12 QUESTIONS WITH MIKE COOLEY

Can you give us a brief history of your playing career?
I started learning to play when I was about 8. My first gigs were playing on an early morning TV show hosted by Al Lester. He was a local bluegrass musician, did some sessions, and was mainly a fiddler (I mean played a mean fiddle). But like most people of his generation, could play anything good enough to make some money come out of it. He had a little shop out back of his house where he rebuilt fiddles and gave lessons and I was one of his students. I was on his show 3 times when I was about 9 or 10.

I formed a few bands with guys from high school and maybe played 1 or 2 gigs with each and then lost interest for a while. I was a lousy student and my parents always used that as an excuse to put a stop to any of my rock ‘n’ roll ambitions. I can’t say I blame them. They were afraid I would fall in with the wrong crowd and end up playing dive bars, sleeping on filthy floors, and coming home with nothing to show for it. And just to show them, I spent 20 years doing just that!

What inspired you to start playing guitar?
I was so young when I decided I wanted to play guitar, I don’t remember what it was. It was probably something on TV.

What was your first electric guitar?
My first electric was a UNIVOX. It was a strat body with 3 humbuckers and a neck like a fence post. The amp was a pignose 1×12. I played my first bar gig with that set up.

What are your top 5 favorite records?
As far as albums I like… I like every album anybody had passion to make and disregarded what anybody had to say about it. I know there are more than 5.
Live at San Quinton – Johnny Cash
Layla – Derek and the Dominos
To Long In The Wasteland – James McMurtrey
One More From The Road – Lynyrd Skynrd
Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones

What was the proudest moment and/or performance of your playing career?
I guess my proudest momement had to be when we headlined the Fillmore in San Fransisco the first time.

How did you hear about Reverend?
I first heard about Reverend about 7 or 8 years ago in an ad for the hellhound combo amps.

What Reverend guitar(s) are you using?
What kind of Reverend guitar do I use? I didn’t know there was going to be a test on this.

What do you like about your Reverend guitar?
I like the look. It’s unique yet traditional. The tremolo is the best ever, and the Bass Contour control is a function that actually works.

What amps and pedals do you currently use?
The set up I currently use live is a Sommatone Roaring 40 head with 2×12 cab and a Budda wah, Seymore Duncan Pickup booster, Boss Super Overdrive, Electro Harmonix Holy Stain, and a Boss Space Echo.

Do you have any unusual hobbies, skills, or pastimes you’d like to share with us?
This used to be my hobby, but I fucked it up by trying to make a living out of it. I’m looking for a new one.

Do you have any advice for up and coming players?
My advice to up and coming players is look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I hate anybody bad enough to do this to myself?” If the answer is yes, buy a sleeping bag. If It’s no, get a job.

Please tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc. we should know about:
See drivebytruckers.com.