Lawless Piano Man
returns home to The Spoke
By Maggie Wrobel
|HA! THAT'S NOT
ART. Mike Lawless disdainfully diverts his eyes from a graffiti-tagged
Tonight, The Spoke is getting a little more Lawless.
Former University Students' Council president Mike Lawless makes his highly
anticipated return to The Spoke tonight to perform original material he
has composed over the last eight years.
"It's great," Lawless says of his return to his old stomping
grounds. "I get to return and concentrate on music, something that
I love to do. I'm glad to return in a more relaxed role, a role that I
enjoy a little bit more."
As last year's USC president, Lawless rivalled former U.S. president Bill
Clinton's prowess on the saxophone by performing Friday afternoons at
The Spoke with his trusty piano. He believes his experience playing for
Spoke audiences taught him a lot about entertaining.
"It was definitely an interesting experience," he recalls. "I
found I was playing other people's music a lot more than my own, which
helped me develop the entertainer side of being a musician. It also taught
me to play in an environment where everyone wasn't necessarily listening
He likens those afternoons at The Spoke to his current Friday and Saturday
night gig at the Rockwater Brewing Company in the Galleria mall. Lawless
reveals that his residency at the popular downtown restaurant is becoming
"In the beginning, we had 15 or 20 people attending regularly each
week, and it's really becoming a regular spot for a big bunch of people,"
he says enthusiastically.
Lawless is excited that this regular gig finally allows him to play some
of the original music that he's been consistently writing for almost a
decade. He says that, while he wants to stay true to his artistic vision,
he is also aware of a musician's responsibility to be a crowd pleaser.
"I know that if I want to make [music] a career, I have to strike
a balance between the artistic side and the entertaining side. A lot of
my songs include my personal feelings and things that I've taken directly
from my life, and I hope that people will be able to relate to them. However,
it's also important to me to play good melodies that will stick in people's
heads the next day."
Lawless reveals that his career in politics is over for now, and that
he's in the process of giving a career in music a proper shot. He has
plans to record an EP in the near future and is currently applying for
government grants to help fund this project.
You can't help but compare Lawless to Bill Clinton. After all, both juggled
the roles of president and entertainer. However, Clinton also found time
in his busy schedule to be a bona fide womanizer. Therefore, the question
arises: did Lawless get more girls as USC president, or as the Piano Man?
"I've had friends ask me that!" he laughs good-naturedly. "Right
now, I love making music, and anyone who knows me knows I want to be a
rock star, but there aren't a ton of girls who are into the aspiring rock
Mike Lawless plays on campus at The Spoke tonight along with Dave Ford
and DJ Shishah Fiend. The show is free and starts at 9:30 p.m..