(Whaling City Sound)


Having played his guitar for luminaries such as Bobby McFerrin, Luciano Pavarotti and Natalie Cole, Mike Clinco makes waves of his own with his 2009 CD Neon. Although he grew up listening to Clapton, Page, Bloomfield and Hendrix, jazz studies fine tuned Clinco’s guitar sound to incorporate classical influences from Stravinsky to jazz guitar giants like Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino. Clinco also spent 14 years with Henry Mancini’s touring band and as a result he worked with 20th Century Fox studios as a session guitarist for a range of films and TV shows. Recorded and mixed in L.A., the nine track Neon CD is filled with sparkling, jazzy guitar instrumentals that are way too uptown to fit into the so called smooth jazz realm. Backed up by jazz giants such as Bob Sheppard (who has worked with Chick Corea “Origin” group), Walt Fowler (who’s worked with Billy Cobham and Frank Zappa), as well as drummer Jimmy Branly and more, Clinco just shines in the company of these jazz all stars. On an album of Clinco originals, the guitarist also manages to fit in a jazz instrumental of his late friend—a cover of Henry Mancini’s “Charade.” In depth liner notes from Charlie Banacos fills in the details behind Clinco’s guitar prowess. www.WhalingCitySound.com

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Musical Background

I started playing guitar at the age of 10. My early influences as a teenager were Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and others. I actually started with the piano and then studied saxophone. High School provided ensembles to perform in but not as a guitarist. My first performances were with cover rock bands playing high school dances. I had several guitar teachers that provided the basics which inspired me to continue my education at the college level. In my senior year, I saw an ad in Downbeat for a music program at the University of Utah and ended up spending 6 years (1972-1978) in Salt Lake City teaching, working in clubs and fronting my own group playing original music. There was a community of students/musicians that provided an inspirational climate of progressive jazz and pop. It was a pivotal time in my development. In 1977, I landed my first real professional gig with Ella Fitzgerald and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. The rhythm section was comprised of the Tommy Flanagan Trio and this is where I really learned the role of a guitarist in a big band. Three years later, I joined the Henry Mancini West Coast touring band and spent 14 years traveling and playing with pickup orchestras. This was a great gig. I also had an opportunity to do film dates with Hank and the experience was incredible. In 1985, I started traveling with Burt Bacharach and remained on that gig until 1997. I was privileged to work in the studios (1980’s) doing film and television sessions with some great composers and musicians. A great deal of work was done at 20th Century Fox and I got a chance to sit next to some incredible guitarists, Tommy Tedesco, Dennis Budimir, George Doering to name a few.

New CD

My new CD entitled Neon was recorded and mixed over a six month period in 2008. It was recorded live in 2 days at a studio in North Hollywood, CA called the Blue Room. The engineer was Talley Sherwood and the project was recorded in Pro Tools HD 24bit, 88.2khz. I brought the files to my home studio where I did some overdubs. Initially, I brought my signal path (Neve 1272 and vintage SM57) to the studio to keep the sound as similar as possible. This proved to be a wise move. I think Neon is a true expression of my composition and playing style. This was an ensemble endeavor and I wanted to feature all the players and not get too self-indulgent in the process. The tunes were assignments when I studied with Charlie Banacos and through the encouragement of Pat Martino, I decided to record the CD.

Favorite Guitars

Over the past 30 years, I’ve managed to collect some really nice instruments. Here’s a partial list:

1961 Gibson Melody Maker - purchased from a homeless guy (he found the guitar in a dumpster) for 100 bucks. Unbelievable!
1965 Fender Strat
1980’s Fender reissue Tele
1990’s Fender DuoSonic
1976 Madeira (Guild) A-75
1970 Takamine 12 string bought from my guitar teacher, Mitch Holder

I recorded my parts for Neon with my favorite Gibson ES-175, circa 1965 and a Gibson ES-335, circa 1968 through a Peavey (mid 80’s) Bandit 75, loaded w/ an EV 12L. The acoustic parts were done with a Lowden S7 and a Takamine nylon string. I used a few pedals on the album… an Ibanez tube screamer (TS808), Lee Jackson gain booster and LA compressor and a Line 6 DL4 delay. My amp collection are mainly Peaveys (tube and transistor). I have 7 of them. I really love the mid 80’s solid state ones for jazz. You swap out the speaker and it transforms them. I’ve only used D’Addario strings…as long as I can remember.

Musical Influences

The turning point my in electric evolution was hearing Bill Connors with Return to Forever. I think that changed my life. Studying with Charlie Banacos really turned my head around and I still refer back to my correspondence courses. During my college years, I was really into Miles Davis (Bitches Brew, On The Corner) and Herbie Hancock (Headhunters). I gravitated toward that style of jazz/funk/rock and comping and playing with a good feel was my main objective. I can remember the first time I heard Inner Mounting Flame by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I couldn’t believe it. It was mesmerizing! John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham really blew my mind. I began to collect ECM records and started listening to John Abercrombie, Ralph Towner, Keith Jarrett. I think their influence was profound on my writing style and this was the kind of music I wanted to play. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite guitarists:

Jazz - Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Jonathan Kreisberg, Kurt Rosenwinkle, John Abercrombie, Ralph Towner, Chet Atkins and Vic Juris.

Rock - Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Landau, Ty Tabor, Adrian Belew.

Blues - Chris Cain, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Freddie King

Upcoming Plans

I’ve been playing around Los Angeles with my own group and want to travel and play with different players around the world. I’d like to work in Europe and Asia and do clinics focusing on composing using the guitar. The response to Neon has been very positive. I’m writing new tunes for my next solo CD.

Web Site

My website is : www.mikeclinco.com
and I can be reached at: mike@mikeclinco.com
I also have a MySpace page: www.myspace.com/mikeclinco


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