If you’re looking to listen to some live music, Mike Mok and the Em-Tones are on the Island for their summer visit, and this time they’re playing at several venues. You’ll have a chance to listen — and dance — on Thursday, August 10, at 8 pm at the Ritz in Oak Bluffs, on Friday, August 11, at 3:30 pm at the West Tisbury library, followed by a show at the VFW in Oak Bluffs at 6 pm, and your last chance will be Saturday, August 12, at 8 pm at the Portuguese-American Club.
The Times caught up with Mike Mok last week, and he told us he’s excited to play the Island, especially with the group’s newest member, guitarist extraordinaire Simon Chardiet. The Em-Tones include Chardiet, Greg Albert, and J.J. Murphy. The band has toured Europe more than a few times.
“Simon and I go really far back,” Mok said. “He toured with me in Europe before, and is now a full member. We all live in New York.”
Mok, who lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with his family, teaches music in the public school system. “I went back to college when I was 40,” he explains, “and as I was working as a teacher, I got into this groove playing weekends and up here in summer. I teach kids from 3 to 11 years old. I told my wife the kids say, You’re the best music teacher, and I also say ‘I’m their only music teacher.’” The students love music, he says, and he enjoys the fact that music is experiential learning.
Mok has played on the Island many times over the years, and visited for the first time back in 1994. You can expect a mix of blues-type tunes, rock ’n’ roll, and a little jazz when you hear Mok with the Em-Tones. But, he says, it’s definitely dance music. “I love playing here,” he says. “In the end, it’s about the music and friendship, and you see a lot of the same people from year to year. I enjoy hearing the local bands play, too.”
He described the summer crowds as a mix of older folks and then the younger crowd: “It’s like an Irish pub atmosphere.”
If you listen to Mike Mok and the Em-Tones on YouTube, you’ll get the impression that dancing is definitely on the menu when they play live. The addition of Chardiet is a definite plus. He’s played with Dee Dee Ramone, Heavy Trash, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and many more big-league rockers. Mok has known Chardiet since his college days. “I had a radio show,” Mok says, “and became a fan. We lived on the same block, and his rhythm section became my rhythm section. He’s a really hot guitar player, and he’s been on some big stages.”
With all the opportunities coming up, there’s a good chance you’ll see the band next week.