Text and Photos by Shane Maland
Turn up your radios. Michael Pink is about to blow up the airwaves.
“Another one of those stupidly talented pop guys,” said music critic and author John Borack.
“Anytime a guy who has written a book on John Lennon puts me in their top 20, I’m a happy man for an open-ended amount of time,” said Pink.
Going Coast to Coast
Michael Pink, the preeminent pop/rock musician of North Dakota, has a growing following of loyal listeners, and not just in the Valley. From New York City to Eugene, Oregon, Pink’s songs are reaching an audience of ears he could only dream of playing for. It wasn’t a long road that he had to take for his music to bloom, but it was a winding one that took him out of living rooms and into venues as historic as the Fargo Theatre. He even earned himself a trip to a Grammy winning producer’s studio.
The Recording Environment
Pink has been used to recording his albums in various houses across the Midwest, working the knobs and mixer boards himself. He won’t have to do that anymore.
Monthly, Pink has been traveling to Minneapolis to record with Kevin Bowe, writer and producer
. Bowe is the producer that discovered Fargo’s own Jonny Lang, and has written with the likes of Leo Kottke, Robben Ford, The Rembrandts and Peter Case (just to name a few).
“There is a confirmation there. He is associated with some of my heroes. When Grammy award winning people take notice, it’s definitely settling. I’m doing something right,” said Pink.
But don’t think that the golden roads of the music business can steer Pink away from the rural dirt roads of his home state.
A Wagon Full of Vagabonds
Michael’s favorite guitar is his grandfather’s 1961 Gretsch Tennessean.
“He took out a loan at the bank in Enderlin to get it. He played in a band with my grandmother and played this guitar at my parents wedding dance in 1976. He was a hard working farmer. He did a fine job of raising my mother and played a fine guitar, although I never got the chance to hear him play it.”
His grandparents, Bernerd and Marilyn Stangler, were in a band called The Vagabonds.
“They were actually kind of a big deal, back in the day. They had a wagon that they would hook up to the pickup with the band’s name on it, and they’d come pull in to your town and play in some un-air-conditioned town hall. They always encouraged me,” said Pink.
The Way Music Should Be
“There’s something about the downtown feel. It’s where music lives. It doesn’t live out in Rose Creek. I love how you can just walk off the street and there is music. The next place has more music. That’s the way it should be. People can knock on the local music scene, but there is still music going on. It could be better, but it could be worse,” said Pink.
No matter what your music scene, i
t’s time to turn up your stereos and help Michael paint this town Pink.
Edited by Isabella Cody, MSUM journalism