BIOGRAPHY • Written by Karen Anderson :
Gold and Platinum awarded Guitarist/Singer/Studio Musician/Concert & Nightclub Performer
Mike Hamilton delivers a repertoire so vast and varied, it’s no surprise he’s one of the steadiest-performing solo artists on the nightclub circuit. Easy to admire and hard to categorize,
Hamilton’s inspired musicianship prompted Coaster magazine to call him
“one of the more valued gems of the Orange Coast.”
A Southern California native, Hamilton is a consummate guitarist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter/composer. His inventive performances escort audiences through a sonic travelogue of
diverse styles - from Pop, Alternative, Soul, Rock, Blues, R&B, Reggae, Folk and Country
- to Jazz Fusion, Nouveau Flamenco, Straight-Ahead Jazz & Standards, Smooth Jazz and Classical. Switching from electric, nylon & steel string acoustic and synthesizer guitars to piano,
Mike plays with instinctive fluidity and versatility, enhanced by his own smooth vocals.
Within this framework, he simultaneously plays keyboard-bass pedals
for additional harmonic and rhythmic variations.
No stranger to the spotlight, Hamilton has performed, toured and/or recorded with Jay Ferguson,
Sting, Peter Kater, Bette Midler, Jack Tempchin, Michael Steele (of the Bangles), Jennifer Warnes,
Steve Wood, Phil Marshall, Mick Fleetwood, Jesse Colin Young, Richard Marx, Mario Frangoulis,
Andrej Sifrer, Daniel May, Neil Larsen, jazz-bassist/composer Max Bennett, Rick Roberts (of Firefall),
Justin Hayward, and Pure Prairie League - with whom he performed several of his own original songs.
He also toured internationally with Kenny Loggins, recording lead guitar solos, background vocals
and rhythm guitar parts on seven of Ken’s gold and platinum Sony/Columbia albums:
“Nightwatch” (which included the hit “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Stevie Nicks),
“Keep the Fire” (“This Is It” with Michael McDonald), “Alive,” “Caddyshack” (I’m Alright),
“High Adventure” (“Don’t Fight It” with Steve Perry and Neil Giraldo
on which Mike played the bass guitar and “Heart to Heart”), “The Essential Kenny Loggins”
and “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - The Greatest Hits of Kenny Loggins”.
His studio work with composers/producers Steve Wood and Phil Marshall has enhanced many acclaimed soundtracks for television and movies. Working with Steve Wood,
Mike’s guitar is featured on the Academy Award-nominated movie “Dolphins” (with Sting)
and other MacGillivray Freeman IMax films including
“The Living Sea” (with Sting), “Adventures in Wild California” (with Lindsay Buckingham),
“Amazing Caves” (with Justin Hayward and The Moody Blues), “Coral Reef Adventure”
(with Crosby, Stills & Nash), “Everest” (with George Harrison), the Steve Wood/Stefan Lessard/Dave Matthews Band CD and Movie Score collaboration for “Grand Canyon Adventure - River at Risk”.
His guitar playing is also showcased on Phil Marshall’s classic soundtrack for “Endless Summer II,”
as well as Marshall's film scores for the Disney Channel movies “Johnny Tsunami,” “Horse Sense,” “Ready to Run,” and “Jumping Ship.”
Hamilton continues to work on assorted projects, including his own compositions and recordings,
which are always in progress. He has released 4 solo albums: “Songs And Sounds The Same”,
“Anthology”, “Liv The Dig” and “Impianoprov In Folktrancea”.
As a solo performer, Mike has played countless nightclub and concert stages from San Diego to
British Columbia. He has opened for Spyro Gyra, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel,
Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo and others. In addition to his one man band format, Hamilton gathers
some of the finest musicians in the business for two- or three-piece ensembles in various styles.
Whether he’s in the studio, on the touring stage or performing at clubs throughout the West Coast,
the ultimate reward for Mike Hamilton is that his audiences eagerly absorb whatever musical excursions he sends their way. In the words of the Spokane Chronicle,
“A trip out to hear him is guaranteed worthwhile.”
During Mike’s stint as lead guitarist and background singer for the Loggins Band, Kenny and his musicians collaborated in recording studios and on concert stages with a talented group of music artists including: Bruce Botnick, Tom Dowd, Bob James, Roy Thomas Baker, David Foster, Phil Ramone, Michael McDonald, Stevie Nicks, Dave Mason, Michael Jackson, Jim Messina, Steve Perry, Richard Page, Milt Holland, Paulinho da Costa, Michael Brecker, Fred Tackett, David Sanborn, Nathan East, Steve Lukather, Richard Stekol, James Newton Howard, Neil Giraldo, Steve Khan, Max Gronenthal, and Andy Johns.
On the road, Kenny Loggins and Band played major venues around the world and shared the concert bill with Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Chick Corea/Stanley Clarke, Dave Mason (featuring Mark Stein from Vanilla Fudge), Hall and Oates, Al di Meola, Firefall (featuring Mark Andes on bass and vocals from Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne and Mike Clarke on drums from the original Byrds), Larry Carlton, Seals and Crofts, America, Jack Tempchin, Richard Belzer, Bob Saget (sometimes comedians would open the show), Toto, Leo Kottke, Tom Johnston and many others. Mike enjoyed meeting, traveling with, and often jamming with many of these inspirational musicians.
When Larry Carlton was opening the shows for Loggins during a few months in 1978/79, Mike and Larry would sometimes warm up their guitars and guitar playing together in one of the tuning rooms before a concert by jamming on some standards and blues changes.