While Plume has not lived in New Brunswick for any great span of time since moving to Alberta in 1985, his humility, sense of humour and laid-back attitude is indeed a reflection of his New Brunswick home.
In a very special concert presentation, the Mike Plume Band will be coming “home” for a pair of shows being held, appropriately enough, at the Havelock Community Hall on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Plume’s Saturday show is already sold out.
Speaking to the Times & Transcript from his Nashville home, Plume, a roots rocker in the vein of Steve Earle, fondly recalls growing up in New Brunswick but jokes that his shows this weekend will actually be the first time he will be performing in Havelock since he took part in a talent show in Grade 4.
“I left New Brunswick when I was 17 years old,” Plume begins. “It was a bit of a tough experience looking back because I was pretty established with my friends at Harrison Trimble when we had moved.”
Six months prior to moving to Alberta however, Plume made the prophetic choice to pick up the guitar after a house guest had left a guitar behind at Plume’s house one evening. Not long after, Plume says that he started skipping his classes at Harrison Trimble, spending his “free” time at the Greater Moncton Music Centre (now Long & McQuade), wishing that he too could be a musician.
The interest that Plume showed in the guitar would serve him well soon after his arrival in Alberta.
“Within two weeks of having moved to Alberta, I met a drummer, Ernie Basiliadis, who was probably the third guy I met there and who is still playing with me today. We did our first show together at the Christmas concert in Bonnyville High School in 1985.”
And while their first show wasn’t received the best, Plume would continue refining his craft over the coming years, releasing his debut album, Songs From A Northern Town, in 1993.
With his namesake band, Mike Plume would release five other records in a dizzying eight-year span, playing more than 1,200 shows across Canada, the United States and Europe.
And then, in 2001, following the release of their record Fools For The Radio on the ominous date of Sept. 11, the cracks in the band’s facade began to show.
By the time October 2002 came around, the Mike Plume Band decided to go out in style, playing a rousing 60-song, almost four-hour long show in Wakefield, Quebec.
It is not that neither Plume or his band mates wanted to walk away from music. What they did know, however, was that they needed an open-ended break. The remaining members of the Mike Plume Band went on to form another band called The Populars while Plume went home to gather his thoughts and contemplate his next move.
In 2003, Plume released a solo record called Table For One. In 2004, the Mike Plume Band got back together, playing one show that year and one show in 2005. It was hardly a break neck pace, however by the time 2008 rolled around, the group got themselves back into the recording studio and made a triumphant return to form in 2009 with their record 8:30 Newfoundland, the band’s latest record.
It is not that Plume isn’t interested in writing new music. In fact, Plume says that he is “knee deep” into their next record and is hopeful that it will see the light of day by the end of the year, if only he could figure out the best way to maximize people hearing his new music, that is.
“I think this is a fascinating time in history to be making and releasing music,” Plume says. “I don’t believe the music industry would be inclined to agree but services like Spotify and iTunes can do wonders for guys like me. It is interesting to see that before The Beatles Revolver record came out, the industry was all about singles and now, it is almost as though we are returning to that idea. As an artist but also as a businessman, I have to sit down and contemplate if my music is better served being released as a full-length effort instead of a digital single that features two songs. That is the conundrum for me right now.”
When talk turns back towards his shows this weekend in Havelock, the excitement at the prospect of “coming home” is audible in Plume’s voice. Although he has since called a couple of different cities home since fatefully leaving Havelock in 1985, he is still very much anticipating his shows.
“I am so very pumped to be playing in Havelock,” he says. “These shows are going to be very special for me as not only do I have my wife and daughter joining me for the shows but I’ve got school friends coming in from as far away as Ottawa and Florida to see the shows. It is going to be a very special weekend of music for me.”