“There’s nothing like riding a bike, and there’s not another rider like Mike! Hop on and go for a ride! I think that you’ll like reading and riding with Mike!” - Lance Armstrong, World Champion Cyclist.
An endorsement from Lance Armstrong? That’s what you’ll find when you visit Michael Ward’s web site. Not only is he an amazingly adaptable guitarist, but an avid cyclist and writer as well. Recently, Michael was able to combine two of his loves by writing his first children’s book titled, Mike and the Bike.
But there’s much more to Michael Ward. He’s one of the few guitarists able to meet the needs of a variety of artists without compromising his distinct tonal identity. His playing and sense of melody are unique, and yet he is able to take another artist’s song and make it his own, while fulfilling the artist’s musical needs as well. Michael’s musical recipe has never failed to deliver the goods. VOX amps have always been one of the main ingredients in Michael’s recipe.
Michael has played with quite a variety of artists. They range from John Hiatt and The Wallflowers, to Shelby Lynne and Ben Harper. In addition to his musical ability, Michael attributes his good fortune to, good fortune! Michael states, “It’s sheer dumb luck! I’m really fortunate and blessed. I had experience with my own bands when I was younger. I had a band called School of Fish which was signed to Capitol Records, and that was more my thing. Then, I started to do more sideman stuff with John Hiatt, hooked up with the Wallflowers, and it’s all been a really amazing experience. I’m just seriously lucky.”
Periodically, when working with an artist Michael is called on to aid in songwriting and to wear the producer’s hat. Michael told us, “I prefer to be involved in the songwriting. That’s where I get to be creative. Shelby Lynn, for instance, is a great writer, singer and producer on her own. Many of the artists that I work with don’t need additional songwriting or production help, but when they do, I love to help. Ben Harper is very into collaborating on all levels, which I really enjoy.”
Recently, Michael acquired a new VOX AC30 Custom Classic. Michael had this to say about the latest incarnation of the AC30, “The new AC30 Custom Classic has some nice new features on it which make it a pretty cool amp. We have a master volume now that makes it a lot more gig friendly to the average player. It really affords me a lot more tonal flexibility at a lower volume. It’s a very versatile amp. You can get a lot of great stuff with the tremolo and the reverb. Of course, it still has the punch of the AC30, which is a very good thing. It’s the most unique tone for a guitar amp in the world. There are all these boutique AC30 knockoffs, and they’re great, but they don’t sound like an AC30. It’s a really amazing amp. I have an old vintage AC30 at home and they have this mid range thing. When you hit a chord, it just jumps out at you. It’s a very unique tone, it’s hard to describe. There are no amps that have that sound, it’s truly amazing. The AC30 delivers this mid range honk and bite that really is something special.” Take it from a player who knows that magic AC30 tone inside and out. Not only does the AC30 Custom Classic have all of the tone of its predecessors, but the features and vibe that a pro like Michael relies on.
Currently, Michael is working with Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Michael had this to say about the new gig, “I am going on the road with Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals which is going to be great and exciting. I’m really looking forward to it. Ben is a great artist to work with.” Be sure to catch Michael and his trusty AC30 Custom Classic with Ben when they come to your town. While they’re on the road, keep up with them at the band’s official website, www.benharper.net.
Please visit www.mikeandthebike.com for more information on Michael’s book, Mike and the Bike. To keep up with all things Michael, check out his official website, www.wardworldwide.com.
Photo by: Darren Young