Over the last decade, Celtic punk rock band The Rumjacks have been gracing the world with their success. Their latest album, “Hestia” hit the shelves and streams in mid-March with the absence of their singer/songwriter Frankie McLaughlin. At the beginning of the Covid pandemic the band welcomed a new member aboard the ship, Mike Rivkees, who had taken the reins and proved to be a great  asset to the creation of the new album. With a hard act to follow and shoes to fill, he was in for quite a journey. With his experience in punk rock bands as well as specifically in that writing style, he took the quarantine phase of the pandemic to really sink his teeth into creating music from a unique standpoint. Taking what he had already known as a songwriter, he found his way into writing more story-based songs while researching the band’s years of musical material.

“Coming out of Boston, for someone who has had experience in music and also accompanies a band out there (Mickey Rickshaw) although not to a grand scale, it did feel a little intimidating joining a well-loved band like The Rumjacks,” according to Mike. To meet the expectations, especially when the previous frontman and songwriter was great at what he did, Mike takes this brand-new opportunity with the band and puts in all his effort to learn and take away some new lessons and skills.

With the rest of the band living so scattered around Europe, getting these songs written had a much different approach, with Mike writing demos and meeting with the guys in Milan where their manager owns a recording studio. It truly was a collective team effort to review what was brought in and a great opportunity to learn more about putting together their music, which, at the end of it all, came out beautifully. 

 NC: A favorite on the album is “Goodnight and Make Amends.” Out of curiosity, what was the mindset going into that song?

(This track is specifically a very personal, near and dear song that was inspired by Mike’s late friend and comrade.)

M: “We had always talked about writing a song together because she was a poet and never got around to it. So, I took some of her lines of her poetry and kind of used it to write lyrics and rework a little bit of it to make the chorus of that song. So that was like us finally getting to write a song together because I write about my friends whenever they pass away. It just inevitably makes its way into the music. I’ve been that way since I was like 15. So that was how that song came out.”

Be sure to check out The Rumjacks’ latest album “Hestia” which is also on vinyl and hear all the amazing work put into the music with new member Mike Rivkees. You can also view the interview with Mike on the No Cover YouTube channel to hear even more. We’ll see everyone there.


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