Mike Glendinning is one of a kind, a guitarist whose anger and sense of beauty run close to the surface, exploding from amplifiers or CDs a unique, edgy, fluid style he calls grunge jazz. It's outsider music finding its roots in two distinct zones: the intuitive, soulful poetry of jazz improv, and the edgy, dirty attitude of a metal guitar survivor flipping off the universe. And that's just for starters.
Jolted awake to the magical possibilities of electric guitars when he heard Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin at age 12, Mike knew exactly where he wanted to go in life. His influences expanded to include King Crimson, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Jeff Buckley, Gary Wade, and George Cole. By studying with Alex Skolnick (Testament), Mimi Fox (Stanley Jordan, Charlie Hunter, Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez) and Andre Bush (Nnenna Freelon, Steve Smith, Paul McCandless, Charlie Haden), Mike developed the musical vocabulary and skills to teach young guitarists the basics of folk, rock and jazz, the wild energy to sustain hours of jaw-dropping street performances, and the twisted vision to conceive a rock opera about America's most celebrated necrophiliac.
Mike has released four CD's with guest appearances by drummers Brian Collier (Lauryn Hill, Santana, Freddy Clarke) and Mick Mestek (Tower Of Power) and production help from Curtis Ohlson (Ray Charles, George Duke, Bob Weir, Pete Escovedo) and James Boblak (The Police, Robert Fripp, Joe Satriani, Stu Hamm). Judging from the reviews of his work, Mike's grating textures, complex chords and sweet melodic lines are an unheard of combination that the music press raves about while cheerfully trying to pigeonhole.
Mike's heroes have always been the musicians who dared to do something different, and he's genuinely concerned by what he sees as a prejudicial attitude toward musicians, or what he refers to as "my culture."
"I'm not saying everyone who picks up a guitar or drumsticks, or who sits down at a keyboard is automatically good," he says, "but anyone who commits to making this music, this art a part of their lives, anyone who has the balls to play in front of an audience and share what's in their hearts, these people deserve respect for trying. And if music is your livelihood, shouldn't you be treated like anyone else who's in business?
Mike Glendinning's music inspires respect at first listen. Because who else could possibly throw so many diverse styles into a blender and make them work? You have to hear grunge jazz to believe it. And once you hear it, you never forget it.