Mike is the drummer for the band. He originally started out in grade school playing trombone and later trumpet. When he was about 15 years old Mike became interested in drums and taught himself how to play listening to recordings and other drummers.
“I remember my parents were always very supportive in everything that I did in music and bought my first set of 1968 Ludwig drums. How they were able to put up with me practicing all the time is beyond me!”
Mike joined his first professional band playing trombone and trumpet when he was 16. This was an 11 piece group called the Bossmen featuring 2 lead singers and 5 horn players. He later joined a group called the Jorrells (another horn band) playing soul and Motown and later made the switch over to drums and started to do more lead vocals.
Mike attended SIU Edwardsville as a Music Education major. “At first, Trombone was my major instrument since I felt that I had more formal training on it but I later decided to switch over to percussion after some encouragement from my friend Jerry Bolen who I studied with at SIU.”
Mike continued to play in local bands throughout the years sometimes playing 5 or more nights a week. Some of the other bands that Mike played with were Alice and Omar, DNA, Rhythm Network, Sage, Second Nature, Encore, and 40 West. In the mid-90’s Mike joined the Bob Kuban band as lead vocalist and percussionist. He worked with the group for over 4 years. “It was a great experience playing with a St. Louis legend like Bob along with his great group of musicians. We played quite a wide variety of venues from playing on the field at Rams football games to playing for the President with Michael McDonald and Kenny G. I had to leave the group in 1999 due to my day job in an IT department keeping me so busy but I still get to occasionally sit in.” For the last several years Mike has been working with various local groups and enjoys playing in the praise band for a local church.
Mike joined Butch Wax & the Hollywoods in March 2012. “Being a former horn player, I’ve always liked working with a horn band. The group has a lot of talent and is very committed. I’ve only played a few jobs with the group at this point in time. The first was opening day for the Cardinals. We ended up getting a little wet but had a lot of fun and I look forward to working with the group in the future.”
Influences: “Many! I always look for opportunities to learn from anything that I listen to. There are so many great players out there plus a lot of DVDs available by artists like Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Jojo Mayer, Tommy Igoe, Tom Sucherman, Steve Smith, etc., etc. I’ll never be at a loss to find new things to learn.”
Equipment: I have various setups including both acoustic and electronic. My main acoustic setup is Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute drums. I use various types and sizes of snares mostly Yamaha or Pearl.
Mike’s 10 Favorite Songs (No particular order):
Every Breath You Take – Sting (The Police)
Peg – Steely Dan
Make Me Smile – Chicago
Got To Get You Into My Life – Earth Wind & Fire (originally The Beatles)
Rosanna – Toto
Breakdown Dead Ahead – Boz Scaggs
Soul Man – Sam and Dave
Homecoming – Yellow Jackets
Knock On Wood – Eddie Floyd
This Love – Maroon 5