‘I’ll always be writing music’

Mike O’Neill makes a triumphant solo return to Kingston

Playing the Wolfe Island Music Festival isn’t O’Neill’s first time visiting Kingston — he attended Queen’s in the 80s where he started his first band, The Inbreds.
Playing the Wolfe Island Music Festival isn’t O’Neill’s first time visiting Kingston — he attended Queen’s in the 80s where he started his first band, The Inbreds.
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“I’m kind of very excellent at math.”

For Mike O’Neill, an aptitude for numbers belongs to a collection of traits that serve his individuality.

It’s clear that the Halifax dweller puts his own spin on classic rock rhythm beats.

“I can’t read music and I write music in kind of a scrappy way, so if I want to remember ideas, I just sing them into a tape recorder.”

Some of O’Neill’s songs like “Mr. Carvery” and “Henry” are hauntingly reminiscent of popular Beatles tunes like “With a Little Help from my Friends” and “I Will”.

Originally from Oshawa, Ont., O’Neill met Dave Ullrich while doing his undergrad at Queen’s in 1992 and the duo later formed the indie-rock band The Inbreds. They went on to release seven albums together until they broke up in 1998. “I’m in my forties now and I’m still making music. I just think that I’m done, but I’m never done though — I’ll always be writing music,” O’Neill said.

He’s released three solo albums since his days as half of the Inbreds. His latest album, Wild Lines, was released in February.

On the album, O’Neill did all his own writing and sound mixing.

“For me it’s like now I know I could record an album anywhere and I wouldn’t have to go into a studio to get the sound I wanted because I know how to do it,” he said.

O’Neill said he is excited to be returning to Kingston to play at the annual Wolfe Island Music Festival this year.

“It’ll be my biggest solo act to date that I’ve played, so it will be extra exciting,” he said.

O’Neill’s third solo album was six years in the making. In the meantime, he made his foray onto television as the hot-tempered Thomas Collins on the final season of Trailer Park Boys in 2008. He also sound mixed for the show and the first two movies.

Next for O’Neill is a step away from his successful solo music career and onto the silver screen as he pens the third Trailer Park Boys movie, due to come out in the fall.


Mike O’Neill will be performing at the Wolfe Island Music Festival on Aug. 10.

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