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Happy B-day To The World’s Greatest Undiscovered Songwriting Genius!

August 30, 2013

Yes, the world’s full of undiscovered genius– take me, for example…BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Better yet, take Mike Cohen. Mike’s a friend of mine– but don’t hold that against him. He’s a songwriter. Is he really a genius? As a matter of fact, he is.

In addition to songs, he’s written original musicals. He’s been reckless enough to cast me in some of them. OK, so he’s no genius when it comes to casting…BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I was in a show of his called Transference. I surprised him by drawing up a special ad for the program. The original was B&W. I decided to add some color and resurrect it for his birthday, which is tomorrow, August 31st.

Scroll down for a larger image and bigger, easier to read text.

caricature of songwriter and playwright Michael Mike Cohen, guitarist for Fuzzy Logic Band, has written musicals Neon Coconut, Moon Fever, Transference, Amelia Rules

Here’s Mike by himself. Moon Fever, Amelia Rules!, Neon Coconut, and Transference
are four of his musicals.caricature of songwriter and playwright Michael Mike Cohen, guitarist for Fuzzy Logic Band, has written musicals Neon Coconut, Moon Fever, Transference, Amelia Rules

Mike’s favorite songwriting teams are Gilbert and Sullivan, and Lennon-McCartney. So it’s no surprise that Mike’s own songs feature witty lyrics and wonderful melodies.

Is he a big fan of rockabilly guitar solos? No– but I am.

tributes for songwriter and playwright Michael Mike Cohen, guitarist for Fuzzy Logic Band, has written musicals Neon Coconut, Moon Fever, Transference, Amelia Rules

What’s Mike actually look like? That’s him on the left below. We met in November, 1994,
as extras in the very forgettable movie, Jumanji. The crew spent a week filming exteriors in Keene, New Hampshire.

Mike’s hair was black back then. Having me for a friend has clearly been a trial.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

That’s Mike and his lovely wife Liz Sumner on the right. Mike’s the songwriter and lead guitarist for Fuzzy Logic. Liz is a vocalist in the band. Nobody sings a Mike Cohen song quite like Liz.

Songwriter Michael Mike Cohen and his wife vocalist Liz Sumner performing Fuzzy Logic songs at music festival

A local community theater staged a musical version of Spoon River Anthology back in 2004. They asked Mike to be the music director, and he asked me to be in the band. I said yes. Then I found out the band was just him and me.

We worked out a system: he played the right notes, I played the wrong notes. It was about the most fun I ever had.

Here we are in costume. It’s one of my favorite photos. It’s fuzzy because the original’s about the size of a postage stamp, and I had to blow it up. Of course, with faces like ours, fuzziness works to advantage.
Michael Mike Cohen and Mark Armstrong guitar and banjo musicians for musical version of Spoon River Anthology presented by Branch River Theater in Marlborough New Hampshire

You’re intrigued, right? You’d like to hear some of Mike’s songs. Well, there are a couple ways you can do that.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Fuzzy Logic has a Facebook page. Click on the Music Store tab, and you can sample tracks from their last two albums. You can buy individual tracks or an entire album.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Not on Facebook? You can find both albums on iTunes: Almost and Snow Shadows.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Need a recommendation? My own favorites are Bahia, Ezekiel’s Wheel, and Let’s Be Beat on Almost; Last Of The Vipers, Nice Guys, and South Pacific Tour on Snow Shadows.

And you’ll definitely want to check out Liz Sumner’s inimitable delivery on Unavailable Men, Calling All Bars, and Firm Thighs.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

And if you see Mike Cohen tomorrow, wish him a happy birthday.

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Ever seen a local musician and thought: why isn’t this guy famous??

Did you listen to any of Mike’s songs? What did you think?

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

When Art And Rockabilly Music Collide

The Dave Clark 5: Honest To Gosh Singing Caricatures

Sometimes An Illustrator Has To Fiddle Around

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. Mia Moravis permalink
    August 30, 2013 2:35 PM

    *Sigh* How fantastic and incredible – the artist by the artist! XO


    • September 5, 2013 11:54 AM

      Whoa! I think we’ve got a triple here: an artist commenting on an artist doing a post about an artist!! How very artful… : )

      Thank you, my dear Mia!!


  2. August 30, 2013 3:18 PM

    I like his hair too! I’m glad you turned it gray. I just visited his link and read his impressive resume and what a talented guy. But his biggest coo was getting the illustrious Markie MacGiggles to team up with him and play the wrong notes! Now that’s talent! And what a wonderful likeness you drew of him, Mark! A nice tribute and birthday present to your friend! Now I’ll go check out his music! 😀


    • September 5, 2013 11:58 AM

      Yes, I thought he’d look distinguished with a touch of gray. Er, I may have overdone it… : P

      Somebody’s gotta play the wrong notes, and who better than me?? I’ve been a jarring note since the day I was born… : (

      Glad you enjoyed the post, my dear Linda, and thank you for the lovely comment and your usual rollicking good humor!! : )


  3. August 30, 2013 7:29 PM

    What a lovely tribute to a good friend, Mark!
    Happy birthday to Mike and may he make Gilbert and Sullivan, see his dust! (with all due respect guys, rest in peace wherever you are, I’m sure you’d love to share some of the glory with more talented people!!)
    Although, I couldn’t think of a better wish than having my friend do such a brilliant sketch of me and then writing all these kind words!


    • September 5, 2013 12:05 PM

      Uh-oh!! I think poor Bert and Sully just took one on the chins– POW! Well, they’re not everyone’s cup of spinach… : P

      Thank you, my dear Marina! Your wonderful comment has me grinning from ear to ear to ear!

      See? You make me smile so much, I had to grow another ear. I hope this won’t hurt my chances in the next beauty contest… : (

      Speaking of kind words, thank you for all of yours!!! : )


      • September 5, 2013 12:53 PM

        🙂 🙂
        The extra ear, I got to see!!!
        As for Bert and Sully, I didn’t mean it as a punch – I really like them! I meant that they have had their share of fame, they wouldn’t mind someone else taking a bite too! 🙂


        • September 5, 2013 1:42 PM

          Arrgghh! Sorry for misinterpreting your comment, Marina. I should have known you were much too kind to bash Bert or, uh, sully Sully… : )

          Well said. The immortals shouldn’t mind someone else getting their chance at fame. And when I say immortals, I’m including you and me– naturally… : )


        • September 5, 2013 2:05 PM

          …it’s my English really, I know, but i am learning! [like a snail!] 🙂
          As for the immortals, well obviously!! 😆


        • September 5, 2013 4:36 PM

          Your English is excellent. Your fellow immortal just heard it wrong, that’s all. That’s always a danger when you have three ears… : (


        • September 5, 2013 5:04 PM

          Ah, my friend, we are entering a dialogue in a loop (:lol:) so I will say this: all 3 ears are in perfect order and my language is improving! 🙂


  4. August 30, 2013 8:27 PM

    Oh Mark, I thought with that title it was going to be you! I love your band photo and illustrations, just wonderful 🙂


    • September 5, 2013 12:14 PM

      Jen! Your wonderful comment made me cry, “Hoo, hoo!” and spin around three times on my branch! Owl be forever grateful!!

      Always a great delight to see Australia’s Resident Creative Genius– thank you!! : )


  5. August 31, 2013 11:16 AM

    Happy birthday, Mike Cohen. You’ve got a good friend in Mark. His illustration and tribute to you are adorable – and a real chuckle. 🙂


    • September 5, 2013 12:21 PM

      What’s this?? Old Cohen’s getting an HB from famous scribe Judy Berman?? From one genius to another… I like it! It seems very fitting, as we say here at the girdle factory. Other times, of course, we say that’s quite a stretch… : P

      Thank you, my dear Judy, you are truly the icing on the cake of life!! : )


  6. September 3, 2013 5:30 PM

    ‘He’s, like, on my i-phone!’

    Armstrong you rock!


    • September 5, 2013 12:49 PM

      What?? Cohen’s on The Great Murray’s iPhone?? Not only is that a singular honor, it means his music will be heard on some of the highest peaks in the UK!! He’ll be having a peak experience, and so will you!! : P

      No, no, my dear Murray: you rock, me rockhead! : )


  7. September 5, 2013 5:41 AM

    Hey Mark.

    I’m a classically trained musician, but I sorely wish I’d had a chance to be a working one. Most of my training was by note, not by rote, and I think the latter would have been a lot more fun. It didn’t help that some of my teachers and professors were egotistical and petty.

    We’ll see. My daughter decided to play trumpet for the middle school band. Oh man, I’m so pleased as punch that she’s putting in time with a brass instrument like I did back in the day. I couldn’t get her started on piano/keyboards, but she figures if she plays an instrument with one clef, she’ll learn the other main one. (I learned three, along with several instruments, as is required for music education students.)

    re: Hannah Montana– oh that persona is so far, far away as Miley Cyrus is rebelling hard– I guess she and her dad Billy Ray are my generation’s Ozzie and Ricky Nelson.


    • September 5, 2013 1:51 PM

      A classically trained musician?? Jak, you’re full of surprises. No wonder you always wear a tuxedo… : )

      Perhaps you and your daughter can team up some day. I remember going to a breakfast once to benefit the local elementary school. It included entertainment: a dad on piano, and his daughter on flute. They had a “Donations” jar, and that’s where I got rid of my leftover toast. Just kidding… : )

      Ricky Nelson– yes, indeed. Hmm. If he ever shook his booty, he was mighty discreet about it. Many thanks for checking in!


      • September 5, 2013 10:46 PM

        Haha Mark– I don’t have (all of) my tuxedo anymore, but it was indeed required as a music student.


  8. September 6, 2013 3:57 PM

    Hi Mark,
    What a terrific tribute. Your talent always blows me away.


    • September 9, 2013 8:44 PM

      Whoa! And a comment like that blows me away! Good thing I was wearing my parachute. It’s the one with the big red maple leaf. Just a little tribute to one of my favorite people. Thanks, TT! : )


  9. September 10, 2013 12:57 PM

    That’s amazing how you two met, and such a long standing friendship also : )

    The tribute you have done for him is wonderful, I’m sure he absolutely loved it! And had a great birthday, of course.

    Love the songs also, I’m really into “Let’s Be Beat”. Thanks for the recommendations and introducing us to a great musician ^__^


    • September 16, 2013 12:58 PM

      Thank you, dear Fox! Yes, it’s hard to believe Mike and I met in a wardrobe line as movie extras. We were supposed to play grubby street people. The costume director took one look at us, and said we didn’t need anything, we were good to go! (really) Has our fashion sense gotten any better over the years? Well, no… : (

      I’m so happy you like the songs. I know Mike will be delighted. And personally, I’m delighted at your singling out Let’s Be Beat. I’ve always loved that song, and– fittingly– it has the most infectious beat. I missed the whole Beatnik Era– world-weary beats and hepcats, wearing berets, shades, playing bongos and spouting poetry in dim cafes and coffeehouses. But when I hear that song, it’s, like– I’m there, man!! : )


  10. September 16, 2013 2:08 PM

    Hi Mark – Listening now – thanks and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the wonderful lyricist.


    • September 17, 2013 11:16 AM

      Thank you, my dear Lesley! If Mr. Cohen knew about your discerning ear and impeccable good taste, I know he’d be flattered!

      Thanks for lending an ear, and for your kind and ongoing support! : )


  11. SingingTuna permalink
    October 6, 2013 2:28 PM

    Hot diggety!!!! Love this post!
    I hope I’m not too late to wish a [belated but nonetheless DAZZLINGLY sincere] Happy Birthday to Mike Cohen!

    I stopped reading your post right away in the first paragraphs, ran off to the GreatGooglyMoogly and found Mike’s YouTube channel. LOTS of musical clips! Then I came back and found more, that you posted. Thank you!!!

    He’s terrific!
    And you make a good team.
    Your ad for “Transference” is FABULOUS! LOL!!!


    PS – I can’t “Like” this post, either but that’s not stopping me from loving it.


    • October 6, 2013 9:18 PM

      Whoa! When one of my posts gets a “hot diggety!”, I know I’m cookin’ with gas, even tho I’ve only got an electric hot plate… : P

      Glad you’re diggety– er, I mean, digging Mike’s stuff. Yes, he’s quite the musical wunderkind. And his asking me to join his two-man band for Spoon River clearly shows he also enjoys living dangerously… : )

      Sorry about that darn Like button. I’m stumped, as the tree said after he met the logger… : (


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