Drummer/percussionist Michael Gillan was born into the rich musical
and culturally diverse world of the San Francisco Bay Area. The youngest of seven children, Michael became interested in drums at a very young age and, according to sister Kathleen, was beating out audible rhythms with spoons while still in the high chair.
His official training began in the 4th grade school music programs, and continued through high school, where he was voted "Most Improved Musician" in his senior year, as well as 2 years of college, where he was enrolled in Jazz Big Band, Jazz Combo, Percussion Ensemble, and Symphonic Band. After his 1st year of college, Michael was offered a scholarship to a Stan Kenton Jazz Camp, an honor that he declined in order to relocate to his father's, grandparent's, and great-grandparent's home state of Montana in 1976, where he has resided ever since.
As a young drummer, Michael's musical interests were in Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Jazz Rock, 60's Soul, Funk, and Blues, and as an adult have expanded to include Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and Country & Western. But whatever his influences, his bandmates in www.Twang agree on the result. Russ Olsen encapsulated it in just eight words: “I have never played with a better drummer.”
Michael chose family over life on the road as a touring musician, and has been involved in many of the Bozeman area's finest bands, as well as being called to perform with world renowned artists The Drifters, The Platters, Huey Lewis, Cyril Neville, Tracy Nelson, Roy Rogers, and Russell Smith, among others.
Aside from his musical career as a drummer/percussionist, Michael worked on various guest ranches, and as a professional Farrier for 18 years. Upon retiring from shoeing horses in 2001, he took over management of a summer grazing operation in the Bridger Mountains, where he works and resides with his partner since 1978, Sarah.
Photo: K. Mita