West Virginia-born drummer and music journalist Mike Haid has had a varied career in music, though he's largely stayed out of the limelight.
Mike never won won a Grammy or earned a gold, let alone platinum, record. But he calls himself blessed with a great career nevertheless.
Mike Haid left when he was in elementary school. While in high school in northern Kentucky, he picked up the drums and taught himself to play by listening to rock 'n' roll on his record player. Mike: "I teach kids now, and that's still a great way to learn. You can play to a metronome all day, but if you want the vibe of the music, you've got to listen to other people play it."
Through the 1970s, Mike Haid played in lots of little bands. "Too many to remember" according to Mike, but it was good experience and helped him grow as a musician.
Playing hotel bars and restaurants wore him down after a few years. Haid moved to California where he stayed for a couple of years before coming back to Kentucky.
Mike Haid saved up, took a couple of lessons, then returned to California to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, a school founded in 1977 and run by L.A. studio musicians.
Mike Haid stayed in California for 15 years, worked, met his wife and started a family. He played shows, but often he struggled. He won awards for his songwriting, but a big break never came.
"The closest I got to fame was I played a gig at Ed McMahon's house the day after Johnny Carson signed off as host of 'The Tonight Show.' Ed was a real nice guy. He even sat in with us."
Finally, Mike Haid and his family moved to Atlanta. He kept playing, taught lessons and made connections with local musicians and record producers. He started writing for the alternative press. One job led to another until he was regularly contributing to national music magazines. Mike Haid: "Writing for Modern Drummer magazine, that opened a lot of doors for me. I made a lot of friends among drummers I respect."
It didn't happen overnight, but some of these friendships led to opportunities to play in places he probably wouldn't have otherwise, like getting to teach at the Jeunesses Musicales International Drum Camp, in Groznjan, Croatia, where he's hosted clinics for three out of the past four years.