It’s not everyday that someone as resilient as Jon Mikl Thor comes along in the music industry. The enigmatic performer, once crowned Mr. Canada for his body-building victories, later decided to set his sights on becoming a rock star. The lows may have often matched the highs, but nothing yet has been able to break the man’s spirit.
I was able to catch up with Thor halfway through his current tour. We spoke about the road, his accomplishments and failures, how he views himself in the grand scheme and what it took to stop him from throwing in the towel when all hope seemed lost.
Of course, we had to start with the Netflix documentary, I am Thor.
“We were on tour, back in 1999. We played a big show in Seattle and there were some film producers in the audience that were blown away by the performance. They approached me about making a documentary which I thought would take two or three years, but ended up taking 15 years to complete,” said Thor.
“They followed me all around the world, through the good times and bad and that’s kind of how it all happened.”
I asked if the film brought with it a career rebirth and new fanbase.
“I have noticed a lot of people coming out to shows on the tour because they saw the documentary on Netflix. It’s brought a mainstream awareness to the act Thor.”
The documentary shows many career lows and I asked what kept him going through the tougher times.
“The audience and the band. They keep you going. Without the band [I am] nothing. It’s the enthusiasm and the energy I get when I perform on stage, and all the people singing along with [me]. They buy the records, they know all the lyrics. It’s just an incredible experience.”
As THOR is a pioneer of the Power Metal genre, I ask what bands/artists he was listening to and who inspired him while he was coming up with his persona.
“I have been in the industry for five decades of rock. When I was very young I played the accordion. When I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan I quickly transferred over to playing guitar. My early influences were The Beatles, and The Doors. Then it became Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as music got heavier. [This led to] glam rock of the early 70’s like Bowie and Alice Cooper. They influenced me to want a theatrical show with the music.”
With all the things he has accomplished I asked him if he is able to pinpoint a single moment as the highlight of his career.
“As far as music goes, the time we went over to England and played a show where Jimmy Page, a hero of mine, was in the audience really digging the show.”
“Outside of music, I combined music with marketing when I owned the logos and design of the hockey team, the Vancouver Millionaires. They won the Stanley Cup back in 1915 and I ended up selling the trademarks to the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks. Then I got to see my Jersey worn by the team in front of 60,000 people.”
I asked what he hopes to have accomplished once his career is all said and done. How he hopes people look back on it.
“The thing is, it’s never over and it never will be over. When I go and do these shows now, it’s not like we are a retro band. The audience is very young and in their 20’s and 30’s. It will keep going whether I do it or not.There are holograms out there now. I could be a hologram. So Thor will never stop”
If Thor will never stop, what’s next?
“With the success of I am Thor, which won numerous awards and became quite popular, we are working on the sequel to that called Return of the Thunderhawk. The record company is excited about more albums, more movies and repackaging old albums and lost treasures.”
“There is plenty to keep me busy and I am at the peak of my life. I am excited about the future and touring and my show November 25th in Windsor, Ontario at The Windsor Beer Exchange”
For more information on the show: