Mike Haid interview March 3, 2006
1. So give those of us not familiar with your music career, a little
I started playing drums (seriously) in junior high school. Put a band
together with some classmates and started rocking! I played in rock bands
all through high school and then started playing professionally when I
graduated from high school. I was on the road for about 4 years and finally
decided to move to Los Angeles. I graduated from Musicians Institute in
Hollywood and then moved to Florida for a little while. I hated Florida so I
moved back to LA and stayed there for 15 years. I moved to Atlanta several
years ago, built a home studio and started working with various groups and
artists around Atlanta. I've been blessed to make a living playing music my
whole adult life. I've worked with some incredible musicians over the years.
2. So how did you come to join Southern Gentlemen?
- I've known David (Chastain) for many years. He's a good friend and a great
musician. We used to jam together when we both lived in the Cincy area.
There's always been a strong chemistry between us. David has called me to
work on several projects over the years. Southern Gentlemen is the most
recent. I dig the SG material because it has a very 70s-80s hard rock
attitude, which is the era of rock music that had the most balls and heavy
guitar oriented sound. David has a solid feel for that style. The SG music
is great classic rock.
3. The drums sounds really slamming on the new Cd. What did you use in
I used a set of Brady custom drums and a variety of Sabian and Zildjian
cymbals. The mics are mostly Shure. I tune my drums down in pitch for the SG
material to get a thick, heavy sound that best suites this type of material.
4. What are your favorite tracks on "Third Time Is The Charm."
- I really like practically every song for one reason or another. "Even Now"
has a cool vibe that reminds me of "Radar Love" from Golden Earring. "I
Don't Want You" has a mean ZZ Top feel. "Caught You Red Handed" is a
sentimental favorite because I used to go watch David play this tune with
his great rock band, Spike. "Going Down To Texas" has a difficult double
bass part that isn't fast, but has a feel that is tricky to capture. "Ladies
Of The Night" is just an all-out ball bustin' rocker. My overall favorite is
"Reflections" because I came up with a cool single stroke hi-hat part that
was very difficult to play. Then it moves into a heavy double time groove
that I really enjoyed playing because it has sort of a classic fusion
5. What Cd do you believe has the "perfect" drum sound?
- I don't believe that there is a "perfect" drum sound. Depending on the
style of music, the drums can either sound great or horrible depending on
how they were recorded and mixed. You have to record and mix for the style
of music you're playing. I feel that the Rush "Moving Pictures" recording is
one of the best sounding drum recordings for it's time. John Bonham always
had a great sound, but the recordings were not perfect. It was his overall
feel and drum sound that, when mixed with the rest of the band had a sound
that really worked for that era of rock music. It's hard to judge today's
music because so much of it is sampled, looped and reworked in Pro Tools.
You don't know what's real and what's sampled or layered on top of the
6. Who is the best drummer you have ever seen live?
- Buddy Rich. There will never be another drummer like Buddy. He developed
the art of drumming to a level that is unreachable. I was fortunate to see
him play several times. The present day master is Vinnie Colaiuta. Vinnie
creates musical ideas that are always fresh, challenging, and with such a
strong groove and great sounding drums. He's the most expressive, versatile,
and technically advanced drummer that has ever lived. There will never be
another Vinnie either.
7. Are you currently doing any other musical projects?
- I work with several artists in the Atlanta area playing rock, jazz, funk,
fusion, as well as a few singer/songwriters. I work a lot with an amazing
guitarist named Steve Cunningham. I played on Steve's "Dubios Tones" CD, and
we have become good friends. Steve is a unique and gifted player. He plays
shredding guitar and then turns around and pulls out his lap steel and burns
on it as well. I'm very fortunate to be able to work with such great players
like Steve, David Chastain, and a host of gifted players in Atlanta.
8. What are some of your major influences?
- I grew up in the 70s-80s and I'm a big fan of jazz/rock fusion and hard
rock. I love the early fusion bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To
Forever, Weather Report, and Frank Zappa. My favorite metal band is Judas
Priest. I love Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Roy Buchanan, and all the great
guitarists of the early rock era. My favorite drummers are mostly fusion
guys like Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Terry Bozzio, Billy
Cobham, Tony Williams, David Garibaldi, and Simon Phillips. I have a million
favorite drummers because there are so many great players that have
influenced me over the years. I love all the great groove players like
Harvey Mason, Jeff Porcaro, John Bonham, and the list goes on.
9. If you could put together your dream band with you as the drummer,
who would the other band members be? Dead or Alive?
Jeff Beck, Roy Buchanan, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn - Guitars
Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius - Bass
Chick Corea, Jan Hammer, George Duke, Joe Zawinul - Keys
Giovanni Hidalgo, Tito Puente - Percussion
Michael Brecker, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane - sax
Louis Armstrong - trumpet
Toots Theilman - harmonica
Ella Fitzgerald, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Rob Halford,
Paul Rodgers, Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong - vocals
10. Any final words to the fans?
- Listen to music with love and respect for what the musicians are saying on
their instruments. A song is a gift, and should be given the same love and
respect that was put into making it. The art of music is becoming extinct.
Great musicians are a dying breed because modern culture is neglecting the
responsibility of educating the younger generations to the true art, the
technical challenges, and the beauty, of playing a musical instrument and
getting together with other musicians and creating the gift of music.
Because of the internet, music has become a disposable commodity. It's too
easy to steal, copy, burn and download music, therefore it has lost it's
value to the younger generation. Our world has become too much of a visual
medium. The mind can create such vivid images if you just shut your eyes,
relax, and let yourself get lost in the music. I value the gift that I have
been given to play drums and I will continue to help educate the younger
generations to the importance of creating and respecting music, and the
musicians who have devoted their lives to the art of creating such amazing
music. There is a beautiful, challenging, and fulfilling world to be
discovered inside the dying art of playing music. Thank you, to all who have
chosen to support and encourage us to keep doing what we love.
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