I did a bio for this guy a while ago. Here is an updated one.
"If Seinfeld and Stephen Malkmus double
teamed a demure Mexican woman and she had a baby, it
would be Mike." Z Berg of The Like
"No better man to have by your side on the hotel
floors of Dublin." Farmer Dave Scher of Beachwood
Michael Runion grew up in Ventura CA, playing bass for crust and punk bands in thrall to the likes of Polvo and Unwound. After moving to Los Angeles and paying his rent by selling ‘zines and founding lauded silk screen clothing company Deathcamp (whose clothes have been worn by 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith and a whole host of other B list celebrities you have never heard of). As opposed to being a straight company Deathcamp was more a loose collection of artists, creatives, hipsters and hangers on all living out of a squat in East LA that soon became infamous locally.
This sense of collective pursuit of artistic integrity combined with a strong sense of communal living heavily informed the way that Michael would go on to create himself, constantly giving all he could both as an individual and in group situations. Wander around LA and on any given corner on any given day and there will be someone who has sang with, written with, shared a stage or a bar stool with Michael Runion more than willing to recount at least one tale of how he can capture and captivate in seconds.
This local infamy allowed Michael to swiftly became a constant in the bands that surround the Rilo Kiley collective including Jenny Lewis’s solo project and Sub Pop indie four-piece The Elected while continuing to mine a vein of authentic American songwriting with his own band Jamzz.
Michael’s debut solo album, ‘Our Time Will Come’, was recorded in Elliot Smith’s former studio by Grandaddy leader Jim Fairchild over a leisurely period of two months with contributions from Jonathon Rice, Ze Berg of The Like and James Valentine of Maroon 5 as well as old friends Rilo Kiley. As Michael himself has said of the record: “I basically asked all my talented friends to help make my record better, and they accepted,” says Runion. “I couldn’t have lucked into a better social group.”
The record represented a synergy of disparate influences mixed to great effect with characteristic honesty displaying Michael’s own unique voice while remaining informed by the music and musicians that Michael has continued to surround himself with.
The familiar Saddle Creek sound that lends an air of modernist melody and pop sensibility to classic song structure is present but in Runion’s delivery, turn of phrase and day to day observation the echoes of Townes Van Zandt and The Band’s Levon Helm that he brazenly displays as influences on his MySpace page are clear.
Having self released the album in the United States in April 2008 Michael embarked on tours US and European tours with Rilo Kiley and Alessi. He is currently to be found playing live shows with his five piece band, which features members of Whispertown 2000 and Neon Like, as well as preparing to release a 7” featuring the title track from ‘Our Time Will Come’ backed by ‘Daylight’ (a duet with Z Berg) on fledgling label Platforms Records.
Michael will be touring the UK from Sep 25th - Oct 9th where he will also make "Our Time Will Come" available from Oct 6th. His excitement both to be writing new material (he has already started preparing a follow up to “Our Time Will Come” which he believes to be a learning curve of a record) and to be playing these songs live is evoked with typical Runion honesty: “I can’t wait to play these songs for people. You spend years playing other people’s songs, and you get to see the world, but then you need to see if you can do it on your own. So far so good. They haven’t dragged me off any stages yet.”