Chris Michie
Chris Michie 1998
Chris Michie 1948-2003
 Chris Michie's first band was 'The Grapes of Wrath' in Madison, Wisconsin. This band was founded early 1965. Band members included Joe Wilson, Greg Loeb, Tracy Wolters and Chris Michie. When Joe Wilson left the band in the fall of 1966 Willie (Bill) Collins joined the band as his replacement. The band was regarded as one of the top bands in their area. Musically they played mostly cover tunes ("mid-sixties British Invasion stuff") but also a few original tunes.

The Grapes recorded two songs for the local Cuca Records Company after winning a 'Battle of the Bands' contest. These were "Flower Lady" and "Write Another Song". The latter song (written by Chris) is lost but "Flower Lady" was released in 1967 on the album 'Badger A Go Go' on the Cuca label. The Grapes also recorded some other songs but they were only released many years later by Chris Michie's CatchARabbit Records in 1992 on audio tape. When Bill Collins decided to leave the Grapes they disbanded at the end of May 1968.

'The Mendelbaum Blues Band' was Chris' next band. He had already started to sit in for other bands and discovered that he had no problems to play with them. Mendelbaum's original guitarist had just left the band and Chris managed to become his replacement. Other band members were Keith Knudsen, Ron Page, Tom LaVarda and George Cash. Within short time Mendelbaum became one of the hottest bands in Wisconsin. They recorded one single to be sold at concerts "Can't Be So Bad" b/w "Try So Hard" - the latter song written by Chris again. In 1969 the band decided to leave Wisconsin and head for San Francisco, California - the place most of their favorite bands came from.

Mendelbaum had no problems to adjust themselves to the S.F. scene and soon played at various clubs including The Matrix and the Fillmore. Mendelbaum also recorded quite a few demos but either the labels weren't interested or they couldn't agree on contract terms. Again only many yeas later Chris released those 1970s studio session and a live show recorded at the Fillmore 1969 on CatchARabbit Records (audio tape).

Luckily the German Shadocks label released those songs and an additional live show recorded at The Matrix on LP/CD in 2002/2003. It's good that Mendelbaum's music is available again - featuring Chris songwriting/vocals and outstanding guitar work.

When Mendelbaum disbanded in April 1971 Chris started to play with 'Lamb' - one of Bill Grahams' groups. He went on tour with this band and also played guitar on Lamb's albums. In addition Chris did a lot of session work for other artists and started his own group 'Fat Max and the Casuals' - playing British Invasion tunes again. Lamb broke up May 1973 and Chris continued his session work for other artists. One of these sessions was for 'The Pointer Sisters' and in April 1974 Chris became their lead guitarist. Chris joined the Pointer Sisters on their world tour - including the Pointer Sisters' famous gig in Zaire which was part of the boxing-match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali entitled 'Rumble In The Jungle'.

After that Chris teamed up with Andy Kulberg which he knew from his Mendelbaum days. They formed the production company 'Kulberg/Michie Music' in 1976 - doing music for commercials, industrial and independant film, etc. They also recorded with David Soul and went on tour with him around the world. Eventually they would work with David for the next few years until April 1981. During that time Chris also started to record his first album 'Bridge' for Warner Brothers, Holland. This project included Tom Salisbury and the album was released around March 1981.

At the end of 1981 Chris got the chance to play on Van Morrison's album 'Beautiful Vision'. The original guitarist Chris Hayes from Huey Lewis and the News couldn't come and Chris Michie not only played lead guitar on the album but also started to tour with Van until 1985. Other members of this band were David Hayes and Mark Springer. Chris would also play lead guitar on their duo album "Sneaker Waves" and join them in a band called 'The Adapters' - doing some gigs around the Bay Area.

Chris also started his own band - the 'Chris Michie Band' - and did some demo sessions with his band in 1984. All of this didn't result in a record deal and they disbanded. Chris kept playing with several other bands though and Kulberg/Michie Music became very successful over the years. Chris even started his own record label CatchARabbit Records.

 Van Morrison/Chris Michie
Van Morrison and Chris Michie

In 1987 ex-Clover Alex Call asked Chris to join his band "Alex Call and Real Life". Although Chris only played a few gigs and then turned down Alex's offer, he would produce Alex Call's second solo album 'A Simple Life' in 1992 and release it on CatchARabbit Records. Chris also put Alex in contact with Mike Somavilla who would help release Alex's third album 'Book of Time'.

Chris' recording skills and possibilities got better and he concentrated more on his own music. Subsequently he released his first real solo album "Guitars and Oranges" on CD in 1992. He also released the already mentioned two audio tapes with material from the Grapes of Wrath and Mendelbaum. Two audio tapes with instrumentals followed - "Following Old Joe Clark" (1993) and "The Night Flight" (1994). Chris also started his own website to promote his music through the site. His next two 'blues/roots' albums "Tough Love" (1998) and "Seven Rivers" (2000) show how good Chris had become over the years. The song "Ireland" from the latter album is really outstanding.

Through his website Chris also started to write his memoir "Name Droppings" - where most of the information on this site comes from. He also recorded another instrumental CD "Goyer Golf Suite" (2000/01) and his last project was composing and recording the soundtrack for the Judy Irving film "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill". The sountrack has been released in 2005 and is available through Chris' wife Deborah - just follow the link underneath. Although some of the songs can already be found on "Goyer Golf Suite" most of them are written for the documentary and are Chris' last work - he actually finished the soundtrack six weeks before his death.

The news of Chris passing away March 27, 2003 was a shock for not only the Bay Area music community. He finally succumed to a six-year battle with cancer. A fight his partner Andy Kulberg had already lost the year before. Both will not be forgotten.

 

Discography

with The Grapes Of Wrath:

The Grapes Of Wrath
Joe Wilson, Greg Loeb, Chris Michie, Tracy Wolters

Bader A-Go-GoBadger A Go Go
15 Of The Greatest Sounds

(Cuca Records 1967)
featuring: "Flower Lady" - The Grapes of Wrath

other bands: Betty Moore, Dave Kennedy and the Ambassadors, The Centurys, The Chieftones, The Seven Sounds, The Mule Skinners, Rod Means, The War Lords, Jerry and the Continentals, The Esquires, The Del Rays, Robin Lee and the Lavenders, The Kiriae Crucible, The Voodoos.

Out of print!
Try
eBay
GEMM
...
The Grapes of WrathThe Grapes Of Wrath
1965-1968

(CatchARabbit Records 1992)
I Want You Always -- Around and Around -- Tell Her No -- Let Me Tell You -- No Reply -- Playin' With Fire -- House Of The Rising Sun -- Myth -- Let Me Tell You -- Saturated Day -- I Feel A Draft -- Without Her, Without Me

Musicians: Chris Michie, Greg Loeb, Tracy Wolters, Joe Wilson, Willie Collins

(audio tape only and out of print)

Out of print!

 

with Mendelbaum:

MendelbaumTry So Hard/
Canít Be So Bad

(Smack Records, ca. 1968)
Side One: Try So Hard
Side Two: Canít Be So Bad

'Try So Hard' written by Chris Michie
Smack Records J-6963

Out of print!
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GEMM
...
CatchARabbit LogoThe Man Who Wrote 'Hey Joe'
(CatchARabbit Records 1992)
Days Gone By -- Since I Met Her -- Oh, Yes, Yes! -- Key Of Be -- No Hiding Place -- All My Life -- Walk With Me -- I'm A Fool -- Blood Of The Nation -- Lost Hope -- Last Saturday Night -- Every Day And Every Night -- Drivin' Wheel -- Baby, Please Don't Go

Musicians: Chris Michie, Keith Knudsen, Tom LaVarda, George Cash, J.D. Sharp, Ronnie Page

(audio tape only and out of print)

Out of print!
MendelbaumMendelbaum
(Shadoks Music 2002/2003)
Days Gone By -- Since I Met Her -- Oh, Yes, Yes! -- Key Of Be -- No Hiding Place -- All My Life -- Walk With Me -- I'm A Fool -- Blood Of The Nation -- Wars To Rainstorms -- Rhyme Of Time -- No Reason -- They Don't Know -- Message For The People -- What To Do -- Last Saturday Night -- Learning To Die -- Lost Hope -- Every Day And Every Night -- Drivin' Wheel -- Since I Met Her

Musicians: Chris Michie, Keith Knudsen, Tom LaVarda, George Cash, J.D. Sharp, Ronnie Page

(2CD Set: studio recordings and live recordings at The Matrix and Fillmore West 1969)


Buy It!
from label!

 

with Bridge:

BridgeBridge
(WEA Records 1981)
Little Darling -- I Never Thought -- Prisoner Of Woman -- Dreamin' -- Charades -- Open Your Heart -- Answer Me -- Do The Hostile -- The Masquerade Is Over

Musicians: Chris Michie, Tom Salisbury

(LP out of print)

Out of print!
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eBay
GEMM
...

 

and Solo:

Guitars and OrangesGuitars and Oranges
(VIA Records 1993)
That's What I Want -- User Friendly -- Flute Thing -- In The Direction Of Freedom -- Celtic Swing -- Never Caught A Rabbit -- Ireland -- Your Beatin' Heart -- Musings on Summer -- The Return Of The Big Cats

Musicians & Producer: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg

Out of print!
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eBay
GEMM
...
Following Old Joe ClarkFollowing Old Joe Clark
(CatchARabbit Records 1993)
The Man Of The Year -- 'Til The Eagle Grins -- Corner, 12th Street And Vine -- Women Wearing Gold -- The Man Who Wrote "Hey Joe" -- Take Me Alive -- My Legs -- Postcard From The Bruntsfield -- Summer in Fairfax

Musicians: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg

(audio tape only and out of print)

Out of print!
CatchARabbit LogoThe Night Flight...
(CatchARabbit Records 1994)
A Stitch In Time -- Lips That Touch Liquor -- Take The Night Flight... -- Tricks Of The Trade -- Gazing At The Sun -- Otis -- Elvis De Milo -- Lark's Concussion -- The Pool-Black Eye -- The King Of The King Of The Beasts -- In Lovejoy's Way -- Meet Me In S.B.

Musicians & Producer: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg

(audio tape only and out of print)

Out of print!
Tough LoveTough Love
(CatchARabbit Records 1998)
Use Me -- Shaky House -- A Bone To Pick -- Evil Employer -- Gimpy -- Don' Wanna Go -- Burning Down The Wind -- Sweet Disposition -- The Method -- The Terminal Dog -- Anita Shodda

Musicians: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg, Jef Labes, Jim Rothermel, Billy Lee Lewis, Tim Larkin, Paul Revelli, Pamela Rose, Kevin Pallidini, Jim Reitzel

 

Buy It!


Seven RiversSeven Rivers
(J-Bird Records 2000)
You Got Me By The Heart -- Eleven Dollar Bills -- Club Medication -- Arcadian Blue -- Devil's Playground -- Mean Old Woman -- Thinkin' About Choo -- Seven Rivers -- Ease On Into Love -- Your Father -- Ireland

Musicians: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg, Paul Revelli, Billy Lee Lewis, Terry Bakker, Chris Sandoval, David Brown, Steve Evans, Jim Reitzel, David Kessner, Ozzie Ahlers, Janette Sartain, Beth Reynolds, Norton Buffalo

 

Buy It!


Goyer Golf SuiteGoyer Golf Suite
(Marin Music 2000/01)
Goyer Overture -- The Rooster -- GreenArch -- Mr. T -- Palo Alto -- The Flying Dutchman -- Sand Hill -- The Great -- Greenway -- Sunset Marquis -- The Count -- Riviera -- GrassHopper -- His Master -- The River -- Rare Earth -- Sonoma -- Napa -- Marin -- The Mansion -- The Sanctuary

Musicians: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg, Jim Reitzel, Ozzie Ahlers, Wade Ohlsen, Kevin Pallladini, Jef Labes, Paul Revelli, Billy Lee Lewis

Buy It!
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph HillThe Wild Parrots of
Telegraph Hill

(CatchARabbit 2005)
Cherry Blossoms -- It's Magic -- El Coto -- Grasshopper -- North Beach -- Canary Wings -- Canary Wings Two -- Going Home -- Connor Intro -- The Gardens -- Connor's Theme -- One Whole -- Connor and Sophie -- Man Of The Year -- The Great -- The Mansion -- Sand Hill -- The Flying Dutchman -- Palo Alto -- The Count -- The Sanctuary/Take Me Alive

Musicians: Chris Michie, Andy Kulberg, Jim Reitzel; additional musicians on El Coto: Ozzi Ahlers, Wade Olsen




Buy It!
from artist website!

 

Further Links:

  • Chris Michie's Website
         Contains more information on Chris' music and a detailed discography!

     

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