Robert Mercurio and Rick Nelson engineering the sessions. Three of the tracks were cut with my good buddy Doug Belote. His playing on Life Is Not A Football helped us convert the message of jock cops beating innocent people to death.”

“This is a punk-as-fuck record with lots of social commentary. These are songs about the acceptance of life, love and death,” Dillon adds. “At 50, you are either cool with the impermanent nature of the universe, or you start a life of serious meds and booze-infused denial. Songs like ‘Cremate Me,’ ‘Man Cunt’ and ‘Friendship’ deal with the happy little deaths that occur daily.”

Life Is Not a Football marks Dillon’s third release since 2016, coming 15 months after the release after Nolatet’s debut Dogs and roughly a year after his solo album Functioning Broke. As he noted above, the record features noteworthy guest appearances from drummer Matt Chamberlain (“Man Cunt,” “Pull Your Head Out”), percussionist Earl Harvin (“Life Is Not A Football”) and drummer Doug Belote (“Iggy In The Van,” “Life Is Not A Football).

In the weeks following his new album’s release, Dillon will crisscross New Orleans for an intense run of over 15 Jazz Fest gigs with a variety of projects, including Nolatet, Galactic, Greyboy Allstars, Stanton Moore Trio, James Singleton, the New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium and more. He will then hit the road for a series of dates with his Mike Dillon Band.

Mike Dillon Tour Dates:

Apr 21
Asheville Music Hall
w/ Mike Dillon Band
Asheville, NC

Apr 27
Tipitina’s
w/ Ryan Montbleau Band
New Orleans, LA

Apr 28
The Blue Nile
w/ Mike Dillon Band
New Orleans, LA

Apr 29
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
w/ Stanton Moore Trio
New Orleans, LA

Apr 29
Tipitina’s
w/ Galactic
New Orleans, LA

Apr 30
Chickie Wah Wah
w/ James Singleton
New Orleans, LA

May 01
One Eyed Jacks
w/ Organ Freeman, Mono Neon
New Orleans, LA

May 02
The Blue Nile Balcony Room
w/ NOLATET
New Orleans, LA

May 02
Siberia
w/ MIke Dillon
New Orleans, LA

May 02
One Eye Jacks
w/ The Whip
New Orleans, LA

May 03
The Howlin Wolf
w/ The Mike Dillon Band (Megalomaniacs Ball with featured guest Dean Ween, Stanton Moore and Jason Marsalis)
New Orleans, LA

May 04
The Music Box
W/ Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium
New Orleans, LA

May 05
Marigny Opera House
W/ NOLATET
New Orleans, LA

May 06
Howlin Wolf
w/ Anders Osborne
New Orleans, LA

May 07
Tipitina’s
w/ Greyboy Allstars
New Orleans, LA

May 07
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
w/ Galactic
New Orleans, LA

May 07
Chickie Wah Wah
w/ James Singleton
New Orleans, LA

May 10
One 2 One Bar
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Austin, TX

May 11
Sundown at Granada
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Dallas, TX

May 12
Vino’s
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Corpus Christi, TX

May 13
The Wurst Biergarten
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Lafayette, LA

May 17
The Pour House Music Hall
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Raleigh, NC

May 19
Outer Banks Brewing Station
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Kill Devil Hills, NC

May 20
VA Beach Funk Out
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Virginia Beach, VA

May 21
The Pour House Music Hall
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Raleigh, NC

Jul 01
Groovin with the Grove
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Philippi, WV

Jul 02
moe. down
w/ The Mike Dillon Band
Turin, NY

  • Jincy

    Absolutely fantastic album it is! I always participate all the concert of Mike Dillon. I enjoyed seeing them last time and I’ve been waiting for another opportunity to see them again. Hoping to see him/her/them when they come to The Pour House Music Hall- Raleigh on the 13th of October.

    https://seatnerds.com/things-to-do-in-raleigh-north-carolina/pour-house/

    Should be cool!

    Anyone else going?”