In the My Spilt Milk podcast, he talks about lineup changes, indie rock, ambition and more.
John Michael Rouchell audaciously reintroduced himself to New Orleans in 2008 when he wrote and cut 52 songs in 52 weeks, posting a new song each week on his website. A few years earlier, he had been touted as a teenaged guitar phenom in the modern rock band Ellipsis, but there was none of that in the expansive, romantic indie rock of the 52 songs. He culled the best and released The People That Come and Go under the name MyNameIsJohnMichael and became an indie mainstay.
That album is the only full length release from the band. They cut another that Rouchell wasn't satisfied with, and that led to the breakup of that incarnation of the band. For the last two years, he has performed with a horn-driven incarnation of the band and released a few tracks, but no album ever came from it.
When this year's Jazz Fest lineup came out, Rouchell was on it, but under his own name, not MyNameIsJohnMichael. In today's My Spilt Milk podcast, he talks about the reason he laid down the name and a second band, and what's new about his new band. The show includes music from his upcoming EP The Separation, which will be out digitally on the weekend.
I've always admired the way Rouchell owns his ambition. Both incarnations of MyNameIsJohnMichael were created to make music big enough for arenas, and the songs had a broad, populist quality. In this interview and other conversations I've had with him, he's upfront about the desire to be big in a way that few musicians will be. It has made him a controversial figure in some quarters, but it has also made him one of the more interesting musicians in New Orleans in recent years.
John Michael Rouchell performs at Jazz Fest on the Acura Stage Saturday at 12:15 p.m.