METAL MIKE - ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
Mike explains beginnings of his metal journey in his own words.
“I was born in Warsaw, Poland during the Cold War, so I’d walk past Russian tanks every day on my way to school,” Mike recalls. “My family got out of there in ’84 and moved to New Jersey, USA. I was 14, I had no idea how to speak English and I basically learned by reading the TV Guide – I would sit there with a Polish dictionary and translate it so I’d know what was on TV!”
“When I was a little kid all I wanted was a little Walkman radio so I could walk around and listen to music all the time,” Mike continues. “I finally got one when we came to America and that’s how I discovered heavy metal – a local radio station played Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne and I instantly fell in love with it! Once I heard Randy Rhoads and then Yngwie Malmsteen, I got the guitar bug and I knew what I was going to do, there wasn’t even a question for me! My mom bought me my first guitar and then I saved my lunch money, delivered newspapers and worked any odd job I could to save for a distortion pedal or things like that. I was totally dedicated and when I heard that in the late 90’s former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford was looking for a guitarist, I auditioned and got it!” enthuses Mike.
The rest as they say is metal history.
But, the already incredible tale gets even more fascinating.
Today, the affable guitar shredder is without doubt one of the hardest working and respected heavy metal guitarists of today’s generation. Named by Halford as Metal Mike due to his intense passion for metal, Metal Mike is most commonly known as the guitarist who helped JUDAS PRIEST vocalist ROB HALFORD reclaim and hold his status as the true Metal God. Metal Mike is the guitarist for Rob Halford’s endeavor HALFORD. Metal Mike has written and appeared on all Halford Metal-is/Sanctuary Records label recordings Resurrection (2000), Live Insurrection (2001), Crucible (2002) and Fourging The Furnace (2003). Well past a million units sales mark, above efforts thrust Metal Mike into the international spotlight.
Metal Mike toured the world several times over with Halford along Iron Maiden, Queensryche and many more. Frequently sold out festivals, headlining stadiums with Slayer, a sold out date at Madison Square Garden in 2000 and the famous Rock In Rio Festival in Brazil with over 350,000 people in attendance, where only few of the highlights spotlighting what many consider to be one of the premiere Metal bands in the world. And, who could forget the night when Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Queensryche’s Geoff Tate and The Metal God himself annihilated London’s Astoria when all three singers performed The One You Love To Hate from Halford’s Resurrection. Armed with machine gun technique and imaginative, highly recognizable guitar style Mike has been dubbed by many as Rob Halford’s “Randy Rhoads”.
In addition to being a guitar slingman to one of heavy metal’s premiere vocalists, in 2004 Metal Mike presented his solo band endeavor Metal Mike’s PAINMUSEUM, whose debut album Metal For Life enjoyed much attention and critical acclaim from the Metal community. Metal For Life has seen a worldwide 2005 release through Demolition Records via Universal Music Distribution/ UMVD. Metal For Life is mixed by Roy Z. (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Helloween, Halford) and the musician line-up features Metal Mike’s Halford stage mate Bobby Jarzombek, (Halford, Iced Earth, Sebastian Bach, Fates Warning), Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Sadus, Death) and vocal power demon Tim Clayborne. Metal Mike’s PainmuseuM has toured internationally along Halford, Testament and Immortal to name a few. Rave reviews met the release across the globe with a prominent German publication HEAVY Oder Was? concluding PainmuseuM to be A band that finally delivered an album in the tradition of Pantera’s Vulgar Display Of Power and Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes. Any questions?
A scholarship graduate of Berklee College of Music, Metal Mike has also released 3 solo instrumental albums Grind Textural Abstraction (1996), Territory: Guitar Kill!!, (2000) and The Spilling (2001).
2004 marked the year of Rob Halford’s return to the mighty Judas Priest. Mike, in turn, embarked on two popular US guitar clinic tours across Sam Ash and Guitar Center locations. The tours dubbed Flurry Of The Black Notes I & II were sponsored by Jackson Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Seymour Duncan Pick-ups, TKL Cases and Morley Effects. During his stops, Mike delivered live performances and held Metal guitar master classes. In the next couple of months internet rumors proved to be true as Mike has been enlisted by Bay Area Thrash legends TESTAMENT as the new lead guitarist. Metal Mike joined Testament for 2004 tour where the band headlined select US dates and hit major festivals all over Europe and Scandinavia, sharing bills with Alice Copper, Scorpions, Motorhead and Judas Priest. Mike rounded off an already stellar line-up of Chuck Billy, Eric Peterson, Steve DiGiorgio and former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph.
In 2005 Metal Mike has joined forces with SEBASTIAN BACH, the voice of multi-platinum SKID ROW. After successful European festival tours sharing bills with Motley Crue, Dio and Accept, Sebastian Bach armed with Metal Mike tapped Judas Priest/Halford/Bruce Dickinson producer Roy Z and entered California’s famed Sound City Studio to record Sebastian’s new studio release Angel Down.
A lot earlier than some might have expected however, Heavy Metal world received surprising news that Metal Mike once again has reunited with the Metal God for a new HALFORD studio album.
Mid 2006, Metal Mike’s PAINMUSEUM delivered us another stellar release You Have The Right To Remain Violent, an enhanced EP released exclusively via Mike’s own imprint C.M.M. Entertainment. Remaining of 2006 saw Metal Mike as busy as ever. Immediately after concluding PAINMUSEUM’s headlining East Coast Violence 2006 tour, Mike joined SEBASTIAN BACH on the Japanese festival tour along Kiss, Alice In Chains, Godsmack, Steve Vai and the arena ridden sold-out GUNS N’ ROSES North American, Canadian and European trek where Axl Rose himself has invited the SEBASTIAN BACH band as the support.
Reaching in total over 900,000 people and stopping at the sold-out venues of London’s Wembley Arena and New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the tour was among the highest grossing and attended of 2006.
In 2007, Metal Mike introduced Ridiculous Riffs For The Terrifying Guitarist and Monster Coordination – Guitar Boot Camp guitar instruction books. Quickly embraced by heavy metal minded guitarists across the world the publications are comprehensive teaching guides for dedicated rockers at all levels. During the Summer of 2007, Mike embarked on a Digitech sponsored clinic tour performing on the Digitech Truck – a 50 foot truck furnished with its own stage, lounge area and the latest effects from effects manufacturer.
Later part of 2007 saw Metal Mike once again along Sebastian for a successful tour of Japan, Turkey, Italy, Spain and another sold-out arena trek along GUNS N’ ROSES across Australia and New Zealand. November 20, 2007 delivered us Sebastian Bach’s Angel Down album on MRV/ EMI Music label. Guns N’ Roses’ AXL ROSE himself delivered vocals on three of the albums fourteen tracks solidifying the long awaited release’s place in rock n roll history.
Early 2008 saw Metal Mike join the cast of FUSE TV’s Talking Metal On Fuse show based on the #1 downloaded podcast in the world under the rock and metal category. A fan favorite, Talking Metal On Fuse was among the top rated shows of 2008 on the channel.
Later in the year, Sebastian Bach continued its touring across Europe and Australia, ultimately ending the year with a slot on POISON’s Live, Raw and Un-Cut tour. A Best Buy exclusive Angel Down/Roadrage CD/DVD (2008) package via MRV/EMI Music accompanied the tour. The band ultimately ended 2008 touring with an invitation only show at the PLAYBOY Mansion.
In the meantime within the Halford camp, Metal Mike has appeared on the “Best Off” Metal God Essentials Volume 1 (2007) and Winter Songs (2009) releases via Halford’s very own Metal God Entertainment distributed globally by Fontana – Universal and Sony Japan. Additionally, Metal God Entertainment also re-issued and brought us several now classic Halford albums Resurrection (2006), Live Insurrection (2009) and Crucible (2010) in addition to new titles Forgotten Generation single (2006), Silent Screams EP (2007) and the highly anticipated Resurrection World Tour - Live At Rock In Rio III (2008) DVD/Blu Ray.
2010 was another busy year for the prolific guitarist. Metal Mike commenced work on his solo album The Metalworker. Mike’s new solo band featuring vocal phenomenon Carlos Zema debuted while supporting German metallers PRIMAL FEAR on their The Fear Is Here 2010 North American tour.
Halford’s Live In Anaheim DVD (Metal God Records/Fontana – Universal/Sony Japan) and Live In Anaheim – Original Soundtrack (Metal God Records/Fontana – Universal/Sony Japan) double live album released the same year.
In 2010, Halford further returned with their new studio album IV- Made Of Metal (Metal God Records/Fontana – Universal/Sony Japan) to be followed by a co-headline spot on the OZZFEST 2010 tour w. Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and Black Label Society. Following Ozzfest, the band traveled to perform sold out shows in Japan, Peru, Brasil, Chile and Argertina before teaming up once again with The Prince Of Darkness himself OZZY OSBOURNE on the highly successful 2010 North American “Scream” arena tour. The tour’s stop in NYC at Madison Square Garden marked the third time Mike has played the famed venue. A dream come true to say the least.
In 2011, Mike released his first literary book This River Shall Burn. Dark, tormented and introspective, This River Shall Burn delivered a collection of lyric like poems. During the Summer of 2011, Mike hosted a Metal Camp located at School Of Rock’s own Chatham, NJ location. Featuring classic songs by famed metal bands, camp’s final night ended with Mike performing live with the young students to a packed house at Sam Ash in Springfield, NJ.
Further in 2011, Halford has released a DVD/Blu Ray package Live At Saitama Super Arena (Metal God Records/Fontana – Universal/Sony Japan) as well as the live album Live At Saitama Super Arena – Original Soundtrack (Metal God Records/Fontana – Universal/Sony Japan). The same year world’s leading guitar publication GUITAR WORLD has asked Metal Mike to pen his own monthly guitar column. Simply called Metal For Life, Mike’s column has found an avid following and much appreciation from metal guitar players young and old alike. Mike additionally contributes special projects to the magazine including features such as The Big 10 – 10 Metal Riffs You Must Know and Lick Of The Day - 20 Essential Metal Licks.
Mike appears in MTV/ VH-1 Halford videos Made In Hell, Cyberworld, Betrayal, In The Morning, Forgotten Generation, Get Into The Spirit, Made Of Metal, Like There’s No Tomorrow, PainmuseuM’s Speak The Name and Sebastian Bach’s Love Is A Bitch Slap.
In 2012, being the metalaholic he is, Metal Mike has released his latest digital only EP This Is War to outstanding critical and fan acclaim. Halford released a new live album Live In London.
Additionally, Metal Mike has teamed up with School Of Rock to lead an annual Summer Metal Camp – Mayhem In The Mountains. A first of its kind, Metal Camp provides an exciting new venue for young metallers from all over the world to spend part of their Summer studying, learning and performing heavy metal. In 2013, Time Out New York Magazine called the camp one of the top summer camps in the New York area. The camp is a perfect medium for Mike to share his experience and love for the guitar, but just as importantly it is also an opportunity for Mike to positively influence young adults through the shared passion of heavy metal.
Metal Mike’s highly awaited solo album The Metalworker was released in June 2013 on Mike's own imprint CMM Entertainment. It was preceded by Metal For Life guitar instructional DVD released by Guitar World.
While there are many hopefuls, Metal Mike holds his fist firmly on the guitar throne of the new millennium.