Boston Groupie News

BAND:Michael J. Roy
TITLE: Eclectricty

Michael RoyA guitarist's first album would most probably be a guitar blow out. This is not the case with Michael Roy's effort.Eclectricty is foremost song centric and guitars serve the tunes with solos at a minimum. 
    Michael has played guitar and sung in Fox Pass from the beginning and that means 1974. I don't know why we get this now but it's a gem. The overall sound and writing reminds me of some of Richard Lloyd's solo work; good examples of this are Wherever You Are and the beginning of In a Well.

   Songs are mostly mid-tempo but don't drag because the songwriting is spot on. The guitar lines also carry the songs along. This can be heard on slower tunes like The Difference and Taking My Time where the melody and guitar lines are irresistible. 
   Roy has a clear voice with no affectations that fit the material and gives it emotion when required. 
    He's doing some interesting musical things with scales among other things but they are subtle and are not noticeable on a casual listen. There's something going on in Wherever You Are from the beginning but it's not until the solo where he uses an eastern scale that it surfaces to be identified.

   I have many favorites: Land of Forgotten DreamsTaking My TimeStop the Rain and Wired in Wonderland
   This has so many good qualities but in the end the best thing is that it's just so listenable

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The Top Ten Songs

          Artist                 Song                                 Album          Label

  1. Michael J. Roy Land of Forgotten Dreams | Eclectricity | Self Released 
    After years with Fox Pass guitarist Michael Roy puts out an outstanding solo CD.

Mike Roy’s first solo album features fourteen tracks by the long-time guitarist and founding member of pioneering Boston new wave band Fox Pass as well as Mercury recording artist Tom Dickie and the Desires. “Land of Forgotten Dreams” blasts things off at 3:27 proclaiming that the veteran performer has no intention of dropping the rock. The 4:48 of “Barely There” is a luxurious riff (think 2nd side of Abbey Road) that is an instrospective lament while “Stop The Rain” owes nothing to Creedence. More like a John Lennon Starting Over track if Darryl Hall and John Oates were collaborating with the Beatle. Stompers/Fox Pass rhythm section Steve Gilligan (Bass) and Lenny Shea Jr. (Drums) would make you possibly think that this is 3/4 Pass, but it is not. The lethal Gilligan/Shea combo doesn’t always have to play like Yardbirds to quote a review of Live Yardbirds”…ex-rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja bumped over on bass, Jim McCarty on effective drumming” which the liner notes to that classic disc called “twin-steam shovels” – a favorite line of Fox Pass colleague Fred Pineau (who has the same initials as Fox Pass.)

The 4 minutes plus of “On a Sunday” bring another brooding moment which blends into the uptempo “Your Own Way.” Roy seems to be looking back on these songs, and they would have been nice additions to the Desires albums for sure. “The Difference” and “In a Well” both clock in at four minutes and seventeen seconds each, “In a Well,” perhaps, the most likely candidate to be re-cut by Fox Pass for an album sometime in the future. “Wherever You Are” features the background vocals of Nancy Francis (not to be confused with long-time Fox Pass associate Nancy Neon) and that’s it for musicians, Shea, Gilligan and Francis buoy this extremely good solo recording from Mike Roy who plays every other instrument himself, a kind of Emmit Rhodes / Paul McCartney break-away from the full band Roy co-founded.

“Heartless” has fragments from the Crowded House hit “Something So Strong” – the first line of “Heartless”, “How can I begin” mirroring “Love can make you weep.” But it diverts quickly before going into “He’s So Fine’/”My Sweet Lord” territory so Tommy Mottola won’t have to come calling… Outside of the opening track (3:27,) “Heartless” (3:04), song 11 “Say Goodbye” (not Fox Pass classic “When I Say Goodbye) and track 13, “Wired to Wonderland” (2:38) the material veers mostly into four minute territory. There are many songs that are extremely appealing, but the 5:35 “Water from the Moon” is my favorite, thus far.

With bassist Steve Gilligan releasing multiple CDs, and Jon Macey’s Actuality In Process, Intenion and collaboration with Gilligan, Everything Under the Sun, it’s amazing that this is Michael J. Roy’s solo debut. “You’re Own Way” and “Water from the Moon” are catchy and memorable, so much material to absorb in what is certainly a burst of creative energy. Can’t wait for the next.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets.

The Noise of Boston
 14 tracks 

Michael J. Roy is the long time guitar star and handsome fashionista of Boston and NYC bands Fox Pass and Tom Dickie & the Desires. The players here are Stephen Gilligan on bass and Lenny Shea, Jr. on drums of Stompers fame. Line up wise this is essentially Fox Pass sans Jon Macey. Roy is and has always been a sensitive, painterly guitar player who added color and emotion to the songs of the Desires and Fox Pass, as he does here on Elcectricity. His warm, soulful voice can cause even this reprobate’s heart to melt. It was always Roy who was chosen to sing the smoother, more melodic songs of Fox Pass. If it were the ’60s, I could envision Roy in a blue eyed soul outfit like The Rascals.  “Stop the Rain” kicks my ass. As does the Byrdsian jangle of “In A Well.” There’s not a dud here. Roy’s voice is heart-wrenching. He doesn’t pluck the heartstrings – he shreds them! Congrats to a fine artist and human being.     (Nancy Neon)

Five Bands Website

Fox Pass and the Modern Lovers connection: On the record with Jon Macey. Click the link for content.

The Noise of Boston


The Bright Side

12 tracks

With the release of The Bright Side, Michael J Roy drops 12 new tracks of alternative rock that would easily have found a home on FM radio in the mid-’90s. What’s unfortunate is that it’s not the ’90s and FM radio died a decade or more ago. That’s not a dig on MJR or his songs. In fact, his song songwriting is solid and the melodies are strong. Instead, I’m just asking the sad but valid question, “How does alternative rock find its audience in a post-radio-airwaves world?”

“Mr. Berserk” is a real surprise. It plays like a Neil Diamond song for the 21st century. Mr. “Love-on-the-Rocks” would be proud to hear this song. Its anthemic chorus of, “Here comes Mr. Bersek, try to stop him, it won’t ever work/ Here comes Mr. Berserk, He’s a jackass, he’s a jerk,” and its trumpet accompaniment make it a true Neil-Diamond-esque anthem.

“World Run Wild” guitar-driven romp that reminds me of Treat Her Right but without their country-fried roots.    (George Dow) 

The Noise



Four minutes and fourteen seconds of “The End” opens The Bright Side CD from Fox Pass guitarist Michael J. Roy…no, no, no…not the Doors near twelve minute MFSB epic – referring to a Charles Manson delivery of the Philly Sound’s mother/father/sister/brother routine, though in another dimension. Michael punctuates his pop with guitar bursts, leaving Oedipus out of the equation. 

Track 2, “Same Old Thing,” brings the jangle back, but dips it into Gene Parsons territory, something Tom Petty made a career out of. Interesting in that Roy’s partner-in-Fox-Pass, Jon Macey, has gone full-out with the Hummingbird Syndicate embracing Sonny Bono/Jack Nitzsche “Needles and Pins” guitar sound. “Impossible Ways,” track 3, could be a modern-day Searchers in fact, with “Mr. Berserk” taking a similar sound down into the dark side. That’s the interesting force at play here, Mr. Roy’s optimism in Fox Pass taking a turn into Lou Reed downer territory with vocal work reflecting the titles, “The End,” “Mr. Berserk,” interestingly finding Reed’s Blue Mask emotions than the “bright side” of life, but an album does give one the opportunity to stretch out. 

With over forty-seven minutes of music, we’ll give Mike that latitude. “World Run Wild” shows the Boston area veteran artist his Billy Squier side, the emphasis on hard rock feels like a sequel to “The Stroke” from former Sidewinder Squier’s 1981 Don’t Say No album. Now this critic is referencing lots of musical textures from other artists, but that’s just for the reader to get an idea. Mike Roy is an original and he draws from a bountiful palette to offer something distinctly different from the work that he’s known for, the music of New England area legend Fox Pass. “Point of No Return” at four and a half minutes is Hugo Montenegro meets the Doors and a strong track. “Thin Air” pierces the speakers after the mellow verse while 

 While most of the tunes are in the four-minute range, track 10, “A Reason To Live” is the shortest at 2:37, poppy and anthemic, Joan Jett or the late Ben Orr could both have a ball with it. 

 The Bright Side presents more than just a follow-up to the previous Electricity disc, it is also the musical other side of a musician away from the focus of a working band. 

Joe Viglione

Find The Bright Side on
CD Baby
Reverb Nation
Release Date: August 6, 2017
Label: Blue Room Records

Roy opens with a track called "The End." So, for Roy, the end actually becomes a beginning with a new recording for 2018. The song has a T-Rex feel. Lyrically, Roy seems to be singing about a relationship, be it romantic or creative, that teetered on the precipice of greatness only to implode. "Same Old Thing" has a cool, downbeat feeling. Musically and vocally, it will turn those on who dig Jakob Dylan or Tom Petty. It is a powerful song of regret that highlights what I have always called Roy's painterly style of guitar playing. "Impossible Ways” is vocally strong with a ‘60s pop feel. "Mr. Berserk" is someone we all know; he tries to come off as if he has it all under control, but blows up like a grenade with any or no provocation. These are some of Roy's best lyrics, where he sings of "Mr. Berserk" being followed around by a shadow that cannot be escaped. "Moving to L.A." is something I can relate to after a bad fall on the ice in Boston last winter. The track has a lovely vocal, melody, and arrangement. The music and lyrics touch the listener with an amalgam of wistfulness and wanderlust: "I can't believe/I've stayed here so long/It makes no sense/Once the summer's gone/It seems I don't know/Why I'm here at all/And I can hear that balmy West Coast call." "Point Of No Return" has a Bob Dylan/Tom Petty style vocal and overall vibe. "All The Time That Never Was" has a feeling of sadness and regret over real or perceived unrealized potential. Roy describes it as "pining for things that you know are never going to happen." This concept has resonance for me as I have been troubled by my own sense of unrealized potential. “Thin Air" has the message of striking back and ultimately surviving creatively against the threat of obsolescence. "A Reason to Live" speaks of the renewal of hope and life in the face of the increasing pressure of time and mortality. This track is fast paced, energetic, and the catchiest of the bunch along with the closer, "The Bright Side." As with "A Reason to Live," on "World Run Wild," Roy's musical mojo is at full force as he sings" My mind is on fire." So is his guitar! "The Bright Side" is a shimmering, jingle jangle power pop track in a Byrds/Dwight Twilley Band vein. When I spoke to Roy about the recording, I mentioned that I always thought he was the George Harrison of the Boston-based bands Fox Pass and Tom Dickie and the Desires. Roy showed he understood what I meant by responding by saying "dark horse." (In addition to the dictionary definition, Dark Horse was Harrison's record label.) The Bright Side is a powerful follow up to Roy's 2015 release Eclectricity.

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