From working with Yngwie to moving to Europe at the age of 37, Mike has faced and overcome many challenges along the way to become one of metal's most prolific drummers. He certainly didn't shy away from laying out all of them in this wide-ranging discussion with me. I really want to thank him for taking so much time out of his schedule to talk to me. Some highlights include:
His career: "Sometimes I laugh when I get paid to play the drums, because I actually get paid to have fun, and that's a hard thing to find on this planet. So I thank God for that."
His time with Yngwie: "He's one of the worst people I've ever met, and I would never work with someone like that again, nor would I ever play with him again. I would work at McDonald's before I played drums for that guy. There's more respect and credibility in working a regular job than playing music for that man."
On playing fusion: "I like to play fusion. I made a few fusion records - these don't sell. You know, people are using those records now - they're either hanging them on their porch to keep birds away, or they're using them for drink coasters. My mom's got a closet full of my solo CDs, if anyone wants to buy some."
Leaving RAGE: "They just kept quantizing my drumming, and putting heavy samples on my drums. And I said, 'Please leave it alone, man. You're destroying this, you're destroying me.' They wouldn't listen. So I left."