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Micki Free Interview

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Micki Free: Tattoo Burn-Redux       GET IT NOW at CDBaby





Micki Free is a Grammy Award Winner & Five Time Native American Music Award Winner. Micki was discovered and managed by Gene Simmons of the legendary super group KISS. Micki was the guitarist in the R&B sensation Shalamar, boasting "mega platinum hits" with songs like "Dancing In The Sheets" from the movie soundtrack "Footloose", or friend Eddie Murphy's smash hit movie "Beverly Hills Cop" (where Micki won his Grammy Award for "Best Album Of An Original Score Written For A Motion Picture") on the Dave Chappell Show, in Charlie Murphy's "True Hollywood Stories"...features "MICKI FREE IS NOT A GIRL" skit with Prince playing basketball against Charlie and Eddie Murphy! Micki has been managed by, performed and or recorded with the following; Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the super group KISS, Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Shalamar, Little Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Cheap Trick, Sam Moore of Sam & Dave Fame, Jean Beauvoir, Ramones/co-writer producer and member of the punk group The Plasmatics with Wendy O Williams and the list goes on. Performing at Blues venues/festivals worldwide, Native American casinos, to Micki's "four year appearances"(2007-2010) at the massive "Hard Rock Calling" festival in Hyde Park, London The UK boasting 100,000 fans, Micki does it all!...and LOVES IT!


mickifree bl

Micki's music is "blues based guitar driven tasty original written grooves and songs", that take you the listener, on a journey of taste and emotion, telling a story of the happenings thus far in the life of a mixed blood Comanche-Cherokee Native American; "The Inimitable Micki Free"-John Dryland Cargo records, "Micki Free is a Jimi Hendrix innovator...not a Jimi Hendrix impersonator" --Gene Simmons, KISS, "Jimi Hendrix Rides Again!" --Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones





The Dedicated Rocker Society Music Magazine

Guitarist Micki Free (Shalamar/Crown Of Thorns) re-introduces a redux version of his 2012 release, 'Tattoo Burn'. Why it didn't get the deserved recognition back then is a mystery to me? The album features a stunning line up of musicians. Micki Free on guitars and backing vocals. Howard Hewett on lead vocal duet and background vocals on "God Is On The Phone". Cindy Blackman-Santana and David Hawk Lopez on drums. Bill Wyman, Jack Dailey, Kenny Gradney, David Santos on bass. Mark Muggy Doo Leach & Brother Paul Brown Fender on the Hammond. Randy Singer on harmonica. On backing vocals, Shea, Wendy Moten and Trish Bowden.  

'Tattoo Burn', is not an album that relies on an individual it is a collective of searing, imaginative individuals whose collaboration produces a sound that is modern, as it curls and shapes around the melodies, licks and lyrics whilst being deeply rooted in the tradition of electric blues. I love the way the album builds in excitement song by song, at the end of each track excited in anticipation of the next.  As the listener will experience on tracks like, the soulful swagger of the title track, "Six Feet Down In The Blues", highlighted by some tasty Hammond work. "Co-Co-Gin", "There's a Hole In The Heart Of The Blues" and "Angels In The Room". The track, for me, that begs repeated play is, "Hey Baby (The New Rising Sun)", Micki's guitar work on this track just floored me. His guitar vibe on this album is something to behold, it touches you in a way that makes the hair on the back of you neck stand up and pulls you into the music.  

A truly superb release by one amazing musical talent.  I could not recommend 'Tattoo Burn-Redux' by Micki Free strongly enough. 

- Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society



Don & Sheryl Blues Blog Review (Nashville Blues Society)


Micki Free is a blistering guitarist, and a Grammy-winner, who has worked extensively with the group Shalamar, as well as with the varied  likes of Santana, KISS,  Prince, and a myriad of others.  He’s also a mixed-blood Comanche-Cherokee Native American, with a Voodoo Chile’s soul.  His latest set, entitled “Tattoo Burn-Redux,” and the ten originals and one sweet cover are all gritty, guitar-fueled blasts of soul, blues, funk, and all his other varied influences rolled into one package.  Micki and Howard Hewlett, from aforementioned Shalamar, get right down to the real nitty-gritty, y’all, with a scalding duet on the leadoff cut, a hellfire slab of funked-up gospel, where, no matter what your situation, just reach out, ’cause “God Is On The Phone.”  That cool “needle drop” sound kicks off the title cut, where,  with “her name burned into my body,” when the love is gone, you gotta deal with that “Tattoo Burn.”  A delicious shot of minor-key slow-blues has Micki and his guitar crying over that girl “Mama said to stay away from,” who now has him feeling “Six Feet Down In The Blues.’

Now, Micki does have that Voodoo Chile in his DNA, and you can hear it in a sizzling tribute in the form of a killer read of “Hey Baby (The New Rising Son),” and again on his original tale of those “storm clouds gathering” where “only the good Lord can make it right,” the aptly-titled, “There’s A Hole In The Heart Of The Blues.”

We had three favorites, too.  Micki channels his inner Muddy on the grindin’ story of a sure cure when you have a bit too much the night before, a potent blend of “Mojo Black Coffee,” featuring Randy Singer on the harp.  A nearly-tragic tale of a young woman who turns her life completely around after “40 days and 40 nights” of seriously flirting with “Kentucky whiskey” and “the pure black sin of the flask of Co-Co-Gin” finds her righting the ship, savin’ souls, and entering a convent!  And, is it ever too soon for a cool Yule tune?  Nope–and the Berry-lishus licks of “Five Minutes Till Christmas–did Santa forget about me?”  sho’ nuff fills the bill!

Micki Free is a musical innovator, never afraid to push the envelope when seeking the right sound.  A powerful guitar, gritty vocals, and creative songs make “Tattoo Burn–Redux” a must-listen!  Until next time… Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.



Professor Johnny P's Juke Joint


There’s a restless spirit that lives inside of musician Micki Free. After cutting his teeth on rock and roll, he joined the band Shalamar and appeared with them on two monster soundtracks,Footloose and Beverly Hills Cop. The latter won him a Grammy Award.

From there, he joined forces with Jean Beauvoir to create Crown Of Thorns, a hard-hitting rock band that shook up the 1990’s. After that, he began to explore his Native American roots and released albums of spiritual flute music.

You know, just the average path of a guy who has just released one of the hottest blues albums on 2017. Yeah, right.

Free’s new album on Mysterium Blues Records,Tattoo Burn – Redux, is an album that is difficult to pigeon hole, just like the artist who made it. At its heart is the blues, pure and simple, but there are elements of rock, gospel, and sometimes you can hear some Native American rhythms in the percussion.

Free had some help from some great players on the album. Aside from handling the lead, slide, rhythm guitars and lead vocals, Free also played a little bass. Other musicians include Cindy Blackman-Santana and David “Hawk” Lopez on drums; Bill Wyman, Jack Dailey, Kenny Gradney, and David Santos on bass; Hammond organ played by Mark “Muggy Doo” Leach and Brother Paul Brown with Leach also playing the Fender Rhodes; and Randy Singer on harmonica.

Special guests include Howard Hewett on the lead vocal duet and background vocals on God Is On The Phone; and Cary Bowden on 12-string guitar on Sometimes In Winter.  Backing vocals were provided by Shea, Wendy Moten, Trish Bowden, Hewett, and Free.

The first few funky notes set us up thinking the album is going to go one way, then God Is On The Phone gets going and you realize it’s heading in a different direction. Can we call this a spiritual funk tune? It has a few of the trappings of gospel, primarily with the keyboards, but the guitar is slick funk and they come together in a very satisfying combination.  
Free follows up with the title track, Tattoo Burn, and the opening guitar over drums creates an exciting sound. His music and lyrics put this one square in the blues category. I’m not sure if this is the first blues song to use the tattoo allusion, but it’s the first one I can recall. It adds a new territory to explore. Good song, I think it’ll end up with some airplay.
Free dedicates the album to his mother, Delores Marie, especially for her “glorious greens and barbecue.” So, it’s only fitting that he pens a song called Greens & Barbecue. It’s a slow burning blues song and Free and company are in total control, both of the music and the vocals. I like this one a lot.

That slow burn keeps coming with Six Feet Down In The Blues. This is easily one of the best tracks on the album. It’s tight, and Free’s voice hits every emotion without becoming overblown. I could see this one being a hit for any number of great blues artists who have come before and I think it will stand up among the very best for some time to come. Airplay? That’s a given.

The next song, Mojo Black Coffee, has got a great title and starts off with a true blues riff. I know at least one person who shares my house for whom this song will become their mantra. I’ve learned not to speak until that first cup of coffee has been downed. Sounds like Free is in that same boat. It’s a clever song and the music is as strong as a 32-ounce cup of deep Black Insomnia! That’s the strongest coffee I’ve found to date, if you have another, please let me know so I can share it with Mrs. Professor!

He follows up with the mellower Co-Co-Gin, which has a nice throwback sound. Free’s guitar is good, but he’s reigned it in a little in favor of the keyboards. His vocals are softer, but the story is still as strong as they come. I think by now, Free has got me firmly in his corner. He’s mixed in a few styles, but his heart is entrenched in the blues and he does a great job with them.

There’s A Hole In The Heart Of The Blues starts off with some heavy rock and a scorching guitar riff. Once again, I was thinking that the song would go one way and Free takes off another. This one may be a little heavy for the blues purists, but for those who like their blues dipped in rock, this is going to be one of their favorites.

Next up is Angels In The Room, and Free is back to the slow controlled burn of a master bluesman. I’m not sure who is providing the backing vocals for this number, but she has a great voice. Free does some good slide work and the percussion is solid. It’s a good song, and on a lesser album would probably be a standout.

The one cover on the album is Jimi Hendrix’ Hey Baby (The New Rising Sun) (remix). The artist that first made Free want to become a musician was Hendrix, so it’s only fitting that he include a cover and homage to the man. You can hear a lot of Hendrix’ influence in the way Free plays guitar, but that can be said of many guitarists. It’s finding that heart that Hendrix had that’s the tough part. I think Free’s spirituality comes through in many of his songs, and not just lip service to the spirit. Free faces the dark as well as the light and recognizes that both are part of this life.

There’s some hard rocking that opens Five Minutes Till Christmas. This is one that will be getting a ton of airplay come the holiday season. It’s a solid number with some clever lyrics, and it hasn’t been played to death previously. Free released this as a single to radio stations last Christmas and it was a welcome addition. Santa Blues is going to add this one to his playlist…

Free closes the album with Sometimes In Winter, which features Bowden on 12-string guitar. It’s a mellower sound with some very churchy organ opening with some good guitar riffs filling in. I love the choir of backing voices that lift the song up and over the norm. It’s a fitting ending and a lush song.

Free’s songwriting impressed me a lot. True he’s a hell of a guitar player and his vocals are nothing to sneeze at, but even a good voice and a great guitar can’t elevate a bad song. There’s really not a bad song in the bunch, although a few songs may be too heavily rock oriented for some, but there’s no way to please the entirety of a large group of blues lovers.
I will be watching to see what direction(s) Free’s music might take from this point on. He’s explored rock, he’s explored his Native American heritage with albums of traditional music, and here he’s dropped a pretty damn good blues album. I have a feeling that he will continue to mix these different styles as they are all a part of his musical DNA.









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