From The Desk Of The Sharp Things’ Perry Serpa: Mike “Sport” Murphy

Having actually included MAGNET as one of my favorite things (and I promise that’s not sucking up, I really love the publication), you can imagine how chuffed I was at the prospect of a guest editorship. Over the past, well, several years of the Sharp Things‘ existence, Eric Miller has been a friend and an advocate, even when no one else was, so I’m honored to be able to ramble on a bit about a bunch of shit that I dig, because I want everyone to know about it and, more significantly, because it makes me feel important. 😉 Over to you, me …


I was introduced to Mike “Sport” Murphy over a decade ago by my cohort, TST guitarist, Jim Santo. Sport had just completed what I still contend to be a masterpiece of modern popular music, an album called Willoughby. The album possessed everything I cherished in music: a mythology, a great voice, poignant lyrics about a multitude of subjects, un-alienating eccentricity (which is something I value deeply, as alienating eccentricity is something that many music makers seem to work toward these days while all the while complaining that no one understands them) and beautiful melodies. I mean, beautiful melodies—another sidelined aspect of popular music, which makes sense if trying hard not to actually reach people. Sport’s not having any of that. An incredibly well-versed music aficionado, Sport, through his songs and other writings, has paid homage to Jacques Brel, the aforementioned Scott Walker, but also folks like Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Stephen Foster and, most of all, Charles Ives. To listen to any one of his three albums (there’s one on the way, too), is to have a history lesson in all of the above, and more. Even 2003’s Uncle, Sport’s visceral and heartbreaking tribute to his nephew, Pete, a firefighter, who was lost in 9/11 contained such heady nods. Something for everyone! At press time, Sport has become something of a minor celebrity in France. Say what you want about the French; the fact that such special music can be appreciated there, while being “under the radar” here, speaks volumes about us. Such losers, we are. Sorry, but it’s true. The fact that someone of his caliber has struggled to make a living off his music while tiresome, artless, faux-tortured, over-breathy little boys can become rich by the dozen, makes me hate life. I love you, Sport Murphy. Fuck ’em. Keep it up.

Video after the jump.