Steve Michaud

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Steve Michaud
Steve Michaud.jpg

Bands: various

Steve Michaud, both as a performer and an educator, has evoked high regard from the drum community ever since his years of study with the former Dean of Percussion at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Gary Chaffee, teacher of some of the finest drummers in the world, including Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Smith of Journey. Jonathan Mover, editor-in-chief of Drumhead magazine--and one who himself has played drums for Steve Vai and Joe Satriani--said of Steve, “It wasn’t very often that I would hear Gary Chaffee say, 'I have a new student...and he’s one of the guys.' But when he did, you knew it was serious. Well, I heard Gary speak of Stephen on more than one occasion, and if that doesn’t speak for itself, nothing will. A combination of impeccable time, groove and insane polyrhythmic chops, Stephen is the best of all worlds and a force to be reckoned with."

Todd Sucherman, winner of the 2009 Modern Drummer Reader’s Poll for #1 Rock drummer (for the legendary band Styx), cited Steve in Modern Drummer magazine as being the "next upcoming drummer"; in the foreword to his award-winning instructional drum book Methods and Mechanics, Todd said: “I remember meeting Steve Michaud when I spent my one year at Berklee in Boston. Steve is one of the greatest drummers on the planet, and back then he showed me his book of all these incredible Vinnie Colaiuta transcriptions from live Zappa bootlegs, and I was astounded by his ability to do that. I wish I had that gift. I still do.”

Drummer Gary Husband, drummer for Level 42, Allan Holdsworth, and John MacLaughlin commented on CD Baby website, "Check out Steve Michaud on the intro to [Croaker] - beautiful and electric highly spirited drums. A new name to me and certainly one to look out for in the future to me." And Gavin Harrison, #1 winner of the “Progressive Rock Drummer” category in Modern Drummer for his work with Porcupine Tree says, "Steve Michaud is a superbly knowledgeable drummer with masterful skills on the drumset."

The January 2006 issue of Modern Drummer states, "Steve Michaud is a hidden treasure in the small universe of outstanding fusion drummers. On the high-powered instrumental fusion release Nebula by bass whiz David Hines (also featuring guitarist Allan Holdsworth), Michaud displays inspiring, technically challenging concepts, solid time, and excellent acoustic drum sounds. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from this fine player." Steve was also featured as the “Spotlight” performer in the Nov/Dec 2010 edition of Jonathan Mover’s Drumhead magazine, with an article in which he explains the transcriptions of his playing by Terry Branam, co-author of Gavin Harrison’s books Rhythmic Designs and Rhythmic Composition. In the March 2011 edition of Modern Drummer, Steve’s work on the David Hines recording Inner Duality was included within 2010’s "blockbuster drum performances" and garnered the following review: "Steve Michaud’s dense and inventive approach to the odd-time retro-fusion compositions on bassist David Hines’ Inner Duality gives the once highly regarded genre the adventurous flair and ferocity that made it famous."

Michaud’s passion for the drums developed at an early age. By the seventh grade, he was studying intensively with Gary Chaffee, the former Dean of Percussion at Berklee College of Music. Gary Chaffee considered Steve Michaud one of his finest students. In order to introduce him to the music scene, Chaffee personally flew with Steve to Los Angeles to help him make connections. Steve decided, however, to remain in the New England area and try his prospects there. It was not long before he found himself playing in the most popular Jazz Fusion band in the area, playing to standing-room-only crowds.

A number of years later, Steve made a connection with the phenomenal keyboardist and Berklee professor Steve Hunt, who played with Allan Holdsworth and Stanley Clarke. An immediate musical spark was created between the two players, resulting in a number of critically acclaimed recordings and musical tours.

The first recording to be spawned from this collaboration is Steve Hunt’s solo debut From Your Heart and Soul, which also featured Allan Holdsworth and Chad Wackerman. Another particular recording of note in Steve’s discography would include the Lucas Pickford recording Blown Fuse, which has become something of a classic in the Jazz Fusion genre. Pickford comments on the Global Bass website, “"When I recorded 'Panic Attack' for the first time I used a drum machine and the engineer said to me 'You'll never find a real drummer to play this.' When I heard (Steve) Michaud I gave him the tape of the drum machine part and he listened to it once. Then he proceeded to come into the studio and lay that part down in the first take. The part you hear on the CD is his first take! He wanted to do more but I wouldn't let him! He was amazing on that cut." (Note: You can hear “Panic Attack” in the media section on this site.)

Other highlights of Steve’s discography include his work with David Hines. The first cd, Nebula, featured Michaud playing with fusion guitar legend Allan Holdsworth—arguably the greatest fusion guitarist of the 20th century. Bill Milkowski of Jazz Times magazine had this to say about the cd: “A key to the success of this recording is drummer Steve Michaud, whose blend of power, precision and sheer musicality recalls Vinnie Colaiuta. Michaud fuels this fusion juggernaut with impeccable time, rare authority and a dynamic approach to the kit.”

In addition to countless gigs in the states, Steve has also toured Europe extensively, playing at top venues and jazz clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. One of many international appearances includes Steve’s performance at the Talos Jazz festival in Italy with guitarist extraordinaire Rocco Zifarelli, playing the music of John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

As an educator, Steve is widely touted for his transcription skills as well as his ability to articulate and demonstrate some of the most fiendishly difficult rhythmic concepts. Steve is also an adept hand and foot technician, giving many of his own special exercises and insights for students to further their speed and efficiency. His long experience playing virtually all styles, including rock, funk, Latin, jazz, and fusion has led to an incredibly diverse performing career, putting him in a “firsthand” position to equip students for a variety of playing situations. Many of his former and present students have become accomplished players and teachers in their own right, regularly placing high in All-State bands and drum competitions, with many going on to establish their own teaching studios in the regions of New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. He has also done numerous successful educational clinics, both solo and as a part of a band, working with young musicians at high schools in both the United States and Europe.

Steve brings his passion for the drums, extensive playing experience, knowledge of all styles, and understanding of the most intricate of polyrhythms to bear upon his playing and teaching. His patient, down-to-earth style of teaching makes even beginning students feel comfortable, while his highly systematic approach and depth are sought out by the most advanced of students.

Steve Michaud Drumstick Collection

Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 2.