Michael Johnson


Acoustic & Electronic Percussion

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Michael joined Relish in the spring of 2012.

Born in Santa Ana, CA; Michael was raised in Kansas City and started playing bongos [and anything that he could hit to make noise] at the age of 2. While listening and emulating Elvis Presley records, he got his first drum kit at age 7 and credits Elvis' music for his initial inspiration for being a musician… or shall we say, a drummer -wink wink.

It was Jr. high school band class where Michael forged his technique and discipline. Around that time, he discovered the talents of Buddy Rich. During at a high school Tri-State competition Michael witnessed Buddy perform and experienced an unforgettable, once in a lifetime opportunity of meeting Buddy after that performance. This 15-minute experience of listening to the World's Best Drummer boasting taught Michael the most important lesson. Buddy Rich knew he was the best ever and let everyone know he was by telling them. Although he could back it up when he would say “I'm the best”, there was not a note of humility; he was full of pride/judgement. The lesson was humility; Be humble knowing the difference in “the best” and “doing your best”. 'The best' is simply another's opinion.

In 1976 Boston released their first album and led Michael to understand the value of melody and production, and more importantly how to 'serve the song'. Then a band called Rush released their epic album; 2112. Other than Elvis, Michael credits these two albums as the most influential works to shape his musical direction.

In 1988; Michael moved to California; entering the local music scene, playing with anyone and everyone and eventually joining a few bands; including the original/cover band Rider and cover band DVS. Michael eventually joined the Rush tribute; Caress of Steel. Michael still plays a few shows each year with Caress of Steel. In 1996 the members of COS formed an original group Afterlife and recorded an original [self-titled] CD; performing only a few rare shows. Along with performing with Relish; Michael also plays with another rock cover band, The Saloonatics.  

As a drummer/musician; Michael tried to live by the motto: “Be humble and Serve the Song”.

Gig Schedule

Rock N’ Roll Cover Band