Interview with Metal Mike
Guitar/ Vocals- (Painmuseum/Halford/Sebastian Bach)
Metal Mike The True Metal God
Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: October 2007
Brian Rademacher: Hey Mike, how’s it going today?
Metal Mike: Excellent! I’m just running from one place to another.
Brian Rademacher: Ready to go?
Metal Mike: Shoot.
Brian Rademacher: What was the first guitar you ever had?
Metal Mike: There was a friend of my parents that came to our house and he brought a guitar, a cheap copy of a Bitch BC Rich. I loved the guitar and I never played guitar before then. I had a strong enough interest for my mom to get me one. She really wasn’t into getting it for me, but I have been always good on getting the things I want, ha ha. It was brown guitar it had a real wooden finish and a cool guitar to learn on, but the sad thing is it got stolen about seven years ago. It sucks because the guitar wasn’t worth much but it meant a lot to me.
Brian Rademacher: When growing up what kind of kid was Metal Mike?
Metal Mike: I tried sports and the only sport I was interested in was soccer because I grew up in Poland. I played in freshmen year, but started to get interested in guitar because I was so so in soccer. Once the music stuff came around I basically was dedicated to it. Well make it – totally obsessed. I wasn’t the most popular kid or unpopular one, I just pretty much went around wearing my METALLICA shirt, leather jacket and jean vest with metal patches. I went home after school and practiced. And, then practiced some more. I didn’t hang out and drink beer with the metalheads in the school, and I didn’t hang out the preppies or the jocks. I was a diehard metalhead just doing my own thing.
Brian Rademacher: What was the first concert you ever attended?
Metal Mike: Yeah Yes, it was at the Meadowlands Arena, it was KEEL opening for BON JOVI that was my first concert and I really wasn’t a BON JOVI fan but I liked KEEL. I remember wearing my METALLICA “Master of Puppets” shirt and back then you wouldn’t be wearing a METALLICA shirt to aBON JOVI concert and people were looking at me kind of weird. I was always marching to my own beat and what I liked I would listen to. Even back then I always felt I was outside the circle.
Brian Rademacher: How about the first record you ever bought?
Metal Mike: :: I bought it at K-mart and I bought two. One was MÖTLEY CRÜE “Theater of Pain” and the other was TWISTED SISTER “Come Out and Play”. I know a lot of people are going read this and they are going to think that’s kind of late but I came to the US in December of 84’ and missed a lot of stuff. I immediately liked the MÖTLEY CRÜE record and the TWISTED SISTER grew on me, I still remember when I bought a cassette back then the smell of opening the tape. I try not to forget the little things that meant a lot to me.
Brian Rademacher: : “Rock-Et Boulevard Show” came out in 1991, did you ever think you would end up where you are now?
Metal Mike: : : I was always after being a great heavy metal guitarist first and then the mass appeal wasn’t as import as long as I could pay my rent playing guitar. So the answer to your great question is probably not.
Brian Rademacher: : So how did you get involved with HALFORD?
Metal Mike: : A friend of mine told me Rob was looking for a guitar player and it was advertised on his website. My friend didn’t send in his material because he wasn’t sure how “big” this could be (laughing) and I was ready for anything. I was a big fan of JUDAS PRIEST but a bigger fan of FIGHT “War of Words”. I was not sure if Rob was going to continue with the two projects or another direction. So I sent Rob a record I did called “Isolation Chamber” - Grind Textural Abstraction along with videos of me playing opening for Yngwie Malmsteen at the Birch Hill. I was playing in a instrumental band that I led in front of 900 people with 4 Marshall Stacks behind me and that tape ends up in Rob’s hands. Rob looks at it and he says if he can do that in New Jersey he can do that anywhere (laughing). Before I knew it I went out to Los Angeles and start writing with Rob this is August of ‘99 and things moved pretty quickly. A year later we sold out Madison Square Garden with QUEENSRYCHE and MAIDEN, so the wheels moved pretty quick. That’s some story and it shows kids to just keep going and hammering away on what they want to achieve. This just shows you that some kids say nobody is going to hear me, how can I audition for bands, they always hire their friends. I made it happen the most unconventional way by sending a package with thousands of other at the same time.
Brian Rademacher: When you leave on tour what happens with all the bills and your home?
Metal Mike: Well the house I own, also houses the The House of Metal Studio which I did a lot the ”Metal for Life” record and the new HALFORD record coming which we can talk about in a bit. I have someone who looks over everything when I’m gone. In some ways I am pretty lucky to have someone to take care of everything which is a lot of stuff. I have a stable family life when I’m not on the road… but when I’m way with Mr. Bach and or more recently with Bach opening for Mr. Axl Rose and GNR, it’s good to know when I come home I can go out on the deck have a cigar, BBQ and play with my cars.
Brian Rademacher: On November 20, 2007 the new Sebastian Bach “Angel Down” CD, what do you expect from that release?
Metal Mike: I think the excitement is building; musically the record is really really good. It’s not a record that sounds like DISTURBED or try to impress in wrong ways and try to sound like LAMB OF GOD just for the sake of being popular. It sounds like a metalized dirty rock and roll band. It’s an excellent approach that works for Sebastian. The song writing is really good on it, some ballads, some rockers, and some Metallic stuff. We also did two songs off PAINMUSEUM “American Metalhead” and “Live and Die” with Sebastian singing on it. Axl sings on three songs, which sound awesome. He made us proud to have someone like Axl give props to the record. Axl is one of the icons of modern music; I had a great run playing with some pretty good singers.
Brian Rademacher: Tell us about “Metal God's Essentials Vol. 1”?
Metal Mike: Halford or Rob’s label Metal God Entertainment purchased our catalog from Sanctuary Records, which is pretty much no more as label from what I hear. Rob bought the records back and now we have a chance to reintroduce our recordings with new packaging including new mix and/ or master treatments. We have a lot of bonus tracks, new things, oddities on all releases. It is something special. Check out www.halfordmusic.com or www.robhalford.com for a lot of info.
Brian Rademacher: When will the new HALFORD record come out??
Metal Mike: We’ve been working on it a lot, the music is done and we’re just waiting for Rob to have a break to lay down the rest of the vocals. PRIEST has a new record coming out and will be touring for a year and a half if not more. So by the time PRIEST’s schedule winds down, I do hope that time will be of importance for some HALFORD related things. The HALFORD record release will take a little bit of time and Rob has PRIEST obligations.
Brian Rademacher: Will there be a new PAINMUSEUM record?
Metal Mike: I thought about it the other day. PAINMUSEUM’s first record took a long time. My records are not something I want to release; it’s something I need to release. I am absolutely in Sebastian’s court and Rob’s court but I do feel I grew enough of my own wings to spread and have the need to clear my mind. Now is the time to release great music. I am going to be done writing a new PAINMUSEUM
Brian Rademacher: You do a lot of clinics; can you tell me what its like to come??
Metal Mike: There are two separate things. One is Metal Day; you have seven to ten guitar players in the session about an hour and a half. They are the same level of playing metal and we get together in an open forum. I tell them this time is yours and we will do whatever you want. That’s really cool because people get a chance for me to sit down with them. The regular guitar clinics like the past two Flurry Of The Black Notes tours that I have done, we will hit Sam Ash’s, Guitar Center’s and large independents and I’ll come in and play live, some songs from my instrumental record, some PAINMUSEUM. It will be sponsored by Jackson, Digitech, D’Addario and others. We will have shirt give-aways and I’ll answer questions. I like doing that because I can give back, promote my endorsements, make dealers and distributors happy and further my career. Metal is a close-knit community.
Brian Rademacher: Who would you say is another up and coming guitarist you would recommend?
Metal Mike: I am sure there are a lot of great ones, for me I always seem to go back to the original core. My friend Gus G from FIREWIND is great. I think Alexi Laiho of CHILDREN OF BODOM is a great one that everyone knows about and he deserves it, he’s a great guy.
Brian Rademacher: So what’s a typical day for you if you’re not touring?
Metal Mike: I take out time for my family. On a Monday I’ll get up at 9am, check e-mails and take care of business. Then the rest of the time I just do whatever I need to do, we package orders that come in from websites, etc. If I’m writing new music or for PAINMUSEUM I will go down and spent several hours in the studio.
Evenings, you know catching up on phone calls, interviews, tour diaries, website up-dates, taking care of Metal Mike Armory Store - it never ends. I am trying to spend more and more time on music. I realized that there is always more business to be done and if I stay away from doing music for a couple of days I become really un-happy.
Brian Rademacher: If you have one wish for the future what would that be?
Metal Mike: The most important thing I would like, which I probably have now is to have the ability to do what I do right now in the future and by that I mean to retain my health and to make records and tour the world. I would like to have a chance to do more touring with PAINMUSEUM.
Brian Rademacher: : When Sebastian or Rob do there vocals do they come to New Jersey?
Metal Mike: : No most of the time it’s in California. So I would leave for a month. For Rob he would get together with two guitar players that’s the way Rob likes to write. Whatever the best songs comes out of those sessions would make the record. When I record with Rob we have a good budget so I can afford going out to LA and staying in a good hotel for six weeks. With PAINMUSEUM I rather keep the money in my pocket if there is any left over, than give it to the Hilton family.
Brian Rademacher: Hey Mike it’s been great talking with you and I talk you for coming out to our RockEyez.com show last year. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Metal Mike: Yeah, I would like to thank everyone for hanging in there with me, I get e-mails from people with good wishes and I appreciate every single one. Keep supporting what you believe in. Get Bach’s new record with Axl Rose and many thanks to you guys and the killer fans. Check out www.metalmike.net and www.metalmikearmorystore.com See you guys soon.