Michael R. Stevenson is the grand-nephew of Fay Wray, the 1930's starlet (of KING KONG fame). He also has a passion for creating great
guitar music. In the 1990's, Michael won the Z-Rock Joe Satriani National Guitar Competition. He won it with a shortened, 30-second
version of his guitar solo showcase, "Lightsaber." He followed that up by opening for some huge rock/metal acts, including Yngwie Malmsteen.
Inspired by being involved with and meeting two of his favorite guitar heroes, Michael then took 12 years off to perfect his technique, study
music theory, and compose.The album, SECRET PLANET, is the result.
"Secret Planet” is Michael R. Stevenson's incredible, all instrumental debut guitar masterpiece! Many listeners have said it’s up there with “Surfin’ with the Alien.” That’s a huge compliment! The proceedings are kicked off by "Noise of Creation" a wild ring modulator piece that leads into the tough, energetic, catchy and crunchy fun "Industrial Strength." “Blue Ice” seems to be the consensus favorite track, with it's rockin' swagger on the verse, funky fusion on the pre-chorus, and soaring beautiful melodies on the chorus (and an unforgettable solo!). The propulsive crunch of the title track is also a favorite. "So Sweet" is a beautiful ballad in the Satch tradition. "1929 Bootlegger's Shuffle" is fast, a ton of fun, and evokes images of black and white gangster films! " Hurricane's Eye" has beautiful clean arpeggiations with atmospheric sustain leads overdubbed, leading in to "Reach" a cruncher that is a bit reminiscent of George Lynch on "Dream Warriors." His unaccompanied “Lightsaber solo is an extended version of the 30-second solo that won him his American Ibanez 540R that Joe Satriani personally signed and presented to him (what an honor! ) “Lightsaber” has been described as the best unaccompanied solo since “Eruption” with more neoclassical techniques and speed-picking than Van Halen’s masterpiece, and with equal impact. “Duel” is an epic in the Malmsteen tradition–imagine Yngwie playing with Iron Maiden! Former Yngwie drummer and Northwest Icon Tim Donahue adds a hard-hitting and classic drum track to the proceedings! Welsh Lute is a solo acoustic piece that has a Celtic feel and adds versatility to the Album, which closes with the shred-ballad "U Never 4 Get" a sound that is equal parts Scorpions and Satriani! Truth be told, every single song on “Secret Planet” is top-notch rockin’ to the extreme, an extremely versatile album.
Michael's second album, "Roach Hotel" follows and expands on Secret Planet's successful instrumental guitar mix of fat, crunchy rockers, sweet ballads acoustic interludes, searing unaccompanied solos, breakneck neoclassical epics and ambient pieces. Roach Hotel would have been a worthy sequel to George Lynch's (DOKKEN) "Mr. Scary" if Lynch had penned it, but no it is Michael Stevenson's! "Sportsrock" is hard driving but bright, think an aggressive Satriani jamming with the Scorpions! "Oceanside Ride" is a real happy driving tune with a great acoustic strummed chorus. "Rain" is a really relaxing and trippy slow piece that is a bit new age sounding. "Tapestry" is a cool clean solo interlude featuring the technique of....tapping!!!! (What else lol)."Walk in the Park" has been well liked since it's inception and has a Mixolydian verse with a latinish Santana-esque chorus and a sprawling solo that combines elements of Carlos and Al DiMeola. "Sinnister Riff #4" means "Sharp 4" lol. It is a pretty DOKKEN sounding riff with a catchy lick and the chorus gets to the shreddin' early on! after a searing solo the song unexpectedly pulls in to a clean Steve Vai type atmospheric section that is a real treat. "Blue Note" is a slow but crisp and fat bluesy (mostly) clean tune that builds to a really nice solo. "Paganini's Revenge" is another unaccompanied solo. If "Lightsaber" (Secret Planet album) sounded like Lynch, Yngwie, Van Halen, Petrucci, then "Paganinni...." is more like Malmsteen and Blackmore. Really cool!!!! Album closer "On the Edge" again features the considerable drumming skills of former Yngwie drummer Tim Donahue. These guys really pull out all the stops on this tune. The song has a great direction and changes that pull the listener along for a ride by the seat of their pants! Jaw dropping lead guitar and drumming throughout the song!
Michael has three more instrumental albums in the works: "Shadow Alley," "Love....Alien Style!," and "Night Driver." By the time you have heard all the albums, it is possible this could be your favorite instrumental guitarist! Michael is also in three bands: TRAILER PARK HEROES, STINGER, and VULGAR VILLAGE. TPH and STINGER feature great songs and great vocalists: Leland Hilarides (Trailer Park Heroes) and David Nelson (Stinger) and the rockin' drums of Ron Brett. The bands are both on CD Baby and you should definitely check them both out! VULGAR VILLAGE is coming soon....an ultra heavy band featuring Michael on Vulgar Vocals....XTREME METAL!!!!
Michael greatly appreciates all music fans,, and the visits to his pages! He values audience feedback, encouragement, suggestions, whatever! Hope to see you at the upcoming concerts!
More great instrumental guitar albums by Michael available now or
soon on CD Baby: Roach Hotel, Shadow Alley, Night Driver,
Check out his bands, TRAILER PARK HEROES, STINGER, and VULGAR VILLAGE on