The history of Mike Terrana (Buffalo, NY, 1960) dates back to a time when his ancient ancestors used to swing through the trees and beat on hollow logs with broken tree branches. Well…not much has changed since then! Mike is proudly carrying on the family tradition with the same reckless enthusiasm. Sometimes Terrana still manages to find the time to hang upside-down from a tree and scream like a wild monkey from hell. (Usually on the weekends…Sorry Mommy).
Originally born in Buffalo, New York State, Mike Terrana had to pay his dues in the club scene in the late 70's and early 80's. In 1987 Mike decided to make his way to the west coast to settle in Los Angeles Ca. At that time, LA was considered to be the Mecca for Heavy Metal. After ten years filled with the relentless grind of recording and touring complete with its fair share of ups and downs, Mike Terrana became disenchanted with his situation in the USA and decide to relocate to Europe in 1997.
"The music scene in LA had changed drastically and there was not much work for drummers of my style. During this time I had completed a few tours of Europe with Yngwie Malmsteen and Tony Macalpine. I thought the response to my playing style was quite receptive, so I took a gamble and decided to move to Holland. I lived there for about six months. I found it to be a great place to live, but it was still hard to find work as a drummer."
Then Mike started getting calls from many German musicians, like Roland Grapow from Master Plan (Ex-Helloween), Gammy Ray, Axel Rudy Pell, and Rage. "Since there was more work in Germany it made sense to move there." Mike Terrana ended up in Hamburg, which also turned out to the launching pad for artists like The Beatles, Ritchie Blackmore and Cozy Powell.
Mike Terrana keeps busy as a full band member of Rage. He also performs clinics and recording sessions with various other artists when his schedule permits. Recently he has formed a new fusion band with French guitar player Cyril Achard called Taboo Voodoo. The band is a mixture of rock and fusion, incorporating beautiful melodies interwoven with odd meter and interesting arrangements. "I really love this kind of music. I was a big fan of all the fusion bands that came out in the 70’s… Weather Report, Return To Forever, Tony Williams and The Mahavishnu Orchestra".
"When I am at home, I listen to a lot of Big Band Swing music and the drummers from that era, most notably Buddy Rich, which I believe to be the greatest drummer ever to walk the face of the earth. I also like to listen to Frank Sinatra, one of the coolest and most important Jazz singers in the history of swing music. I like this music because really gifted musicians played it in real time, often in one take. These people were innovators, pioneers, and craftsmen. They really had something to say and created a timeless and classic style all, their own. Their music will live for many generations to come."
"There has only been one very constant obsession in my life up until now, and that is drumming. When I was a kid that's all I ever dreamed about, I thought it was cool then and it is still cool now! I knew at the age of 8 that I was going to pursue a career as a professional drummer. I really can’t think of anything else I would rather do with my life. My work is my passion. I enjoy the fact that no matter how much I practice…. I can never get good enough… it is a never-ending growth process. I really enjoy watching other drummers of our day like Terry Bozzio, Marco Minnemann and Virgil Donati take the art form of soloing to the very edge. I find it instructional and inspirational to see and hear this display of drumming pyrotechnics. I find that when I expose myself to these various artists, that my own style develops and morphs into something new. I think that’s what being a musician is about, learning, creating and being inspired by what other before you have created."
"I like to use all of these influences from swing, fusion jazz and funk when I play. I think it’s cool to make heavy metal music swing and groove. I believe that it is the human touch, which fills the music with emotion and captures the soul of the artist. I think vinyl and cd recordings are like snap shots of that particular moment in one artists life; how they felt & played at that time. The art of recording is basically to capture those magic moments."
"The attitude of the recording industry has changed drastically in the past 20 years. The advent of digital recording technology and the use of computers and samplers have choked out the precious and delicate nuances of human emotion from today's music. Many people have lost site of this very beautiful and important key element."
"If this technology had existed in the 60's and 70's I truly believe that drummers like John Bonham, Keith Moon, Cozy Powell, Stewart Copland, Bill Bruford, Billy Cobham, Phil Collins and a host of many other legendary drummers would not exist. All of the above-mentioned drummers can be recognized by their personalized drum sound (tuning) and playing style. Drum samples erase the style and soul of the drummer. It masks the personality of the artist. Now all drummers sound the same! What a Tragedy! Boring!"
I really try hard to make records that reflect my personality and style. In this day of age, the task is easier said then done. I believe it is becoming an exercise in futility; however; I press on and fight the good fight! When I get behind my kit, I am there for one reason and one reason only, to express myself as an artist and to entertain the listener."
- Mike Terrana