(Written around 2010)
Mike is a really awesome dude who has done lots of things.
First and foremost, Mike has always wondered why bios on websites must always be written in the third person when they were obviously written by that person anyway. This bio being no different, Mike has decided to press on with this tradition as it seems to have worked well for others.
He is the guy who wrote the MAT interface for Ableton Live for Cirque du Soleil’s production of “KA” at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. It was written in Cycling 74’s Max/MSP programming environment.
Mike’s first exposure to MIDI happened around 1985 when he played in a band with the brother of Dave Oppenheim, founder of Opcode Systems and one of the founding fathers of MIDI in general. (Dan Oppenheim, where are you?) With what was left of a $20k re-enlistment bonus, after taxes, Mike bought an Atari 1040ST computer, Master Tracks Pro Sequencing software, A Roland S-10 sampler (12-bit), a few other toys and never looked back.
In 1986 Mike competed and won a spot as a guitar player in the USAF Tops in Blue program. During that tour he learned much about sound systems in general. He was asked to tour again in 1994. After picking up more sound engineering chops Mike toured again with TIB in 1995 but this time as an Audio Engineer and Technical Director.
After that tour Mike was invited to join the USAF Band of the Golden West as an Audio Technician. That job gave him many great opportunities such as working with the great Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Sound, and designing and directing the setup of a large-scale sound system for an address by President George W. Bush. He had the opportunity to do FOH mixes for artists such as Pablo Cruise, The Kingston Trio, Freida Payne, and Wilford Brimley to name a few. This also gave him the opportunity to attend workshops conducted by audio legends such as Al Schmidtt, George Massenburg, Rupert Neve, Shawn Murphy and many more.
After seeing Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere” in Las Vegas, Mike decided that was what he wanted to do when he grew up. (Do sound for Cirque that is, not to wear spandex and make-up) So, after retiring from the Air Force in 2003, Mike moved the family to Las Vegas to pursue that dream. With a combination of sheer persistense and lucky timing, Mike landed a job at the $200M production of Cirque du Soleil’s KA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
As a Lead Audio Technician for “KA”, Mike wears many hats, or tuques, since it’s a French-Canadian show. He has changed batteries in belt packs, been an RF tech, mixed Front-of-House, mixed monitors, and fixes things occaisionally. Now he mostly sits in front of a computer either programming stuff, flinging around a credit card with wild abandon or just taming the paperwork dragon that is a necessary evil of such a large production.
Mike now lives in Las Vegas with his family. In addition to his work with Cirque du Soleil he continues to pursue his passions of general geekery such as trying to learn programming languages and writing applications in MAX/MSP.