Mike Pygmie is one talented dude. He’s a guitar player for Mondo Generator, guitar and vocalist in You Know Who, and did a stint drumming for Waxy. Ex-bands and projects include: Invitro, the Whizards, Melodious Pygmies, Brant Bjork and the Operators/Bros, the Agents and the Pedestrians. It’s clear that Pygmie doesn’t have a hard time adapting to new projects, and he brings decades of talent to everything he chooses to involve himself in. On March 27th, at the Catalyst, he’ll be doing double duty, performing with both You Know Who, and Uncontrollable with Nick Oliveri. Split Peak Soup recently caught up with the shredding guitarist to pick his brain.
How long have you been playing guitar?
I wanted to play music as long as I can remember. when I turned 13 I got my first descent guitar and started taking lessons and that same year I started a band. What did you start out playing, and who were your early influences? I started out with a fender strat, Hendrix was my biggest early influence.
How influential was the desert scene to your music?
When I was a freshman in High School Mario lalli opened up an all ages club right down the street from my house and everyone used to play there. It was a really big deal to me and shaped not only how I play music, but also who I am as a person.
How do you think it shaped the type of musician you are?
It’s a tight-knit musical community. Not saying that everyone always gets along, but definitely a lot of life long friends that are into the same kind of sound. We are constantly challenging each other to be better musicians.
What kind of gear do you use? Do you have a trusty, go-to axe of choice?
I play a Marshall super lead 100 watt head and my guitar is a Gibson sg with a bigsby.
You are currently wrapping up a full length album with You Know Who… Can you tell us a little bit about the album, and what we can expect to hear when it drops?
We’re mixing it right now it will be done real soon. I’m very proud of how it’s turning out. We did it at Dead End studios in palm desert. Brad Garrow is producing it. It will be released this Summer on Vinyl by Self Destructo records.
Word is that John Garcia is going to make an appearance on the record. Man, that guy’s got some pipes. How long have you known John and how was it collaborating with him?
John is singing with me on a song, Sean Wheeler is on one and Nick Oliveri sings on two of them. It’s a big deal to us that our bros back us and want to be a part of it and it was a pleasure working with all those guys. I’ve known John for many years but last year I started playing bass for his solo band so we’ve gotten much closer. Same thing with Nick. I’ve been playing guitar for Mondo Generator and now Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable and he’s like family. I have a lot of respect for all those guys.
Have you played shows in Santa Cruz before?
Yes, I’ve played there a couple of times with Mondo Generator. Also with my old bands the Whizards and Invitro. Always a great time.
Any favorite “touristy” attractions you’ve enjoyed in your downtime there?
The first time I played in Santa Cruz was back when I played guitar for Brant Bjork and we played the Aptos club. That was a super cool spot.
On March 27th, you’ll be doing double duty, playing with You Know Who and Uncontrollable. How do you find the stamina and drive to put on a good performance when you’re up there for so long?
Time flies when your performing and having fun. To be honest I think it goes by too quick, and wish I could play longer.
Finally, are there any new bands out that are getting you amped and inspired?
I’m looking forward to seeing Doors To Nowhere again. They aren’t new, but Trash Talk, Baroness, Dillinger Escape Plan and Graveyard are in rotation a lot lately along with Mahuvishnu Orchestra and Captain Beyond– which is not new at all but still refreshing.