Mike N. Miller
Musicians express their life through the art of music, pouring heart and soul into their creation. “Without music, you may as well be dead,” says drummer and musician, Mike Miller. This way of life is attributed to Mike’s immersion into musicianship at a young age. In grade five he began to play the trumpet, learning to read music and cultivate the foundations of a modern musician. After two years had passed, Mike longed for a more aggressive approach. This was only the beginning of a journey that would land him into his current musical disposition of rock and metal music.
In the golden year of 1999 Mike arrived in high school. That same year Metallica released their live symphony accompanied album. This live album caught Mike’s teenage ear and began to intrigue him. Within the week Mike was air drumming to Metallica and envisioned himself behind Lars Ulrich’s drum kit. Mike will always give credit to Lars Ulrich as the reason he began to play drums. This segue in Mike’s life opened the door to metal music and the aspiration to become a drummer. Soon after this epiphany, Mike saved money to buy a beginner drum kit and professional lessons.
Starting with the basics, Mike had learned to read snare drum music and began to digest the fundamentals of drumming. At a rapid pace he moved on to reading drum kit music. Unfortunately, after only one year, Mike was unable to afford to further his professional lessons. However, being that he was in high school, it meant that he had also entered garage band haven. Soon was the birth of Mike’s first band Vice Prophecy. While short lived, it helped fuel his aspiration to continue to pursue musicianship. Still driven, Mike and long time friend and guitarist, Karl Kirsch, had arranged some of their own cover versions of their favorite metal songs. Having arranged to record these tightly knit cover songs, they entered Toughguystudios, owned by friend Ryan Gaines. Spending time in the studio had helped develop Mike’s ability to keep time to a metronome and develop his professional musical ear. Mike had reached a new level of achievement. But he still yearned for more.
Still Mike had not often performed live in front of an audience. Ever the problem solver, Mike had enlisted into the high school concert band in his junior year of high school. He followed through to his senior year upon graduation. This experience in concert band trained Mike to play well with others in a musical arrangement. And playing live school concerts helped build his confidence level to a new high. This experience was the final push that Mike needed in order to know that music was where he belonged. He soon upgraded his equipment. Mike bought a Tama Starclassic Maple drum kit. With a new kit and new ambitions Mike pressed on.
At this time, Mike was now a post high school graduate and knew that he had real world responsibilities to sort. But he didn’t lose sight of his goals. Mike had decided the best way to learn about the life of a working drummer was to become a drum tech. Working for several years under Matt Manera in the band Floozie, Mike had learned much about stage set up, sound, tuning and more. During this time Mike drifted in and out of bands himself; Klyde and the Magictones, Void of Awakening, and MindCramp. But it wasn’t until he had started to work with guitarist Shari Gaines that he began to feel his niche. Together they worked well and the style of music they created had inspired Mike to continue to explore his own musical preferences. He soon found a band called Dream Theater.
Mike’s drumming and style began to become more progressive. Instead of banging out simple “kick”/”snare” beats like Lars Ulrich, he began to find himself in more intriguing time signatures modeled after Mike Portnoy. Still working with Gaines, Mike and Shari had put in the time and money and had transformed Toughguystudios into a reputable recording studio. It was during this time that Mike had received a message on the once popular MySpace from Michael Wopshall. He represented a band called Spiritus Mundi. The message read, “Man, I love your drumming style and would love you to be a session drummer for me.” Since then Mike has recorded two full-length albums with Spiritus Mundi and is now a permanent member of the online virtual band. Mike played in multiple bands the past 3 years. Skinbound/ Scarlet Embrace/ Lost Elysium/Surrender Reality and now Billy Draws Two.
Now an experienced drummer, Mike owns a Roland TD-20 electric drum set and a Drum Workshop satin red collector’s series drum set. “The DW set I own now is the best sounding drum I have ever played on.” But, that’s only the half of it. Mike’s ear is sensitive to his drum kit and the sounds it produces. He found that he wasn’t pleased with any particular type of cymbal he played. Substituting one major cymbal manufacturer for another and so forth, Mike was ever displeased. “I have used all different types and brands of cymbals. I can never find any consistency with a mass produced cymbal brand. I only used Sabian because my favorite drummer Mike Portnoy uses them. I don’t think that should be the only reason a drummer should base their cymbal choice on. Everyone is different and will hear sounds that appeal to them and appeal to others in different ways. I started to dislike the cymbals I was using and wanted change, something new. I then stumbled upon an attractive female drummer online, Meytal Cohen. I watched her videos and she was using cymbals I have never seen before. They sounded great. The perfect amount of attack and sustain. I wanted something similar.” Mike is now endorsed with Soultone cymbals and is extremely pleased with their cymbals.
“Throughout my life I have been in good, mediocre and bad bands. Every musician will spend time in bands they do not like or will spend time jamming with others who are not as accomplished. Every musician should cherish those times. They make you a better player by providing different sounds and images while providing a multitude of trails and error, right and wrong. My journey will be never ending as I continue to learn and grow, both on my own and from the assistance and example of the many great drummers before me.”
2x 18 inch crashes
1- 17inch crash
2x-18 inch chinas
20 inch gospel ride
14 inch extreme hihats