The first time I saw Mike Gale, he was on crutches and wearing a cast on his leg... while in the midst of a schoolyard fight.
It was 10th grade, and I was walking toward my class when I saw a brawl break out between two kids. My interest piqued, I stopped and watched, noting that it didn't seem fair given one of them was seemingly crippled. But that kid hopped on his good foot, then took his crutch and swung it with impressive velocity at the other guy's head, who promptly went down hard. As the school security grabbed them and headed toward the office, I asked someone else what the guy's name was, and found out it was Mike Gale. I also found out that Mike liked a lot of the same bands as me back then in 1984 -- namely the Who, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin. I ended up getting a band together with Mike, who turned out to be a singer with his own PA (a rare commodity in high school), and became friends.
Ever since, Mike and I have remained close and have been involved in many musical projects over the years. Yesterday, August 7, he hosted a party at his house in Garden Grove, CA, and invited a collection of his close friends from our teenage years, mostly those with whom we'd been in various bands. So, the result was a collection of experienced and good musicians, and it was a blast playing along.
The lineup, per the video above, included Mike Gale on vocals, Will Mickelson on vocals and guitar, Kirk Makin on guitar, me on keyboards (more on that in a sec), Kevin Hicks on bass, and the amazing Dante Silva on drums and vocals. I actually had a great time getting off the guitar for a change. Keith Richards once made some comment about the piano being a very civilized instrument, since you can sit down and have somewhere to rest your ashtray. I enjoyed being the sideman at this little party show.
I'd be hard-pressed to remember all the stuff we played, but I do recall a few...
Johnny B. Good (Chuck Berry)
Sugaree (Jerry Garcia)
Men Smart Women Smarter (Grateful Dead)
Miss You (Rolling Stones)
Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix)
Thank You (Led Zeppelin)
Come On Let The Good Times Roll (Jimi Hendrix)
Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
Sunshine of your Love (Cream)
You Really Got Me (The Kinks)
At that point, Kat and I had to take off and make the drive back to the beach we call home. But the whole event was a blast, and it was terrific to see some friends who in some cases I hadn't run into in many years. Thanks for the great times, and see you next year at the next Michael G Summer Bash!