Home > Featured Musician, Music > Featured Musician: Mike Passaro

Featured Musician: Mike Passaro

Webiste:  http://www.mikepassaro.com/

Twitter: mikepassaro

Life is Music (LiM): What Instruments do you play?

Mike Passaro (MP): Acoustic guitar, rhythm electric, and drums.

LiM: List Your Gear.

MP: In drum world, I play a 4 pieceTaye TourPro birch kit. I use a standard 22×18 kick with a 10×8.5 rack tom and a 16×16 tom on the bottom. I go back and forth on snare between a Taye Stainless 14×5 and the TourPro birch 14×6.5 drum. I also have a 8×8 rack tom that I use for small sets or small rooms. Sometimes I’ll convert the 16×16 into a bass drum and use the 8×8 and 10×8.5 for a tighter sound…

I’m playing a 21″ K Constantinople Big Band Ride, 18″ 2002 Paiste Crash, 16″ Zildjian K Dark Custom Crash, and 14″ K Constantinople hats.

In acoustic guitar world, my primary guitars are a Gibson J45 and a Breadlove Focus (both have lr baggs pickups) played through my Avalon U5 preamp. I also have a Takamine EAN10c and a Guild D25.

Electric world is newer to me, but I play either an American Tele (thanks James) or Epiphone Sheraton II w/Bigsby through a Fender Blues Jr. My pedal board is a work in progress (props to PedalTrain). My current signal chain is MXR Custom Comp, Fulldrive, VP jr, DD-20, Danelectro Tremolo, to the MXR Carbon Copy.

LiM: So you play drums and guitar…which would you consider to be your strength? Why?

MP: I actually think both instruments are connected more than people think. They are both rhythm, deep pocket type instruments. You can create groove with both. You can push dynamics and mood with both. So, I’m either good at both or should find a different craft!

LiM: What do you consider to be your weaknesses as a musician?

MP: Thinking melodically. I’ve spent almost all of my musical life thinking in terms of rhythms and feel. mood. groove. I could listen to four minutes of steady pocket drumming, so that causes me to spend less time on melody, hook lines, and vocals…

LiM: How did you get involved with music?

MP: Music got involved with me. My dad was a musician in his earlier days (went to Nashville and made a record). He also had 5 kids (I’m number 2). Lots of instruments around the house, and lots of curious minds and fingers makes for a musical childhood…

LiM: Who would you consider to be your musical influences?

MP: Geeze. No one wins with this question. I leave things out. You only get a short list. Early musical life: classic rock (Zeppelin, Boston, Eagles, Journey, Queen, Beatles). Recent: Steve Smith, Joel Cameron, Steve Jordan, Jeremy Lutito, Chris McHue, MATT CHAMBERLAIN.

LiM: Tell us the last 10 albums you’ve purchased?


Andrew Peterson // “Resurrection Letters Vol. 2”

Derek Webb // “Stockholm Syndrome”

John Mayer // “Battle Studies”

Carrie Underwood // “Play On”

Keith Urban // “Defying Gravity”

Jeremy Riddle // “Full Attention”

Landon Pigg // “the Boy who Never”

Needtobreathe // “The Outsiders”

Patty Griffin // “Downtown Church”

Robbie Seay Band // “Miracle”

LiM: Describe one of your most memorable moments as a musician?

MP: I have so many great moments. Playing overseas, playing live shows with great people. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities! Favorites for me, though, are about firsts. (one of) My favorite live moment was probably my first Shelly Moore Band show. We had booked a show at the Vineyard Cafe in Raleigh, had some songs, but never really knew if anyone was actually going to show up. The place was packed. Three sets. Standing room only.

My favorite studio moment was making the first Shelly Moore Band record. It’s hard to explain how exciting it is to hear musical ideas take on life and energy.

LiM: What recording projects have you been a part of in the past?

Beloved // Live Worship Record 2003 // acoustic guitar

SMB // Self-titled 2004 // acoustic guitar, perc

Life is Precious // SMB had a cut on the compliation 2006 // acoustic guitar

Hope & Decay // SMB studio project #2 2007 // acoustic guitar, engineer

a Hymn Project // SMB hymns 2008 // acoustic & electric guitars, bgvs, co-producer, engineer

Jess  Ray // Jess Ray And The Rag Tag Army 2009 // producer, acoustic guitars, programming, engineer, arranging

On the Incarnation // Daniel Renstrom // drums, acoustic guitars, arranging

LiM: Do you have any recording projects in the works?

MP: We’re in pre-production on:
Daniel Renstrom record (possibly “on the resurrection”)
SMB studio record #3
SMB hymn project vol. 2

A special thanks to Mike for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview.

  1. May 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Nonsense Mike, you play lead electric too, not just rhythm.

  2. savedalone
    May 11, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    good stuff!

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