By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
With Eddie Van Halen now gone, the question is who has the ability to carry the torch he helped lit for guitar players? He was a talent unlike no other and he will be sorely missed. I do not know if anyone can take his place, but I am sure there will be some who can come close. Players like Sergio Michel. He first came to my attention through publicist extraordinaire Raquel Figlo, and she has a good eye for talent. Based out of Florida, Sergio just recently released his second solo effort, Tropical Depression. Thrash and extreme metal collide off this album, as Sergio is a raging inferno with his guitar playing and unapologetic singing. I received the opportunity to chat him through Skype and learn a little bit more about him.
Just before the shutdown last year, he was the opening act for Soulfly on a national tour. After a gig in Texas, that is when the word came down about the pandemic, but he did not let it get him down. As far as influences go, Sergio went into detail about who inspired him to play, starting at 4 years old when he first heard Eddie Van Halen. Other influences range from Yuzo Koshiro, Chris Poland, Mike Chlasciak of Rob Halford’s solo band, and Yngwie Malmsteen. As mentioned before, the name of his new record is Tropical Depression, and he explained where the name came from. He would go on to discuss what some of the songs he wrote means on a deep level. For example, “Subhuman” is about living on paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet and still struggle. His two favorite tracks off Tropical Depression include “Kick Rocks” and “Abysmal.” With the song “Abysmal,” we went into a deep discussion on social media opinions and how the song kind of ties into that topic. He also mentioned that he performed an album release show at the same venue with comedy legends Jim Florentine and Andrew Dice Clay. That would have been a great show to catch. Another thing Sergio and I can agree on is how musical competition shows like The Voice and American Idol do not represent rock in general. Ironically, he actually received some advertising from The Voice thanks to Gwen Stefani coming to the Whisky a Go-Go the night he was there performing.
It was a blast getting to know Sergio. Like all my other guests, he had a very down-to-earth attitude who bleeds for rock ‘n’ roll. Therefore, it is nice to hear that he is going to perform some shows this year, but I really want him here in the O.C. I also enjoyed the debate we had on who was the better drummer in Megadeth, Gar Samuelson or Nick Menza. Tropical Depression is available now, so I suggest you listen to it and embrace the storm he creates. To Sergio Michel, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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