"Bill Wise is an artist and a craftsman of the highest caliber. I bet that if you get your hands on a Charis, you're gonna want one!"
Mike Pachelli is a Grammy-nominated guitarist who has played with countless musicians, from Andrew W.K. to Zakk Wylde. We spoke with him about how he fell in love with guitar, his current projects and why he plays Charis Acoustic Guitars.
CA: When did you start playing guitar?
MP: I wanted to be a drummer when I was around 5 or 6. My much older cousin had given me a few pieces of a drum kit. An aunt asked me to play a song and as I sat there pounding with the music going on in my head, I saw her becoming disinterested because she couldn't recognize the song I was attempting. I knew right then and there that drums were not for me. It took a few more years to actually get my own guitar 'cause money was REAL tight in our family.
CA: What were some of your earlier experiences playing?
MP: Coming to age in the late 60's (in Youngstown, Ohio) there were MANY MANY places to gig. So when I was about 15 I got in a band with guys 10 years older than me. We played 5-6 nights a week. My dad would bring me to the gigs. I was known as "The Kidd." I used to jam with many world famous jazz & blues musicians at a black club in town called The Casablanca and scored my first national touring gig from there with Hammond B3 jazz/blues icon - Brother Jack McDuff.
CA: What was your development as a player like?
MP: My dad insisted that if I was going to spend time learning guitar I needed to know how to read and write music. So I went to formal lessons - with a very talented jazz guitarist in Youngstown. First song I ever learned was "The Shadow Of Your Smile" which had quite a few chords in it for a youngster to learn. At 10, I had the good fortune of meeting Phil Keaggy and began a lifetime friendship. As a kid, I didn't REALLY understand how miraculously talented he was - I just knew I had to practice (a whole lot) to kind of be able to keep up with him. In my late teens I studied classical guitar at YSU - and then I moved to NYC and took lessons with Pat Martino & Joe Pass for many years and got deeply entrenched into the bebop scene.
CA: What projects are you currently working on?
MP: I just released a blues/jazz CD called "Meeting Point" that I'm very pleased with! It's available at www.mikepachelli.com and iTunes. Also I'm currently working on another jazz/fusion project with Phil Keaggy, Byron House (bassist for Robert Plant), Kyle Jones and me. I have a studio in my home - and produce many artists in a wide variety of styles - One current studio project I'm very proud of is with Michael Glen Bell (a prodigious singer/songwriter/guitarist) that's called "Martyrs Prayers" based on the best seller book (of the same name) written by Duane Arnold who is the executive producer of that CD. It will include guest appearances by Richie Furay, Glenn Kaiser, Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill and other world class musicians. Phil, Randy & I have also begun a project of original tunes and the first two songs we recorded are very Beatle-esque.
CA: Are you touring?
MP: I toured Europe 6 months last year. Have been touring Europe 2-3 months a year since 1996. At this writing I'm on my way to the south for gigs with my blues group promoting my new CD "Meeting Point."
CA: Any albums readers should check out?
MP: Meeting Point" - Blues Cd with Lance Abair (Mindi Abair's dad), Ronnie Ciago & Baba Elefante électricité - with Andrew W.K. - Rich Russo & Dennis Hardin
"Two of Us" - Acoustic guitar duet CD with Phil Keaggy
"A Jazzy Guitar Christmas" - due out in the Fall on SOLID AIR RECORDS
and there's 8 others available on www.mikepachelli.com
CA: What musicians have you worked with in the past?
MP: This is a partial list - my memory is fading - LOL
Brother Jack McDuff, Albert King, Louise Mandrell, Michael Sembello, Les & Larry Elgart, Andrew W.K., Ferrante & Teicher, Crystal Gayle, Jeff Berlin, Frank Stallone, Zakk Wylde, Les Dudek, Jeanne Mas, Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill
CA: Who are you working with currently?
MP: Phil Keaggy, Michael Glen Bell, Randy Stonehill, Byron House, Alice Granered, John Wilkerson, Rich Russo, Royce Taylor, John Sferra, Jesse St. James, Jim Drew, Eric Whyte, Brett Loucks
CA: How did you discover Charis Acoustic Guitars?
MP: I found out about Charis Acoustic from my friend Phil Keaggy.
CA: What model Charis do you play?
MP: SJ cutaway / Indian Rosewood & Cedar
CA: How would you describe the tone of your Charis?
MP: Very organically responsive. I've used it in a wide variety of live and recording applications and it always performs impeccably.
CA: How would you best describe the craftsmanship/aesthetics of your Charis?
MP: Bill Wise is an artist and craftsman of the highest caliber. The Charis is on par or better than any of the finest handmade instruments.
CA: What style of music do you play with your Charis?
MP: Blues, fingerstyle, jazz, rock, bebop, fusion, folk, jazz manouche, neo-classical, country, Americana and everything else in between!
CA: How would you compare Charis Acoustic Guitars to other high-end guitars, both handmade acoustics and high-end manufacturers?
MP: It's as good and/or better than every high-end guitar on the market today. You simply owe it to yourself to try as many brands as possible when deciding on a purchase as important as an acoustic guitar. I'm betting that if you get your hands on a Charis you're gonna want one!