Singer / Songwriter / Guitar Player
A powerhouse performer delivering a high octane blend of blues and rock from acoustic to electric. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark and raised in Southern California, Mike began playing the guitar at the age of ten upon receiving his first guitar - a Stella Harmony acoustic as a birthday gift from his father. Inspired by the rock guitar heavyweights of the seventies, such as Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page and Michael Schenker and with a relentless desire to emulate his guitar heroes, Mike would go on to form Euphoria in the summer of 1976 in Manhattan Beach, California. A three piece hard rock band which he co-founded with James Ludwig Leece on drums and Mark Meznarich on bass guitar and vocals.
Euphoria quickly became a premier act on the L.A. music scene with Mike's trademark Flying V guitar attack and soaring vocals, Mark's driving yet melodic signature Rickenbacker bass playing and Jimmy's powerful "over the top" drum solo's reminiscent of John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Bill Ward of Black Sabbath. Euphoria had set their sights on playing to as many people as possible, sometimes playing two shows a day and giving fans their all in performances that captured their unique hard rock sound and an explosive live show that made you feel like you were at Madison Square Garden.
Always on the cutting edge of self promotion, Euphoria were gaining a reputation for their creative marketing idea's such as dropping flyers from a Helicopter over Anaheim Stadium and playing countless high school and college day gigs, and those efforts paid off by way of sell out shows and new fans. Euphoria were approached by legendary producer Phil Spector to appear on a new TV show called "Win the Jam", invited to play on the cruise ship "Queen Mary" and Jimmy even caught the attention of arena rockers KISS after their management spotted him at a drum-off competition in Hollywood where they were looking to audition a replacement for original drummer Peter Criss, although the gig eventually went to Eric Carr. The added publicity and their never ending promotional efforts allowed Euphoria to become one of the front runners on the Hollywood scene at the start of the eighties, attracting the top local promoters and the opportunity to open for Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken and other up and coming groups, appearing at such famed venues as The Whisky A Go-Go, The Roxy Theatre and Doug Weston's Troubadour.
With the new addition of Ed Markellos on guitar and vocals-a well seasoned musician from the local music scene, Euphoria evolved to become a four piece band that was like a runaway train with the addition of Ed's guitar ratcheting the band's sound up a notch. This allowed them the ability to expand their songwriting and give the band with their dual guitars a more dynamic and full sound, and the band rocked on with non-stop performances. Yet after five amazing years as Euphoria's bass player, Mark had decided to relocate to Montana to pursue a new musical venture and leave behind the fast pace L.A. lifestyle. Brian Soule was recruited on bass guitar upon the recommendation of Ed, since they had both played together in other up and coming bands. But not long afterward Jimmy decided to go on to other solo projects as well. Realizing they needed to take the band in a new musical direction and embracing the aggressive twin guitars of Ed and Mike they formed a new group called Assault in 1984 after spotting the name of the Michael Schenker Group's new album "Assault Attack" on a billboard on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.
Assault immediately hit the circuit with new drummer Mark Esquer a powerful player in the style of Tommy Aldridge, becoming known as a hard act to follow, Assault delivered and promoters took note, getting bookings other acts had wished for. An appearance on Wally George's "Hot Seat" TV Show gave them big exposure and the band played to ever growing crowds. Assault were driven, being courted by the top booking agents and billed at some of the biggest venues, opening for newly signed bands such as W.A.S.P. and Great White, yet after extensive gigging and the inevitable line up changes Mike carried on with Mark and local favorites guitarist Michael Curry and Tim Knowles on bass and vocals. Writing new material, developing a new stage show and hitting the streets with a marketing blitz gave the band big buzz and new fans. Radio took note as well with KLOS and KNAC playing songs from the group. They say hard work pays off and it sure did as was evident as Assault became a top draw on the Hollywood scene garnering rave reviews.
Good things don't always last and with Tim's departure and Michael moving back to Iowa, Mike reconnected with Ed and along with new Assault drummer Clay Guinaldo, the driving force behind the skins and the addition of bass player Dave Dejernett the band was now back on track! Assault received heavy airplay on local radio with the song "Lady Killer" which was released on CD in 1993 by Westar Records in Hollywood, with non-stop shows, including benefits for KNAC radio, live guest appearances from Don Dokken and Bobby Blotzer of RATT joining the band onstage for encores and even Ed co-writing songs with Herman Rarebell-drummer for the Scorpions which were performed in Assault's live shows-the band was tearing it up!
This winning combination of Mike's vocals and his guitar duels with Ed, along with the pounding intensity of Dave and Clay made for some powerful live performances. Wanting to expand to a five piece band and have Mike transition to lead singer and front man, Ted Ogley joined as Assault's new guitarist alongside Ed, yet after a good run and many great shows, Ted left the group and Mike returned back to singing and guitar duties, Re-energized, the band focused on recording new material along with their most popular live songs on the studio recording 'Rough Tracks", but with the music scene changing and an influx of new bands taking over the Sunset Strip-it was time for Mike to move on as well.
Upon relocating to the Pacific Northwest in 2003 and teaming up with longtime friend and singer/guitarist Ric Trinkle and his popular band "Off The Record" Mike quickly adapted to his new band mates in Vancouver, Washington. Featuring bass player and multi-instrumentalist Randy Kraut and Cliff Van Brunt on drums and backing vocals, their distinctive blend of rock and blues was a great fit for Mike and a chance to expand his guitar playing as well. Alternating singing duties between Ric, Mike and Randy gave the band a wide array of songs to choose from as well as the variety of artists they covered. The band was hitting on all cylinders and their energy was contagious. With a desire to go out and play their acoustic material as well, Ric and Mike found a receptive audience to their take on classic rock, blues and original material reminiscent of Tesla's Five Man Acoustical Jam release while still performing electric with the band between acoustic shows.
After a successful run with "Off The Record" in the Paciic Northwest, the road beckoned again in 2005 as Mike made his new home in Arizona. With a great music scene covering intimate acoustic venues to hard rocking clubs and concerts it was time to kick it in to high gear! Mike went out and rocked as guitarist/singer with various local bands including Black Mountain Ambush-a local favorite in the valley and performed acoustic hits on the Phoenix music scene covering everything from Bon Jovi to The Beatles-at the same time also playing live with members of Foreigner, Alice Cooper, Whitesnake and alongside some of the best blues players in the Southwest.
The year 2017 saw the formation of Midnight Rebel, the combined talents of Mike on lead vocals and guitar, Dave Dejernett on bass guitar and vocals from the band Assault along with James Ludwig Leece on drums and vocals from Euphoria. Captivating the crowd with their explosive delivery of classic rock hits from the seventies and eighties, Midnight Rebel took to the streets with a busy schedule of dates from California, Utah and Arizona. and hasn't let up. 2023 will see the band showcasing new music and special guest appearances.
With a renewed focus now on showcasing his new original songs-peppered with some classic cover tunes on his acoustic and electric-its like coming full circle back to when his father gave him a simple choice when he turned ten years old-a camera or a guitar?- well you know the rest! Mike is always finding new ways to excite his audience and his diverse talent and energy is setting the stage for what promises to be great things to come.
See You At The Next Show