Though Michael’s music career began back in high school as a talented trumpet player, once The Stick was in his hands, he didn’t look back. The Chapman Stick is the only instrument he now plays and records on. The Stick’s magic may well lie in the simplicity of its design: it’s part of the guitar family, and indeed, resembles the neck and head of a guitar, but is played more like a piano with two-handed tapping, and has an incredibly versatile range of sounds. The expressive instrument gives players endless possibilities, and Michael has harnessed these with virtuosic effect.
Being a first generation Stickman came with decided benefits for Michael. Consistently booked for musical gigs, he traveled extensively, opening for the Beach Boys one year, and earning raves for his one-of-a-kind performances along the way. By the early 2000’s, he had amassed such a following that he decided to record his first solo album and join the festival and fair circuit to play music full time. Sacramento became home base for a time, and with his typical flair, Michael became a fixture in the community. He had numerous television appearances, radio interviews and even starred as the subject of the award-winning documentary, “Stick Man.” In 2007, seeking new adventures, he relocated to Hawaii.
Hawaii proved to be a musically fertile place for Michael. He crossed paths with Carlos Santana while playing a gig on Maui, and Santana was visibly moved by Michael’s music. Fresh off the glow of having a personal musical idol respond so well to him, Mick Fleetwood also happened upon Michael during a performance. Fleetwood planted the seed that Hawaiian music would sound amazing played on The Stick, and Michael went on to record six albums during his time on Maui.
Michael has since taken The Stick to new heights, recording music in such diverse genres as Jazz, Classic Rock, Latin, Hawaiian, and Americana. Michael’s 21st album, “Serenity”, marks a change in course for his music. From the album art of the famous Sedona landmark, Bell Rock, to the rich, versatile songs, Michael’s goal with his latest release is to create a sonically healing experience, and evoke simplicity and relaxation for his listeners. Michael plans to continue recording and traveling, spreading the joy of The Stick, and the inimitable music he coaxes from it, one listener at a time.