Michael Barsimanto and Michael Duffy join IP's artist roster
Artist biography Michael Duffy
Drums and percussion are often categorised together, but at a professional level the two instruments are worlds apart. Closer inspection reveals differing setups, rhythms, and overall a complete contrastive approach to the song. Some of the great drummers are quite often minimalistic percussionists, and vice versa.
But in life and music, there are always exceptions, and musician Michael Duffy has proved that he is undoubtably one of them. Michael Duffy: "When I was playing percussion people would assume that that was what I did, and then when they would see me play drum set they would be taken aback that I was able to do both. I would be playing drums with an alt-rock band on Friday night and then playing Timbales with an all Cuban salsa band on Saturday night (with me being the only gringo in the band) - this would kind of freak people out. I on the other hand have personally never thought about it too much, until people started telling me you should focus on one or the other, which I never did. I just kept being me and working hard at being me and its all seemed to have worked out for the best."
Michael Duffy has been hooked on playing drums since the age of 12. He started in school bands, gradually progressing through the high school orchestra and jazz bands.
At 18, Michael Duffy joined The Velvet Knights drum and bugle corp. Two years later, he moved on to play with the Blue Devils. In 1991 and 1992, Michael placed in the top five for solo and ensemble competitions. Shortly after, Michael accepted a scholarship to the renowned University of North Texas to study music. At UNT, Michael used his talents not only to perform with the national champion drum line, but also to teach. In his final two years at the university, he played percussion as part of the Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. In 1998, Michael participated in the only UNT Steel Band recording under the direction of the late John Kellis.
Michael left school in 1999 and quickly found his first professional gig with saxophone player Joseph Vincelli. Eventually Michael found a comfortable spot touring and recording with Dallas’ premiere funk and R&B band Mingo Fishtrap. Soon after, he delved into studio work with several Dallas/Ft. Worth groups, including Debra Vial, Shara and Function Junction.
Michael soon moved to Austin, TX to pursue more opportunities for studio work. Diving head first into the blossoming Austin live music scene, Michael put together a Latin hip hop/fusion supergroup called La Tribu. The group included key players of Austin’s music scene. In 2001, La Tribu released “Ataca!” to criticial acclaim. Within their first year of existence, La Tribu received many accolades, including the Best World Music Award at the Austin Music Awards.
When not touring, Michael Duffy stayed busy in the studio. He played on Sony recording artist Vallejo’s debut “Into the New” and became a house musician for the famed Tequila Mockingbird Studio. Michael participated in numerous jingles for national/international companies such as Chili’s, Corona, Budweiser and several local Texas companies.
Michael’s reputation for fierce musical discipline and undeniable natural talent preceded him. He quickly became Austin’s go-to percussionist. Singers visiting from out-of-state, from places such as New York and Puerto Rico, often called on Michael to sit in on local performances.
Arriving in Los Angeles in 2003, Michael Duffy landed his first gig with Grammy winning Latin alternative band, Ozomatli. Extensive touring of the US and Europe followed.
By 2007, Michael Duffy caught the eye of punk rock icon, Steve Soto from The Adolescents, and was soon replacing Breeders drummer Jose Medles on Soto's side project, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts, which also featured guitarist James Achor and bassist Veikko Lepisto of Royal Crown Review. Three years of touring followed as they supported such acts as the Squirrel Nut Zippers and X. After turning heads with Steve Soto, Michael Duffy and the rhythm section of the Twisted Hearts went on to back such names as John Pebsworth from Buck-O-Nine and Rick Barton from the Dropkick Murphys, as well as English folk/punk singer songwriter, Frank Turner.
In 2009, Michael Duffy was tapped to join KCRW Darlings bitter: sweet, once again touring the US and Europe through 2010. This led to him playing with hotel cafe favs AM, Courtney Jaye, and Big Phony.
In early 2012, Michael Duffy was performing with the Afro funk collective, Jungle Fire, this soon led to a relationship with percussionist Miguel 'Oso" Ramirez which led to him playing with Latin Grammy nominated act La Santa Cecilia.
After touring the US and Latin America, this exposure landed Michael Duffy the drum seat in the emerging rock act, Broken Anchor, fronted by Austin Hartley Leonard. Broken Anchor soon released their debut record, 'Fresh Lemonade', with producer Brad Gordan (The Ruse, Jim Bianco, Dan Wilson). A year tour followed which caught the attention of Donavan Frankenreiter's musical director, Matt Grundy. Duffy was quickly handed the drumming duties for Frankenreiter and continues to tour with him today.
Michael Duffy has also been doing television appearances with Kevin Federline.