1. What are some of your favorite musical groups besides yourself, that inspire you?
There are a lot of them - it probably started off with Led Zeppelin and Van Halen and then Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Korn. There really are a lot of great bands who have a lot to offer. I also like listening to Elton John and James Taylor and Journey - im all over the place!
2. Do you get nervous before a show, after all these years of doing this? And have your dreams of "making it" come true?
It's usually pretty rare that i get nervous before a show. I usually get pretty excited and can't wait to get on stage and play. I do remember a time that I did though - we were starting touring right before The Illusion of Progress came out and it was our first gig back. I remember being really nervous for that one because we hadn't played in a while and we were doing a bunch of songs that we hadn't played out before. It's funny - that first gig went fine. The second one, not so much. We got it together though.
Also, sometimes for TV appearances I get a little nervy. Those can be strange because basically you’re just sitting there waiting and someone then points to you and tells ya when to start and you have to perform. That can be a bit weird.
3. Why don’t you play the song 4 WALLS any more?
We probably haven't played that song in over 10 years - and I probably haven't heard it in 10 years. No real answer for you except that we really have only played a handful of songs off Tormented - Break, Come Again and I think Tolerate. I would definitely have to go back and learn it - I have no idea how it goes. It's funny because people ask me about that song a lot and why don't we play it. Maybe we should learn it and try it again. Who knows?
4. How did you spend your vacations?
I pretty much spent as much time as I could with the family. We took the kids to Disney, which was fun. They loved it! Mikey still asks me almost every day when we're going back to Florida again. We took the kids to some shows and a little weekend trip here and there. Really just enjoyed being home. I did a lot of things around the house, catching up with friends and entertaining. I also spent a lot of time practicing and writing for the new record.
5. Remember the tattoos that all of you guys were suppose to do when you sell a million records? I know that Aaron and Old School got theirs, but you still didn't do that tattoo. So are you not going to get that tattoo ever?
You had to bring that up, huh? I’m just not a tattoo guy. I know it's shitty of me not to get it and I will - someday. We are very lucky for the career that we have had and when we made that pact, I wasn't sure we were ever going to sell a million records. I do owe it to the guys for sure - I just wish you didn't remind me about it!!
6. Are there any differences between how crowds in USA and Europe respond to Staind’s gigs? (I personally noticed that people in USA keep yelling all the time, while people in Europe sing along, can you refer to that?)
The one thing that I do notice when playing in Europe is that they like to clap along to the songs. If there's some kind of breakdown to a song, it's not unusual for the whole crowd to throw their hands above their heads and start clapping along. It's pretty awesome! You might be right that they pay more attention (quieter) during a song and sing along but the singing along def happens in the us also.
7. What are your hobbies (except playing guitar of course). I mean Aaron collects guitars and hunts, Old School does knives. And you?
Well, I don't have any of those hobbies. It's weird - guitar is the biggest one and that's not a hobby - luckily it's my job! I do like to do carpentry work around the house. I like fixing and building things. Whether it's redoing a bathroom, tiling, painting, putting up trim - I enjoy that kind of stuff. I love reading but never do it at home because I don't have any time too. I get to read when I’m on the road mostly. Is watching the Sox / Patriots a hobby? I love doing that - not much activity in that though. The biggest thing is really spending time with the family when I’m home. That's not really a hobby either but what I enjoy.
8. How have you played for so many years and not thrown your back out doing those crazy moves??
Well, I have from time to time. I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to have to stop doing that but it's hard - I enjoy playing our music and have always done it. I remember when we filmed the Mudshovel video I did that for like 14 hours on and off and I couldn't get out of bed the next day. The funny thing is you watch the playback and I’m never in the shot - it's always on Aaron!! I’m def in pain from time to time but I have to say it's my neck that probably hurts me more than my back.
9. Mike, have you ever visited "The House of Guitars" in Rochester, NY?
I have been there - a couple of times. It's been years though since I've been there. I remember going to a guitar clinic there when my old guitar teacher Tony MacAlpine was there. I went with some friends and we gave Tony a ride home to Springfield, MA (where he's from). We had a blast! That's a really great store (from what I can remember). You know what I remember best about it? Getting a Rochester shit plate (or garbage plate) at a restaurant next store. I know the original plate is from Nick Tahoe's but I don't think that was the restaurant we went too. For anyone who doesn't know what that is - Google it and if your EVER in Rochester, NY - get one!!! It looks and sounds terrible but it’s AWESOME!!!
10. Will the upcoming album be written on a standard guitar or a baritone or perhaps a combination?
So far most of the new record is written back on the baritone again. There are also songs written in standard tuning but the majority is written on the baritone. I love playing my new prs baritones - they've really done a nice job on them! We'll have to see what ends up making it on the record.