April 4th, 2023 - The Incomparable MIKE GILL By Lea Caffrey, Photographer / Music Journalist, April 2023
Recently, I had the chance to meet up with one of my favorite vocalists from New England, Mr. Mike Gill at the TAP Room at MGM.
Mike is the lead vocalist for Beyond Purple, a supergroup of artists performing the best of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Dio. The lineup of this band, along with Mike on vocals is Jimi Bell of Autograph and House of Lords, on guitar, BJ Zampa of Dokken on drums, Mark Zito of Livesay on keyboards and Mr. Brian Camilleri on bass. Mike is also the lead vocalist for the original metal rock band Livesay. The lineup with Mike for this band is the incredible Gregg Livesay on guitar, Rich Andrews on Bass and vocals, Mark Zito on keyboards and Keith Michaels Ruggiero of Tango Down on drums.
Mike, thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I am beyond excited to introduce you to the Tru Rock Revival family, as you are one of my all time favorite vocalists! Lets jump right in!
TRR: Tell me about when you first started out in music. Did you start singing at an early age?
Mike: I came from a musical family. My Mom and Dad actually met on a radio station…. The station put them together to sing show tunes. They started dating then later married. My Dad was head of the church choir and was a vocalist himself. He was also in a barbershop quartet. I started singing when I was in first grade. The nuns at school told me that I was going to sing in the Christmas show and I did. That was my first show and where my singing career started.
TRR: Were there other bands you were in before the one's you're in now?
Mike: Some of the prior bands I was in prior to the bands I am in now were Equinox, RTM and Guilty.
TRR: Who were/are your musical influences?
Mike: Alice Cooper. He is the reason I play the harmonica because of the song Eighteen. My High School music teacher Mr. Demaio; I learned a lot from him. Then there is Led Zeppelin, Johnny and Edgar Winter. I love blues music. You can feel it.
TRR: Great influences! All of them. Let me ask you this; If you could collaborate with any other musician, who would it be?
Mike: Hmmm. If I had to pick, it would be the guitarist from Extreme, Nuno Bettencourt.
TRR: Do you have a personal preference on covers or originals when singing or is the experience just different?
Mike: It is different, for sure. When covering another band's music, I have to study the singer, their vocal delivery etc. With original music, our Livesay music, I can just sing as myself authentically.
TRR: Do you ever get nervous when performing?
Mike: No, I don’t. I feel that you have to be confident when performing. If you are not, you should not be doing it. I am confident when on stage.
TRR: Is there one performance in your career that stands out in your mind? What was the most memorable performance for you?
Mike: There are a few. With Beyond Purple, it was the show we did here at the MGM Casino in performance that stands out was the show I did with Livesay at the Chance Theater in New York with Y&T.
TRR: How do you spend your time when you are not on the road/performing?
Mike: Most of my free time is spent with my wife and kids. I am a big family man. Hockey and baseball are pretty important too. I love sports! One of the other things I like to do is cook.
TRR: What is something about you that your fans do not know?
Mike: My Wife will tell you…. I am a nerd!
TRR: Mike Gill is a nerd?
Mike: Lol. Yep, I'm a nerd. Or, at least my wife thinks I am. Lol. One of the other things is that I am not only a vocalist, I am a lyricist. I am really enjoying collaborating with Gregg Livesay on the new Livesay music.
TRR: I can't wait to hear it. What is next for Mike Gill?
Mike: Besides the new Livesay music, the band just released our music video for our single “Walk Away”. Livesay will be releasing some more songs this year and we are excited about that. Stay tuned!
TRR: Thanks for your time Mike. This has been very cool.