Lensmanship: Mike and the Monsters
Written by Stephanie Bartik on September 3, 2020
Definitely a “Rocker Chick”. Definitely a talent. Definitely a force to be reckoned with! And beware she might be on stage one minute and standing on the bar the next! When you go to see her perform with Mike and the Monsters, be ready for one heck of a show!
Mike and the Monsters is a female-fronted five piece rock powerhouse that cover a wide range and variety of music, incorporating high-energy true rock and roll. The band is very interactive, so you will be a part of the show!
RRX: Do you see yourself as an artist or entertainer?
MF: Great question! That’s easy. Mostly an entertainer! Coming from a time when singing came straight from the heart, and most weren’t concerned if you could, or couldn’t do acrobatic singing. LOL! i.e.: “runs” etc. We were all about how big the show was and who had the biggest hair, wildest clothing and stadium stages were buried with guitar cabinets. As far as vocalists were concerned, I was personally inspired by artists the likes of David Lee Roth, Joan Jett, Ozzy, Vince Neil, James Hetfield, Blackie Lawless, Lita Ford, and the list goes on! You get the idea. I’m sure most would say these artists were in a league of their own, and wouldn’t be considered “great” vocalists. More so, entertainers. But, it all boils down to personal taste.
RRX: Are you over the hill, or the best is yet to come?
MF: Ha! Like a fine wine! Only better with age. I guess to begin answering this question I’ll have to scroll back and look at the past 35 years I’ve been performing in live bands. My first years aspiring to be like “that” guy/girl on MTV, there was a lot of forced effort that turned into trying way too hard. With time, comes wisdom. I’ve learned over the years to just be me, and not worry about what others think. Accept criticism with grace, and treasure all the great moments. Every performance for me is an opportunity to improve, or change something I’m doing, and make it better. I can honestly say I’m harder on myself than anyone could ever be. With that being said, I’m always lookin’ to the next show, or practice to be “even better” than the last. The best is yet to come!
RRX: Do you consider rock as a music style as alive and vibrant as ever?
MF: YES! It’s true. Rock has made a huge comeback over the past seven to ten years. I attribute this to my generation’s children. Many of these kids have grown up listening to what we liked (as most do). The 70’s, 80’s, early 90’s have gone full circle, and the young adults are now growing their hair longer. Forming bands that write in 4/4 tempo reminiscent of the hair band days. Much of the new music comes from the UK. Just do a search on YouTube, you’ll quickly find this is the new trend. Unfortunately, it takes a while to see it happen here in the US. It is happening. This new young adult generation has grown, and the parents are looking to get back out after years of being Mom and Dad. Now, having a newfound freedom once again, they’re lookin’ to relive those days when they were young adults themselves. (We’re not that old yet!) Being in a rock/cover band I see this all the time.
RRX: How do you decide what to wear on stage?
MF: I make that decision typically an hour or two before leaving for the show, pending the venue, and how I’m feeling. Sometimes I just want to tear it up in sneakers and jeans. Other times I’m feeling “rock star mode” and out comes the bling-y heeled boots and red pants!
RRX: Is there, just like for sportspeople, an age bracket when rock stars are in their prime?
MF: No. All depends on the person. How hard did you ride and put yourself away wet?! LOL! How many drugs did you do? How many cigarettes did you smoke? How much alcohol did you consume? Really, I believe if we do everything, good or bad in moderation, a certain amount of youth will be preserved. And more so than that. I believe it’s a state of mind. Really impossible to put a number on it.
RRX: Tell me about a time when you had to handle an unruly audience member.
MF: I’ve been known to speak out on the rare occasion this happens. usually a little public embarrassment ceases this behavior. If not, then usually the big boys in the room handle it! Poor sap!
RRX: Walk me through a typical set up, warmup and breakdown procedures for gigs
MF: After almost a decade with this band, we are a well-oiled machine. Everyone has a job. I drive the PA to the venue. The guys unload gear. Approx. a 45-minute setup. Quick sound checks if we have time due to my very often tardiness. Whoops. Our engineer runs the sound, so we don’t have too much to deal with during the show. Typically, I eat, talk to our friends/fans while the guys tear down and load gear. Usually our bassist pulls me into the truck, and he drives my drunk ass home! Diva band life! But seriously, I handle all the bookings & arrangements including securing a sound engineer for all shows. This gives me a pass on the load in & out. I do help sometimes!
RRX: Where do you see yourself next year, three years , five years and beyond?
MF: Next year? Three to five years? Most likely right where I am. For how long? I don’t know. But, one thing for sure, I’ll probably always perform. Even if it turns into some old age home acoustic gig,
Thanks for the questions! I hope my answers gave a different perspective from a woman’s point of view. I hope you and the readers enjoy the ride! I sure as hell have, and still do! Thank you! Rock is ageless! Just ask any Elvis fan.