Jesse Michaels

Jesse Michaels was the lead singer of Operation Ivy. His voice communicated the energy of a genre... the positive energy.

After Operation Ivy, Jesse Michaels kinda retreated into his own little world, and disappeared from the punk scene. He joined Big Rig in about 1993, but thats about it. Then, in 1999, he formed a band called Common Rider as a vehicle to put forth songs he had written since OPIV. Jesse plays guitar in this band as well as sings. The backing members are Mass Giorgini on bass and Dan Lumley on drums, both of Squirtgun and Screeching Weasel fame.

Here's a letter Jesse wrote telling what he's been doing since OPIV:

Dear friends of Operation Ivy:

Over the years it has become obvious that interest in Operation Ivy is not declining.. For personal reasons I have chosen to stay out of the limelight, but I decided to make this letter available to answer certain questions that people ask me all the time.

A) Why did OPIVY break up? Mainly because of band conflicts. I left the band because of a few issues, many of which I don't even remember, which seemed unresolvable. It's not really my place to hash them out in public but I will say that over the years I have come to realize my part in creating some of the problems.

B) Are you still playing music? I am still writing music, but not in a band. I may do something in the future, but it probably wouldn't be a straight punk band.

C)Any chance of an Operation Ivy reunion? Although it would be fun, I've always respected bands that end clean. Anything can happen, but I think it would show more class not to.

D)What do you think of Rancid? I think they are great. Tim Armstrong is one of the best songwriters I have ever heard. You can not fuck with their rhythm section. Lars is awesome. I think they deserve every bit of success they have achieved.

E) What have you been doing since Operation Ivy broke up? After Operation Ivy broke up I went through a period where I was into more negative type punk bands such as The Germs. It was fun but I gradually became interested in not waking up in a puddle of vomit and so I decided to get my shit together. I got heavily into Zen Buddhism for a while in 1992 and even became a monk for about 6 months. From this experience I learned the deep spiritual truth that it is cold as shit at four a.m. when you're wearing a silly robe. Currently I am learning how to play guitar, taking a class, and continuing to do art for Lookout. I am mainly writing this to clear a couple of absurd rumors ( although it's tempting to just let them fester ).

F) What do you think of all this shit? I think that it's great. I often ask myself how I got so lucky to be part of something so cool- especially something which seem s to be meaningful to other people. In spite of problems we were always extremely passionate and united in playing the music. The exhilaration and love I felt when we were playing is beyond explanation. Of course I'm thrilled and very grateful that lots o f other people understood and participated. I hope this answers some of the questions people have about Operation Ivy. Allthough I am not currently active in the punk scene I still stand by all of my lyrics and the essential message which I think is basical ly: Think for yourself, have hope, don't forget to have fun!

Yours in unity and gratitude, Jesse Michaels. Go Back

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