Middletown native Mick Blankenship, headlining a bill at the Thompson House in Newport, Ky., on Saturday, April 13, recently answered some questions about opening for Puddle of Mudd and recording and playing all of the instruments on the follow-up to his 2018 debut.
Q: How is opening for Puddle of Mudd?
A: It can be brutal, but it’s a lot of fun, man. I’ve done 36 dates with them so far and I’ve got more this summer. It’s been crazy. We’ve been all over the United States, from California to Maine. There isn’t a whole lot of money to be made, but I’m actually establishing myself on the national scene, which is an incredible opportunity.
Q: What have you learned from the experience?
A: I’ve learned pacing yourself is really important, but humility is probably the number one thing. It doesn’t matter who you are, being humble and treating everyone with kindness goes a long way.
Q: What’s the status of the next record?
A: I’m a little better than halfway there. It’s super tough when you do everything by yourself, writing and laying tracks. Those are long, long hours by yourself in a room. That’s the tough part, and keeping the creativity, inspiration and drive alive. Sometimes it can be wearing on the soul.
Q: What do you do to recharge?
A: It sounds silly, but I try to spend time with my German Shepherd. He’s my little sidekick. I try to visit family. Sometimes I do a little side work, but right now there’s not a whole lot of that. Since our last show, I’ve spent every single day working on the record. I wake up and work a little bit. If I’m feeling creative, then I’ll let it roll but if it’s a dead end, I’ll do some of the engineering work. There’s always plenty to do. I battle depression, too, so that can make it tough.
Q: How does that impact your work?
A: When that comes into play, all bets are off so you better find something to do for the day. The apathy can be brutal. You get people going, ‘Well, what are you sad about?’ It’s so frustrating because it has nothing to do with being sad, but one of the unique things about my situation is that’s how I connect with so many fans. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people come to my merch table after I played my set and I get so many hugs and so many tears and so many people telling me they really felt that connection with me and my music.