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Q & A with Mike Moore

How old were you when you first started playing?

I started taking piano lessons at the age of eight, inspired by my grandmother who was a club singer in the 1960's. Gram helped cultivate my love for music. After several years of piano lessons I realized my true passion was the guitar. My Dad played me Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young. Listening to the electric guitar gave me goosebumps. I've been playing guitar since age 14 and haven't looked back.

Where did you go to music school? What did you study there?

Throughout high school and college I've taken guitar lessons. My college years were spent obtaining a Bachelors in Business Management from Emmanuel College and gigging on the weekends. Much of my music education has come from the real-world experiences of performing on the stage and in the studio. I perform regularly with different bands and have been composing original material for many years. Like my colleagues at AYDM, my knowledge base includes music theory, harmony, ear training, composition, improvisation, rhythm, arranging, ensembles, technique and more.

What are your favorite kinds of music to play and why?

I grew up on Michael Jackson, Motown records and blues influenced rock n' roll. I love high energy music with true passion. When I began learning the guitar, the heavy riffs of Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page gave me a spiritual feeling. Understanding how to feel the groove only comes with lots of practice. That's where my best phrasing and style choices come from. Whether it's a blues shuffle, a fast country chicken pickin' song or an R&B ballad, how you sit in the groove dictates how interesting and fun your music will be to others. Rock and blues are my favorites, tapping into the feeling of infinite youth and energy. Funk and soul are close seconds. As I tell my students, the good news is all these genres are connected and you can throw it all together! Truly, that's what rock n' roll means to me - melting pot.

What are some of the musical styles you teach?

I teach my students different styles of music. My favorites are rock, blues (finger picking and slide), funk, soul, folk, country and reggae.

Where are some of the places you've performed?

I've performed at most clubs in Boston including The Paradise, The Middle East, Church of Boston, etc. I've played Meadowbrook, the Strange Creek Festival and the Bull Run. I've also performed at El Cid in Los Angeles and The Bitter End in New York.

Who are some of your favorite band and musicians?

Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Chicago, Ray Charles, Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Derek Trucks, Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Clutch, Daniel Lanois, Ike & Tina Turner, Sly & The Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Mahavishnu, The Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsys, Jeff Beck, The Black Crowes, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, The Rolling Stones, The Band, The Staple Singers, Eric Clapton, R.L. Burnside, Jeff Buckley, Brian Blade, James Jamerson, Willy Weeks, Chet Atkins, Nina Simone, Yes, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Frank Zappa… and the list goes on and on.

What are your other musical pursuits and accomplishments?

I'm the songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist for my rock band Fire in the Field. We've released three albums and have traveled as far as North Carolina to play a show for diehard fans. We have a great booking agent. I've also been gigging as a guitarist-for-hire with different bands throughout New England. In the last several years I've played with Ben Knight (pop rock), Patty Tuite (traditional blues/jazz), Red Sky Mary (rock n' roll), Freevolt (roots reggae) and Miss Fairchild (funk/R&B). Miss Fairchild has toured the Virgin Islands three times now. I'm also releasing an acoustic singer/songwriter album of original songs. I often perform solo acoustic gigs of original material in the vein of old time blues and folk.

What are some of your artistic goals?

I plan to continue writing and recording great songs that get better and better with each release. I also write short stories and poetry. I've also composed and conceptualized a rock opera I hope to produce for the stage.

Tell us about your sound clips:

1) The first excerpt is a newer Fire in the Field song called "Eyes." 2) "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" was written in 1923 and made famous by Bessie Smith and later revived by Eric Clapton. That's my bandmate Raquel Llera-Stern singing with me. 3) This clip is from on older song of mine called "The Stomp" and is influenced by Led Zeppelin who were themselves influenced by old blues greats like Leadbelly and Son House.