Mike Fishkin (MF) brings forth a refreshingly earnest voice to the airwaves, as his idobi radio show, “Gone Fishkin” champions playing independent bands and provides listeners with a platform to discover new artists. Through Mike’s beloved memories of his father and his fundamentality in standing by Atalie’s Hope, a non-profit foundation that helps children cope with the devastation of losing a loved one to cancer, you can sense his affable, kind-hearted character. Not only is he the voice that interviews your favorite pop-punk bands, but he embodies a voice that raises awareness for issues that are tragically overlooked. Mike chats with Local Wolves on the harmonious relationship between skating and pop punk, waiting to become a stand-in guitarist for State Champs, and a Jimmy Eat World song that activates his tear ducts.
You interview a lot of upcoming bands and independent musicians on your idobi radio show, “Gone Fishkin.” Is it important for your radio to become a dual platform for people discovering new music and for indie artists to finally get some radio play?
MF — 100% important for both! I get tweets from time to time from people saying they saw a band they heard on my show live or heard them on a TV show/in a store and it’s cool to know I introduced them to that band. I like giving every band a chance because I know how hard it is trying to promote anything online lately. Back in the day it was so much easier with MySpace now I think everyone’s trying to figure out the newest/most affordable way to get their music out there.
In the film “Almost Famous”, Lester Bang’s character tells protégé William Miller that in the world of music you must “be honest and unmerciful,” do you think this statement is true when it comes to displaying your thoughts on a certain artist’s project?
MF — You definitely need to be honest but unmerciful has a weird tone to it. It makes you seem like you can’t give anyone a break, which would suck. There’s been times (usually once a day) I’ve messed up and people have always been cool about it and that’s the mentality I have. What’s the point of getting all pissed if someone doesn’t call in on time? There’s always another time they can call in. When it comes to showing mercy for people just picture yourself as the person who you’re not wanting to show mercy for and how you’d want to be treated.
As an individual who is knowledgeable about music, people often hold you to this standard of being incapable of having One Direction on your Spotify playlists, do you have any artists that you’d consider guilty pleasures?
MF — I have a “Fish’s Favorite One Direction Songs” playlist privately (hopefully private still) on my Spotify which is basically all their songs minus maybe five. They’re my personal favorite “boy band”! I don’t consider any music I listen to a guilty pleasure because I try to listen to everything. My biggest pet peeve is when someone won’t listen to something because it’s “too mainstream” or “not the genre I like”.
Your dad was a major part of your life and one of the first people who introduced you to the world of music, do you recall the first song you and your dad bonded over? And how has your dad’s influence in your life allowed you to step into the music scene?
MF — That’s a good question! I can’t remember the first song we really bonded over but one of the first memories I have with listening to a song with my Dad that my Mom wasn’t too stoked on was when Napster was first out my Dad downloaded and kept playing “Fuck The Police” by NWA and him telling me how him and his partner used to blast it while undercover in Harlem. Don’t think we technically bonded over it but that was one of the first times I heard a song uncensored. He also used to always play everything from The Jersey Boys soundtrack to Rat Pack music to The Eminem Show to The Who to anything I listened to for the most part and tell me what bands influenced them. I’m like him where I listen to anything that sounds good. For the amount of music he listened to he was by far one of the least musically inclined people I’ve ever met though (laughs). By my Dad showing me all this music it made me appreciate all styles of music and open up my eyes to a little bit of everything.
Can you explain to me what the organization Atalie’s Hope means to you? How can people give back to this cause, which allows them to embark on the fight against cancer?
MF — Atalie’s Hope was the organization that helped us set up our first annual ‘Stu Fishkin Fundraiser’ and it’s more so helping families after they lose a loved one. They help give money to grievance groups and helps the children cope with the devastation of losing a parents cause it definitely sucks.
You tend to cover a lot of punk bands we’d see at Warped Tour, have you noticed that the skate scene and pop punk music seem to go hand-in-hand? How do you feel about the current state of pop-punk music?
MF — I always think of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack when I think of skating and that soundtrack had some of the best punk songs at the time but any kind of music can work for skating. It’s not so much a style of music that goes hand and hand with something it’s more so the person’s personal style. It’s like dancing. Any kind of music could be danced to but each style of music will produce a different style of dancing, same with skating. I feel like pop-punk is finally coming back around to my personal favorite style. Very melodic, clean vocals, and catchy songs. Newer bands like With Confidence, State Champs, Waterparks and Giants At Large (and a ton of others too) are capturing that perfectly. I’m very excited bands like Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Blink 182 and Sum 41 are still making new music that rules and really captures that nostalgic feeling.
Is there one particular band that makes you relive the dark emo ages that pretty much everyone has gone through?
MF — To be honest I think I was the happiest emo kid there was! I used to wear only black t-shirts and had those awful bangs that make you want to untag all your old Facebook pics because they’re embarrassing but I was never like super duper emo. It was hard to be an emo kid when I was so happy all the time. There’s only a couple of songs that make me feel super emo every time I hear them and I usually shed a tear or two… “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World and “Lullaby” by LIT.
A lot of times when we head to punk shows, everyone seems to have their phones out documenting every second of a performance, do you believe it’s mandatory that people should put their phone down, bask in the music, and open up the mosh pit?
MF — There’s upsides and downsides to it in my opinion. I’ll never understand the artists who get all bent out of shape about it because the people paid to be there, they should be able to do what they want. Also it͛s free promotion! Everyone who’s taking a Snapchat, posting an Instagram, tweet, Facebook status or whatever is showing their friends/followers the band and I’ve definitely started listening to bands because of something like that. Do I miss seeing circle pits/mosh pits/crowd surfers? Yeah it was always cool to see, sometimes it was annoying just like a phone blocking your view but you can always walk somewhere else to get a better view. The downside is really just blocking people’s views, so if you’re at a show and want to take your phone out, do it but don’t block anyone’s view!
You recently moved out to the city of organic eaters, crystal healers, and the entertainment capital of the world, aka Los Angeles. How has Los Angeles inspired you to further immerse yourself in the music industry?
MF — One of the biggest things moving out to Los Angeles showed me is everyone in the entertainment industry is the same. It was very intimidating for the first month going to parties and industry events at bars because I never knew what level of professionalism I had to uphold. I lived on Long Island for 23 years and always went into New York City for shows and bars and would run into industry people but never that many so being around them all the time was a very new thing for me. Being here made me love the music industry even more because everyone just loves music and no one is super uptight and always down to help each other out.
Where do you hope to see “Gone Fishkin” in about three years from now? Any dream band you’d love to co-host the show with?
MF — I hope to see Gone Fishkin continue to grow more and more! I hope some of the smaller bands I had on in the last three years become the bigger bands I͛m having on. I hope to be having just as much if not more fun with my show still because in three years Gone Fishkin will be six which is crazy to think! I’d love to have Good Charlotte or Brand New in to co-host, hopefully one day!
I heard that you headed out to Warped Tour Pomona this year, what was your favorite set? And who do you hope to see on next year’s lineup?
MF — I did the first four days of Warped this year for idobi Warped Radio, the Long Island date and Pomona so choosing a favorite set overall is a hard one being I got to see almost everyone. I’ll give the long answer of The Maine, State Champs, Waterparks, Set It Off, With Confidence, ROAM, Broadside, The Summer Set, Less Than Jake, Yellowcard, and everyone killed it. This year was my favorite lineup ever. I hope to see Giants At Large, Sleep On It, and maybe a rapper or two on it next year.
Out of all the interviews you’ve done throughout the years, is there any monumental interview that would make it onto your career highlights reel?
MF — There are definitely a couple of interviews where I listen back and I LOVE to listen to as a fan. Typically any interview I do with John O’Callaghan from The Maine becomes a new favorite of mine because he is one of the coolest, realest dudes out there and very easy to talk to. But a couple of other ones I LOVE are my interviews with Acceptance and Envy On The Coast, both of which were within weeks of them announcing their comebacks. Also interviews with bands I’ve known for awhile are awesome because it͛s basically us bantering back and forth like we would except it gets played on my show and everyone gets to witness it first hand.
Did you have a breakthrough moment when you realized that you wanted to become a radio host and interview musicians?
MF — I think after my first run on Warped two years ago for idobi Warped Radio and covering the first APMAs in Cleveland that same summer I was like ‘This could actually be more than a hobby and I’m getting to work with the people I’ve looked up to’.
In a recent interview you did, you stated that “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte drove you to buy a guitar and play in small high school bands, would you ever like to revisit playing guitar in a band? Who knows maybe you can become a stand-in guitarist for your friends in State Champs?
MF — I always mess around playing guitar and record stuff on GarageBand but I don’t think I could ever commit to being on a band again. Maybe for fun but not like focus all my time and attention to it unfortunately. If I ever learn how to sing or really learn how to edit vocals to make me sound decent I’ll put up some songs on SoundCloud or something for fun. I’ve been bugging Tyler from State Champs for a year or so to let me come up to play guitar for a song but he never lets me! Maybe if everyone tweets @tyszal to let me play “Elevated” he’ll let me. Mike from MXPX let me come up to play “Andrea” on bass at their sold out New York City show a couple of years ago and that was a dream come true. Any bands out there that want me to come on stage to play a song with them let me know I͛m always down!
How does it make you feel knowing that listeners come back every week to stay tuned to your show?
MF — It blows my mind how loyal the listeners are. It’s really awesome the weeks I don’t do a show and they might not have seen me post I’m not doing one that week they’ll ask where I am and why I’m not on air. I have people tweeting me from Australia every week that listen, England, Germany, etc. and I always screenshot it and send it to my Mom cause I get all stoked about it.