Mike Edwards is the bass player for The Big Zephyr and helps with back-up and a few lead vocals. Mike has been a local East Valley boy since the first grade when his parents moved here from St. Louis, MO.
He decided at the age of 12 after watching his older peers play the songs he was hearing on the radio at local dances that this was something he too, had to do. His first “gig” was lip-synching to the Beatles with 3 other school chums at the 8th grade talent show on instruments they did not yet know how to play. So with a few junior high friends began his journey of rock and roll. Although he started out playing 6 string guitar on classics like “Gloria”, “Dirty Water”, “Wild Thing” and “Born to be Wild”, he was soon recruited to switch to bass when another band’s bass player was drafted into the Army.
Playing every local high school dance, sock-hop, hootenanny and “Battle of the Bands” possible became a passion all through high school until his 1971 graduation. After a short semester as a music major at Mesa Community, Mike and three long-time buddies formed the band “Geofree” and evolved into a top- notch night club band with a strong local following. After playing at all the local venues, they were ready to venture out on the road as local heroes from Chandler. Two and a half years of steady touring the midwest college circuit allowed Mike to hone his chops on just about every top 40 song that rock and roll radio played in the early ’70’s.
Mike’s first and most prominent bass-playing influences ranged from the Beatles, Stones, and early R&B to Blues and every form of rock and roll in between, with heavy emphasis by early blues rockers such as Savoy Brown, John Mayall, Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton and Delbert McClinton. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin were his early “metal” heroes. He later tried to emulate players like Otiel Burbridge and Nathan East.
Mike has played in several local bands since those “road” days and kept pace with whatever people want to hear when they go to dance and listen to music. He even played 2 1/2 years of country and oldies in a 3 piece band called “Fly By Night”, further enhancing his ability to play other musical genres.
Playing in Bill Babin’s Big Zephyr has opened up a whole new and exciting opportunity to play with other very talented musicians and is the beginning of a new era for Mike’s musical horizons.