Mike Flanigin ‘surprised’ at career path

Organ player Mike Flanigin has just released his debut album featuring ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons – yet he admits he became a full-time musician by accident.

Flanigin tells the Austin Chronicle: “I still can’t believe I ever became a musician. I never aspired to it. I didn’t really know it was possible – I just kind of backed into it by accident.”

Flanigin joined his first band when he was 24 as a guitarist in 1990. “There were a million gigs in Dallas and they all paid $250, split four ways,” he says. “All of a sudden, I’m a musician. Nobody is more surprised than I am.”

His switch to his main instrument, the Hammond B-3, also happened by accident when he was playing at an Austin club on steel guitar and spied a little used old Hammond on stage.

He continues: “I looked at that organ and I thought, ‘Why am I playing this organ song on a steel guitar when there’s an organ right here and nobody’s playing it?’ I had no organ or keyboard experience, but I’d sit in with bands onstage and try and figure it out.”

The Drifter is released today (August 21) and along with Gibbons, it includes contributions from Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark Jr, Alejandro Escovedo, and Blondie drummer Clem Burke.

The Drifter tracklist

01. The Devil Beats His Wife 02. Fit To Be Tired (ft Alejandro Escovedo) 03. The Drifter (ft Billy Gibbons) 04. All Nite Long (ft Jimmie Vaughan) 05. From The Dust 06. Nina (ft Kat Edmonson) 07. Stop The World (ft Gary Clark Jr) 08. Tryin’ To Make My Way Back Home (ft Reverend Gean West) 09. One Little Heart (ft Kat Edmonson) 10. This Life