An interview with Michael Mac
By Mike Sales
For over a dozen years, Michael Mac has been a proven contributor to the Gulf Coast’s vibrant music scene. One glance at his website shows the pedigree of a truly seasoned musician, having toured with major label artists and opened for the likes of Kenny Wayne Shepard, Tal Ma Hal, Lucky Peterson, The Outlaws and many other national acts; its no wonder he’s one of the select few local area performers who’s just as much at home on the nightclub stage with his rock band, amplifiers blasting the decibels as he is in the serene palm decorated setting of a tranquil island restaurant…
WPT: Where are you originally from?
Michael Mac: Cocoa Beach FL
WPT: When did you start playing music?
Michael Mac: About 3 decades ago…when I was a kid.
WPT: What was your first instrument?
Michael Mac: I started out playing bass.
WPT: Who where some of your early influences?
Michael Mac: Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath
WPT: When did you start playing professionally?
Michael Mac: Almost from the start; I went to a Black Sabbath concert, came home and asked my dad to buy me a bass. I started working in bands about a year and a half later.
WPT: What drew you to the bass?
Michael Mac: Bass was an easier instrument to start on. It allowed me to jump in and start playing with musicians who had a lot more experience, which is something I’ve always tried to do.
WPT: What direction did your playing career go from there…how did you wind up playing here on Siesta Key?
Michael Mac: I played in Miami for years until that scene got too crazy, and I headed up to Maine for 12 years. I played all over New England as well as in Canada and focused on changing my life and habits for the better. I moved down here to the Gulf Coast in 2002 and have been here ever since.
WPT: What kind of music were you playing up there?
Michael Mac: Mostly rock, with some blues and top 40.
WPT: Are you a full time musician?
Michael Mac: Yes, but I also own and operate a small travel company that specializes in cruises.
WPT: Where do you regularly play on Siesta Key?
Michael Mac: I play a solo gig, every Monday night 7-10pm at the Cottage.
WPT: What kind of music can people expect to hear from you?
Michael Mac: I play a wide variety, including; reggae, 70’s rock, soft rock and classic rock. I try to cater to the audience in front of me and stick to songs they all know and enjoy…Beatles, Zeppelin, Steve Miller…tried and true favorites from that time period that has never gone away and still resonates with people.
WPT: Do you still play band gigs?
Michael Mac: Yes, I play gigs with my band every week.
WPT: Do you write songs?
Michael Mac: Yes, I’m in the studio with a new album.
WPT: What can you tell me about this project?
Michael Mac: It’s called, “Right of Passage”, I’ve been working on this album for 5 years. In fact, I have another recording session scheduled next week and everything is coming together nicely. It will feature some great players…including some of my heroes I grew up listening to. There’s a lot of money invested in it…it should be done by October or November.
WPT: Where are you recording?
Michael Mac: Spirit Ranch
WPT: Do you play originals at your gigs?
Michael Mac: Yes, from time to time.
WPT: What genre are they primarily?
Michael Mac: They are a mixed bag; reggae, rock, jazz, blues…its kind of a wide variety.
WPT: What is your vision for your career going forward?
Michael Mac: I’ve seen a lot of careers derail or run out of steam over the years, so mostly, I do everything I can to make mine continue. I’d like to do more with my home studio and start recording great sounding music on my own, but I’d also like to see some kind of happy ending. I’d like to sell a song and watch it go big, or even get a record deal…which may be an outdated goal, because the music business has changed so much in last few years, but I like the idea of creating music that touches people and takes on a life of its own…that outlives me.
WPT: What’s your favorite thing about playing music for a living?
Michael Mac: I like when the music touches the audience…when they love the music and respond from the give and take. It makes them feel good and they let it show. I like the interaction.
You can find out more about Michael Mac by logging onto michaelmacband.com
The Cottage is located at 153 Avenida Messina on Siesta Key and features live music weekly.
Mike Sales is a local singer/songwriter. For more information visit www.mikesalessings.com