All About Mike
Mike has been obsessed with the drums since age eight, and started studying at eleven with Chuck Murphy of Fairfield, CT. In his twenties, he had the honor of studying with master teacher Gary Chester. In addition to being one of the busiest studio drummers in New York City from the late 1950’s to the late 1970's, Gary wrote the revolutionary drum instruction text "The New Breed". Gary changed the way Mike approached playing and teaching the drums in a most profound way. Mike also studied at Indiana University, and with Ed Soph (on faculty at North Texas State University School of Music), and Afro-Cuban drumming great Frankie Malabe.
Mike has played drums in more bands than he can remember, not to mention all the recording sessions! Currently he is a member of MARS Project along with John "Ratso" Gerardi and Angel Rissoff. He can also be seen playing the role of Stewart Copeland in The Police Files, a Police tribute band, along with NYC studio guitar legend Ira Siegel and Jim Keneally.
View Police Files Band Videos
Here is just a sampling of other bands and/or musicians that Mike has performed or recorded with: Arlen Roth; Nick Moroch; Porter Carroll, Jr.; Bobby Brooks Hamilton (Jackie Wilson’s son); "New York Blues Queen" Roxy Perry "In My Sweet Time"; The Long Shadows Band (out of NYC and North Carolina) "Angels in a Battlezone"; Tracey Marble (his most excellent wife!); The Heroes; Otis and The Hurricanes; Margaret McGlinn; Bill Kirchen; Steve Johnson; Dan Hovey; Scott Spray; Johnny "Boots" Giannicchi; "Smooth Jazz" Trumpeter Cindy Bradley; Paul Opalach; Bar Scott "Silence is Broken"; Doug Wahlberg; Shimmy Maki; Lincoln Schleifer; Marvin Stamm; Matt Rae "High Strung"; Kathryn Davies; Tony Ferrigno; Jesse Terry, Andy Abel; Dave Webster (Chris Webby’s dad!)"Dance on the Moon"; Susan Piper "The Truth Comes Out"; Bill Foley "Trials, Tribulations, and Sordid Details"; Artie Tobia; Of "Two Versions"…
Mike has toured throughout the United States and Europe for various bands/clients. He also is a busy producer of up and coming new artists.
Mike has been published in "Modern Drummer" magazine and is known for his rock-solid groove, enthusiasm, love of performing, and seriously high jumps off his drum seat at the end of certain songs!
Mike has taught drums privately for over twenty-five years, and some of his former students include Zac Coe, who played drums on Broadway at age 16 in the show "13" and Tyler Levander, who plays the drums for David Cassidy’s son Beau. Mike’s latest teaching endeavor is online in association with Jazzedge Corp. Their "Piano With Willie" online piano lessons are hugely popular, and Mike hopes that his "Drums With Willie" follows suit.
If you reside in the greater Bridgeport, Connecticut area, Mike will travel to you to give you private drum lessons in the comfort of your own home on your own drums.
You’ve been procrastinating forever, but you’ve finally decided to go for it! Awesome! Playing the drums is a blast! I’ve been playing the drums for over 45 years, and I’m still being challenged, still learning, and still having tons of fun! What are the first steps to take?
Number one: find an excellent drum teacher. A knowledgeable drum teacher can save you a lot of time and spare you from much frustration! Why not benefit from their years of hard practice and experience? Oh, you can’t find a great drum teacher in your area, or studying drums privately is too expensive? Hmm, seems to be a problem. Wait! I’ve got it! Go to www.drumswithwillie.com. That site has all kinds of excellent content! The “Drum Guru” in residence, (yours truly!) will guide you on every step of your drum journey! Very convenient, and much less costly than studying in person.
How about equipment? What should you buy, and how much will it cost?
Okay, here is your beginning drums shopping list:
1.A pair of sticks (5A is a good size to start with), about $9.00
2.A rubber-coated practice pad (“Real Feel” type), about $20.00
3.A quartz metronome, about $25.00
“Wait a minute, Mike ..... This doesn’t seem right, how can I learn to play the drums with a couple of sticks and no drums?” Well, your first task as a new drummer is to learn to control your drum sticks. Without control, you won’t be able to play what you’re hearing in your head! If you want to be a drummer, you must first work on control. Consider the list I provided above your “beginner drummer kit” and once you’ve practiced your way to the next step I’ll have another list for you.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “..but Mike, I’ve been dreaming about this really cool drumset!” Okay, Im right here with you, but it’ll cost you many thousands of dollars! (Just kidding with ya!).
As a novice drummer, assume that you will be re-selling your first set of drums in the near future. Why? Because either you’ll decide that playing the drums isn’t what you imagined it would be, and you’ll stop, or you’ll become increasingly obsessed with practicing and improving, and you’ll quickly grow out of that “starter” drumset you bought just a year (or a few months) ago.
If you buy an relatively inexpensive starter drumset at the outset, you’ll take a big depreciation hit when you go to sell it, as the value of a cheap drumkit goes down substantially as soon as it leaves the music store.
Also, inexpensive drums come with very inexpensive drumheads! The quality of the drumhead has a huge impact on the sound of the drum. It's much better to buy a used medium-priced drum kit, as it’ll sound better than the starter drum kit, and the original owner will pay the depreciation for you. When you sell it in order to upgrade to an even better set of drums, you’ll be able to get back almost what you paid for it!
How much will it a drum kit cost? That depends on a host of variables, such as where you live, the original retail price of the drum kit, what brand/line of cymbals are included (and how many), as quality cymbals can be extremely pricey, how motivated the seller is, etc.
A wise course of action would be to enlist the help of a drum expert … me! I can help you separate the good drum kit deals from the junk on Craigslist or your local newspaper. If you’re patient, you’ll be able to find a drumset you’ll be happy to play, and not have to spend a ton of cash.
Mike For Hire
Need a drummer for live performances? Mike will learn your songs he does his homework and do his best to make you forget he's not your regular drummer. Need drum tracks for your recordings? Mike will travel to the studio where you're tracking (within reason, geographically speaking), or if that's not feasible, will "fly in" great drum tracks from his studio for very affordable rates.