Michael Leasure has held the drum chair Since 2008. You can see Michael Leasure and watch him play by by visiting Michael's Facebook Page.
Mike Leasure was born in Alhambra, California in 1968. He is the youngest of six children. He found his life's calling at the ripe old age of six while sitting in his mother's kitchen. His mother was doing the dishes while listening to the radio. At one point a Benny Goodman tune came on and the young boy, captivated by the drumming of Gene Krupa, picked up some pots and pans and began flailing away in accompaniment.
"It didn't take long for my mother to realize that I had some rhythm. She went out and bought me this toy drum kit out of the Sears catalogue. I set the drums up in our front yard and started beating on them and ended up putting my hands right through the drum heads. I basically destroyed those drums in a day. My mother bought me a more professional set out of The Recycler and those lasted quite a long time" long enough for Leasure to decide that he wanted to be a drummer.
"I guess I knew at six that I wanted to be a drummer, but I never took lessons. I would lock myself in our garage with the drums and the stereo and learn how to play by listening to 45's. The first records I played to were by Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs and Sweet."
Leasure's passion carried him through his school years and, at age 18, to his first professional job as the drummer for the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in 1987. He was also active, during this period, as a music teacher and a drum line coach for numerous Southern California schools, including his alma mater Alhambra High School and the USC Drum Line.
It was during his early years as a professional that Leasure began to expand his musical horizons. From a hard rock-heavy metal base that included Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, he progressed to the jazz fusion world of Chick Corea, Weather Report and Return to Forever. Leasure came into his own in his early 20's in a tightly knit Arcadia, California club circuit, where clubs like The First Cabin, Tommy T's and Steerburger offered live music seven nights a week. The young drummer began by sitting in with various bands and eventually worked his way into paying gigs with several area bands. "That was a real 'on the job' learning experience for me," recalls Leasure. "Those bands were playing pop, rock and Top Forty stuff. If I wanted to work I had to learn all those styles."
Leasure's reputation continued to grow throughout the 90's. He caught the attention of the legendary blues man Albert Collins and played with the master on a series of shows on one of the popular Blues Cruises ocean liner trips. One Southern California show had Leasure drumming for another drummer turned front man, Buddy Miles. Leasure has always been big on networking and it was his association with another musician that landed him the audition for The Edgar Winter Band.
With only 24 hours to learn the three songs, including a 20 minute version of Winter's monster hit 'Frankenstein', Leasure was a little nervous when the day of the audition found him alone in a rehearsal hall with Edgar Winter. "We did the first two songs and then Edgar told me a couple of things I had done wrong," remembered Leasure. "I figured, 'Well I just blew that gig.' Then Edgar says 'You're the 20th drummer I've interviewed for this job 'and I'm figuring that yeah, I blew it. Then he says 'I guess I'm going to have to call the other 19 and tell them that you have the job.'
"Leasure made his debut as drummer for The Edgar Winter Band in March 2005. "I was nervous and the sound check didn't go all that well. But once we all walked out on stage, everything just kind of fell into place." Leasure played 50 shows with Winter in 2005 & 2006. He also played on the single 'Something Can Be Done', a Hurricane Katrina relief charity project. "I will never forget all the great shows & times on the road. Edgar Winter is a pleasure to work with," says Leasure.
Michael has worked with Guitar Phenom Philip Sayce for the past six years and is currently touring the world this summer with Blues/Rock legend, Walter Trout.
Mike Leasure's goals for the future are simple. "For me it's not about fame and fortune or being the greatest drummer in the world. I just want to play music for a living, have a comfortable life and take care of my family," which is not to say that Mike Leasure, in his own quiet way, does not have an ego. "It would be wonderful to be recognized for my contribution to the music world and I feel that can happen by sharing this wonderful gift that GOD has blessed me with."
Written by Marc Shapiro
Join Mailing List
Tweets by @waltertrout