Interview: Guitarist Mike Oram on pulling double duty in the Rock And Roll Rumble semi-finals

One of the cooler subplots to emerge in this year’s Rock And Roll Rumble has been the double-hustle of Mike Oram. The guitarist and Hudson native has already hit the Once Ballroom stage twice during preliminary week, first with Eric Salt & The Electric City on Night 2, and then with Abbie Barrett three nights later.

Barrett won her night outright, advancing to Friday’s semi-final alongside Worshipper and usLights, the first of two shows in the Rumble’s second round. But on Sunday night, Oram’s plans suddenly got busier, as Eric Salt & the Electric City were named on WZLX’s Boston Emissions by host and curator Anngelle Wood as a wild card band, slotting on the same night as Barrett and creating a whole new breed of intra-band rivalry.

Naturally, we reached out to Oram and asked him about his feelings on Friday, and what might happen if one of his bands wins their semi-final show and the other takes the wild card, setting up A Very Mike Oram finale come April 22. Maybe he’ll join Rumble guest band Scissorfight between now and then.

Michael Marotta: Did you think going into the Rumble that both bands would advance?

Mike Oram: I knew that Abbie and Salt are two of the best songwriters around and that if my bandmates and I played up to that same greatness, both bands had a good chance. Plus, I asked my magic 8-ball, which replied “Reply hazy, try again” and then “It is decidedly so.” So I knew it had to be right.

Were both Abbie Barrett and Eric Salt cool with you pulling double duty?

They weren’t at first, so they decided to arm-wrestle for it; Salt’s massive guns and Abbie’s long reach would prove to be an epic match. After a few grueling seconds of no clear winner, they both decided to concede and allow me to proceed with both bands.

Have any band members bribed you to “throw” the other band’s set?

Eric Anderson, bass player for Salt, lives on a farm with chickens (I think he actually lives in a house on the farm, separate from the chickens, but I haven’t seen for myself). As such, he has offered me five dozen eggs to throw Abbie’s set. I’m not sure if he means I should throw eggs during Abbie’s set or if I should tank it musically, but at this point I’m still awaiting a counter-bribe from the Barrett camp.

Would you take bribes at this point?

Yes, but only in the form of throw-able food.

Are you intimidated at all about playing two sets in one night at the Rumble?

I’m just going to picture the audience members in their underwear. In fact, if people want to just show up in their skivvies, that would be helpful.

If Eric Salt and Abbie Barrett both advance to the final, should this Rumble be re-named the Mike Oram Rumble?

Hold on — let me ask…ok, 8 ball says “As I see it, yes.”

Who do you like winning the non-Mike Oram Division (Semis Night 2)?

All the bands are so good! I’ll go with The Devil’s Twins because everybody loves an underdog (wildcard)!

What has been your Rumble 2016 highlight so far?

The Abbie “Long-Arm” Barrett/Eric “Sun’s Out” Salt guns battle, 2016! My lame jokes aside, it’s been a lot of fun making new friends and seeing all this talent in one room. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the bands play their hearts out.

For our complete Rock And Roll Rumble coverage, click here.