I'd been aware of his first band, Another Pretty Face who'd released a couple of singles including "All The Boys Love Carrie",
and had recorded songs for a Virgin Records album that was never to see the light of day and I had featured Funhouse, his previous incarnation, in an earlier fanzine, on the release of their only single "Out Of Control"
but Mike worried that the word "essential" wasn't strong enough as he was after someone who shared the values he held which discovery of Patti Smith had confirmed when he was younger (he was 24 at the time of our meeting) not just someone who liked her. This was the first time I'd spoken at length to someone with such an all encompassing connection with a single artist.
"I don't actually listen to Patti Smith all that much. I mean you must have records that hit you so much you don't listen to them very often? The most important ones? Like "Easter" by Patti Smith, which is just about my favourite record. I listen to that about once every two years when I really feel it's right to listen to it." To which I replied that I, of course, listened to my favourite records constantly - but I was a mere youth of 21 and it needed the wiser older head to advise me that by the time I hit the magical age of 24, I'd come to understand what he meant. Quite how old I actually was when it finally hit home I don't recall, but suffice to say that he did not lie.
Inevitably, through his association with Nikki Sudden whose first solo album "The Bible Belt" Mike played on and part co-produced (this was when he'd first come into contact with Anthony Thistlethwaite who played sax on Nikki's album, and with whom Mike formed the briefly surviving The Red And The Black before adding him to the Waterboys roster)
Anto and Mike (from http://www.mikescottwaterboys.com/)
I kept up a loose kind of contact with Mike that continues to this day. I reminded him a few months back that he'd played piano and produced a song called "Sparrows" by the Rag Dolls that appeared on the very first record I put out with the What A Nice Way.... fanzine. Understandably perhaps, he'd long since forgotten this.
He's pretty active on Twitter these days - @MickPuck - and next year sees the Waterboys bring their much lauded "An Appointment With Mr Yeats" show to the Glasgow, Liverpool, Coventry and London in January and February.
**From what I recall, I believe Mike eventually settled for taking on guitar duties single handedly (no other Patti Smth visionaries to be found?) and it was another NME advert that saw the arrival of keyboardist Karl Wallinger. That is another story entirely of course.