Skip to content

Giglife Diaries: MSU vs. U of M Game Day

2017 October 8
Comments Off on Giglife Diaries: MSU vs. U of M Game Day
by Mike Vial

#giglife diaries: A scene at a bar in Ann Arbor.

[I finish singing a song that I like. Drunk dude in football jersey walks up.]

Drunk dude in football jersey: Can you play something *stronger*?

Me: Probably not.

DDiFJ: Like “Piano Man”?

Me: I know [name five other Billy Joel songs].

DDiFJ: Ok, don’t play any Billy Joel, how about some Dave Matthews?

Me: Oh, OK.

DDiFJ: Great, here’s $10. PLAY IT!

[I start playing “Ants Marching.” Another table boos. I just play three of my own songs after this.]

* * * * * *

Reading comprehension test for class tomorrow:

Which theme best describes the above passage:
A. A musician should never play a gig during MSU/U of M game day.
B. Dave Matthews Band is a superior songwriter than Billy Joel.
C. Live musicians are jukeboxes.
D. $10 is worth this interaction.
E. Hearing someone play “Piano Man” on the acoustic guitar is distressing.


New Job & a Few Gig Cancellations

2017 September 20
Comments Off on New Job & a Few Gig Cancellations
by Mike Vial

News over here on the Vial Burg front: I was hired to teach English/Language Arts at a public school this year! A teacher resigned suddenly at the start of the term, and I was hired this week!

It’s going to be a bit of an adjustment, so I’ve had to condense down my gig calendar.

I won’t be at the Raven this Saturday, September 23, but the fabulous Michelle Held is covering that Port Huron gig! I’ll be using that time to do some lesson planning and catch up with my kids after my first week teaching.

Other local gigs are still on, like the Trinity House and Black Fire Winery next weekend. More updates coming soon.

[Short Story] “You Know You’ve Made It”

2017 June 24
Comments Off on [Short Story] “You Know You’ve Made It”
by Mike Vial

After finishing my set at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, I said hello to friends by the corner of the stage.

Garret Potter, also a new dad–and the best, damn poet in Ann Arbor–came up to me and gave me a big hug.

“Garret, I saw your post on Facebook. Did you find a ride to the airport last week?” I asked.

“Oh, I drove myself.” he said. “I realized I’m an adult now, and I can just pay for parking!”

We laughed. Adulthood creeps up on you in the weirdest ways.

Then he said, “I finally got one your shirts.”

I had no shirts for sale at the merch tent. I sold my last shirt earlier in the year. I must have looked bewildered.

“You bought my shirt? Where?”

“The thrift store!”

“Wait, what?”

“Yeah! It was like brand new. Fits perfectly.”

“That’s hilarious!”

“Is that weird that one of your shirts was at the Ann Arbor thrift store?”

I considered how there are only 100 Mike Vial shirts. 50 are gray, and 50 are green.

They were great shirts, if I do say so myself. Really soft. Screen-printed locally by VGKids. My logo had a ship burning off in the distance. I sold them for $10. It took me three years to finally get rid of the last batch of smalls…

My dad owns two of them. (He insisted he keep two shirts for the grandkids.) My mom owns one and wears it to my gigs. My wife has one shirt. She wears it when she’s low on laundry.

So that leaves 96 Mike Vial shirts out in the wild. One made its way to the thrift store.

“It’s weird,” I said. “But Sherman Alexie’s father told him, ‘I knew you made it when I saw your book for sale at the Good Will!’ I feel like I’ve made it.”

Garret smiled. “I wish I would have worn it today.”

We said goodbye as the next musical act was starting her first song. Garret walked back to where his family and friends were sitting. He began to chase his toddler around the green.

Later that day, I sold two CDs at the festival. I’m almost sold out of those, too, but maybe you will find one of them at the local thrift store.


A2 Summer Fest Video & Setlist

2017 June 23
Comments Off on A2 Summer Fest Video & Setlist
by Mike Vial

Natalie somehow pulled it off and brought both tots to my Ann Arbor Summer Fest set. Alton slept through the entire show; Ginny ran around the entire top of the park. We are exhausted! Thanks to everyone who attended!

A post shared by Mike Vial (@mikevial) on

Welcome the newest member of the family band!

2017 June 13
Comments Off on Welcome the newest member of the family band!
by Mike Vial

Welcome the newest member of the family band!

Alton Maerle Burg Vial arrived June 9th. 6 pounds, 14 oz.


A post shared by Mike Vial (@mikevial) on