Mike’s first musical memory was hearing his mother play the piano. She caught him listening and sat him down at the piano and showed him a couple of fingering positions for Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata and Für Elise. This classical beginning led to lessons and an interest in all styles of music. 

When his older brother began playing the piano, Mike turned to the guitar, which mysteriously showed up in the house. 

When they got older, his brother introduced him to his favorite artists and took Mike to a number of concerts: John Hammond, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, Big Momma Thornton, Big Joe Williams, John Fahey, Bert Jansch. 

Seeing John Hammond when he was a sophomore in high school inspired Mike because it was the first time he had seen a man with a guitar and a harmonica and a whole lot of soul, punchhing it out on stage and moving the whole crowd. 

Mike then went on to find his own people: Leo Kottke, John Mayall, Taj Mahal, Hot Tuna, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Winter, Crosby Stills and Nash and Neil Young. 

His music was heavily influenced by his time in Hawaii. He loved slack-key guitar. The people were warm and inviting and he learned to sit back and listen and let the music speak it’s own story. They traded styles: he taught them country picking, open-tuning slide guitar finger-style. 

He learned to love the music of Maui: Gabby Pahinui, Beamer brothers, Olamana and random locals he met. In person, he saw Gabby and partied with him at a luau. He met Danny from the group Olamana and they exchanged riffs. He met many musicians passing through Maui: Leo Kottke, Kenny Rankin, Batdorff and Rodney. He met Dee Murray from Elton John’s band and saw Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell at Nick’s Fish Market. 

He tried different musical stylings with a friend he had met in Hawaii and tried to jump on board with some of that but found it wasn’t his style and he couldn’t do it. He found his musical voice was the instrumental style, slack-key and slide. 

In the mid to late 1980s, he played music at the Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon with his young family. They also performed at state fairs and events, got on TV once or twice and even made the front page of the New York Times entertainment section. 

After being introduced to Eric Clapton’s music, he began learning that style and the next thing he knew he was playing Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Mike had been playing around twenty years in the mid 1990s when he started playing the Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute show. He heard Riviera Paradise on the radio at work and it just stopped in his tracks. He did the Stevie show for four years, from 1997-2001.

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