Mike has been playing guitar for around 30 years after he took up the instrument at school at the age of 12 and is totally self-taught. Naming his guitar influences as Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, Steve Howe, Tommy Emmanuel and Gordon Giltrap, Mike has developed his very own polished fingerstyle technique to his guitar playing.
In 2008, after many years as a ‘home guitarist’ crafting his skills and generally playing for fun, he teamed up with bassist Mark Mace (previously of BANJAXELD) and drummer Geoff Elverstone (THE PUNCTURES) to form a 3 piece ‘WHO tribute’ group ‘WHOS THERE’ which played a number of local venues in and around the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth area from 2008-2009. The group members eventually moved on to other separate projects, but it gave Mike his first taste of live gigging as a guitarist and frontman…the seed was sown!
After moving to South Norfolk in 2011, Mike continued to maintain his close ties with Lowestoft and regularly did solo guitar pub performances in the town.In 2013, Mike’s personal musician profile was spotted online by local Norwich Blues Band ‘OUTATHABLUES’ and he then joined bassist Dave Thomas, guitarist Tracey Brown, and vocalist Jade Grand, as a member of the long running old style blues band as their rhythm guitarist and vocalist. Some notable gigs were at Dereham Blues Festival, and Trunchonbury Festival. Mike’s guitar style being reminiscent of old time 1930’s blues musicians like Blind Boy Fuller and Bo Carter which fitted into their style and genre.
Around 2014, wanting to develop his music talents further, Mike began to teach himself the mandolin and harmonica, whereupon, his updated musician profile online, this time caught the eye of Regional Ceilidh Folk Group ‘WILLOWSPIN’ which recruited Mike as a ‘supply’ musician to be called in to play guitar and mandolin at wedding functions for the band on an ad hoc basis which he still does each year. In early 2016, Mike parted company with OUTATHABLUES and together with vocalist Jade Grand (LEE VASEY BIG BAND) multi-instrumentalist Ben Glover (WILLOWSPIN) bassist Dan Earp, and Drummers Matt Furness (GROOVEPOLITAN) and Alex Findlow (GROOVE-JAM) formed GOLDRUSHA - continuing with the blues theme, but also bringing in modern numbers with their own style of musical delivery. Mike continues to support The National Trust every year by bringing GOLDRUSHA to Blickling Hall in Norfolk for their annual Blues Festival in May, and has also recently performed with GOLDRUSHA at the 2017 Dereham Blues Festival. Over the past 4 years, due to his regular annual attendance at the Cambridge Folk Festival, Mike has been regularly networking and making new contacts with musicians from around the country, and continues to develop his own skills in writing own songs and contributes songs.
In April 2017 whilst attending a Celtic Folk Music session in Lowestoft, Mike’s guitar playing caught the eye of Lesley and Mario who invited Mike to rehearse and become the guitarist for ZINGARO BLUE. ‘Entertain you with the Blues’ and ‘Tale of Louisa Heartwell’ into the ZINGARO BLUE regular repertoire.
Mike Says…..‘My musical journey over the past few years has been amazing. I have built up such a fantastic network of musicians and friends through my love of different styles of music. I guess you have to remain open to new and different ideas, listen to others, think about what could or couldn’t work, and sometimes as they say ‘less is more’. More importantly, have fun and enjoy making music. I am very pleased to be part of ZINGARO BLUE and the wealth of knowledge and experience we all have is second to none. This is truly evident in the delivery of our songs, videos, rehearsals, and live performances.
I want to thank Lesley and Mario for all their continued support, nurturing and input into my musical contributions. Thanks also to Billy Lund Snr for taking the plunge and answering my advert for a bassist! And final thanks to drummer Gary Drew whose ongoing enthusiasm never wains, and for keeping us entertained with the occasional river-dancing and belly-drumming!
Finally I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support and attendance at our performances, but particularly to my wife Hazel for her ongoing support with my music, and keeping me on a strict ‘one in, one out’ policy on ownership of any new guitars and mandolins….!