Mike Kowalski (bornJuly 28, 1944 ) is a percussionist and musicologist. He is best known as one of the former drummers from the rock band The Beach Boys (1983–2007). He and saxophonist Joel C. Peskin recorded as The Backsters in 1984.
Mike Kowalski was born in Hollywood, California. He started singing and playing piano at the age of three. His first professional engagement was playing the piano, with Mel Torme on drums, for a television pilot at the age of five. At age ten, he was given a set of Slingerland Radio-King drums by Dragnet actor Jack Webb.
At the age of fifteen, he was playing drums professionally with various local rock and rhythm and blues bands. He performed both on stage and on screen as his family was affiliated with the film and television industries. By age nineteen he was playing drums with, L.A. based singers, Pat and Lolly Vegas, whom later formed the pop group Redbone. Also during this time Kowalski performed and recorded with Sonny & Cher, Little Anthony & the Imperials, and Etta James.
In 1968 Kowalski was asked to join Ed Carter's, London based rock/blues band, The New Nadir. Along with Gary Thain on bass, the trio played the London circuit . The band was signed to Witchseason Productions.
The Beach Boys and The Backsters
Later in 1968 Kowalski joined the Beach Boys, playing percussion for the band. He was their main drummer, following the death of Dennis Wilson, from 1983–2007. Kowalski parted ways with the Beach Boys in September 2007, with John Cowsill replacing him.
It was also in 1968 that Kowalski met and first worked with saxophonist Joel C. Peskin.
In between touring with the Beach Boys Kowalski performed and recorded with, among others; blues guitarist Albert Collins, Johnny Otis, jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd, Big Joe Turner, John Mayall and Charlie Musselwhite.
In 1984 Kowalski collaborated with Joel Peskin to create The Backsters. They were signed to A & M Records with Herb Alpert as executive producer. Their album, entitled Get on Your Back, featured many seasoned jazz and blues players. Released in early 1985, their first single was "Handclappin".
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 7.