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Progressive Rock Interviews

Kurt Michaels

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Kurt Michaels from 2009
Musically speaking I have been spending most of 2009 writing and recording material for my next CD which has a working title of "Soaring Back To Earth."

How is the music shaping up on this new one in comparison to your other albums?

It's a complete departure from my previous two releases, (instrumental efforts which were both reviewed by MSJ, for anyone interested). This time around I've written a bunch of songs that talk about things I've gone through, or felt in general about my take on the human condition. I've assembled a band for this and am handling most of the lead vocals. My previous releases were extremely atmospheric/ethereal instrumental soundscape recordings. This new music will show a different side of what I can do, working within what I feel are progressive singer/songwriter treatments of songs that deal in lyrical themes that reflect things I tend to think about....a pretty radical departure for anybody that is familiar with my previous work. The first track I wrote for this CD dealt with my feelings about the death of my younger brother last year, which should give you an idea about how deep inside I was willing to dig when I made the decision to go forward with the creation of this new music.

MSJ: What’s ahead for you?

I've mostly laid low this year with live performance and allocated whatever time and resources I've had available to the writing and recording of this music. For economic reasons, it's not feasible for me to allocate a large block of time and bang it all out in a concentrated effort, as I am using a commercial for-hire studio that I have will heretofore refer to as Casa Steve which is run by a Steve Vining, a good friend of mine who I've worked with quite a bit over the years in a variety of settings. Aside from his technical expertise, his ears and musical opinions I have found indispensable...and, by the way, he's a killer bass player and singer!  The musicians I'm working with on this are the same ones that I've been working with in my free lance jobbing ventures for nearly 20 years. People that know me are already familiar with Jim Gully who is playing keyboards, but also participating this time around are Len Szymanski on drums, Christ Andronis on bass and Eric Bryant on vocals. These guys aren't just great musicians, but also are great unknown factors in this equation. I expect we'll chipping away at this through the winter, but come spring time, be ready to release.

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?

Ummmm....John McLaughlin because even if I practiced for 8 hours a day for the next 20 years, I could never be as good as he was when he was half my age! I hate him...just kidding!

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?

The one I've got, but I'd force John Melnick to play with me as well (the guy who played keyboards on "One" on Outer Worlds). He's always super busy and hard to get on your bandstand.


If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?

Well, me for starters! Hmmm if we can conquer the space time continuum and a few lifespan limitations, I'd have all of my biggest influences showing up to share the stage which would include: Elvis/Scotty Moore, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Yes (my personal favorite incarnation of the band naturally), Danny Gatton, Frank Zappa and of course Jeff Beck! That would be a kicka** festival don't you think?

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

Just bought a few of those new Beatles stuff!


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Todd Rundgren doing A Wizard, A True Star

MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you’d like to get out there?
Do it now!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at
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