I Never intended to become a Classical Guitarist – fortunately it worked out that way.

Before the age of 10, I was hypnotized by the magic of music, especially the guitar. The radio was always playing in my big sister’s room before school: The Real Don Steele and Wolfman Jack playing the latest hits by Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Spencer Davis Group. (The nickname, “Soulbake” emerged later, re the contents of an 8 milkcrate record collection). Then came the Beatles and FM radio – commercial-free at the time. And then Jimi Hendrix – A new dimension of sound unveiled itself and learning guitar became an obsession.

Persistent persuasion soon led to lessons at the local music store- “Classical” guitar lessons. By the blessing of a versatile instructor (Bill Rogers) at Gilmore Music in Long Beach, California, I learned music theory and classical technique, while getting just enough “Jimi” to keep my fire burnin’. When Bill moved on, I continued lessons with another instructor at the store (Joel Valdivia) who introduced solo guitar arrangements of Latin Jazz, Popular Songs and Standards.

By the age of 14 I was performing live for Church and Charities in exchange for piano lessons from Jerry Earnhardt ( I still love to play non-profits, currently for the Childrens Cancer Association and CDM Adult Day Services). Another major influence was Dave Humphrey, the Music Director at Long Beach Polytechnic. He urged me to get into Choir and was the first to teach me the importance of dynamics and ear training.

At 16 years old some high school friends and I won 1st place at the Cal State Long Beach 5th Annual Banjo, Fiddle and Guitar Contest. In an early all-original rock band, “The Spectators”, I developed as a Song Writer, Arranger and Stage Performer, expanding my abilities to include Blues, Rock and Fusion guitar.

In Louisiana I performed locally with my band, “LA-19″ and also began performing professionally as a solo Classical Guitarist, including at the Governor’s Mansion. While settled in Northern CA, I formed The Michael Baker Band, and continued to perform as a solo guitarist. Some clients were Behringer Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards and Robert Mondavi Winery.

After just completing my first CD, (23 tracks of solo Classical and Spanish Guitar), I am in the process of forming another band and working on more original material. Look for my upcoming shows in and around the Portland, OR Metro area!

Soulbake in a Tux