Mike “Crankshaft” Michalkow was born on March 4, 1971. He began drumming in 1976, when he was a five-year-old living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. At the time, his parents offered him a cheap little drum set that sparked the beginning of his love for drumming. For the following years, Mike Michalkow’s drumming was put on hold, mainly because he lived in apartments where making noise was an issue. At the age of 17 he signed up for drum lessons in a local music store. It was there that Mike hooked up with Norm St. Hilaire, a teacher who taught him the basics of drumming and various styles of music. This led to the discovery of drummers like Neil Peart, Bill Bruford, Stewart Copeland, Alex Acuña and Terry Bozzio, who along with Bill Stevenson–one of Mike’s first big influences–greatly inspired him to pursue his drumming goals.
Some time after, Mike Michalkow began taking lessons with jazz/ fusion drummer Mitch Dorge, who was instrumental in introducing Mike to jazz drumming and music. In 1992, Mike Michalkow decided to move to Edmonton, Alberta to sign up for the jazz and Latin studies program in Grant MacEwan College. He studied under Brian Thurgood, who worked on his reading, snare drumming and different styles of music. In the summer of 1993, Mike Michalkow headed to the Drummers Collective in New York city to take drum set and conga lessons for a week.
In 1994, and after majoring from Grant MacEwan at the top of his class, Mike Michalkow moved to Vancouver, British Columbia so he could jump-start his drumming career. He kept working on his drumming by taking lessons with some of the world’s greatest hand technique teachers: John Fischer, Dom Famularo and Jim Chapin. In July, 2000 Mike opened “The Drum Lab,” his personal practice and teaching space. In that same year he was invited to head the drum department for the west coast National Guitar Workshop, United States; this is something he’s been doing ever since.
In 2001, Jared Falk went to Mike Michalkow for some lessons. This started a partnership that would actually work as a catalyst to expose Mike Michalkow and his teaching methods to the world, when he released the instructional products Moeller Method Secrets (2006), Jazz Drumming System (2007), Latin Drumming System (2007), Drum Tuning System (2008) and Drumming System (2009), through Jared Falk’s Railroad Media Inc. With the release of the all new Drumeo website, Mike was chosen to take part in a team of some of the most inspiring and knowledgeable drum teachers in the world today. His goal is to inspire and motivate drummers all over the world and share his gift.
First and foremost Mike is a student of the drums, so he keeps striving for improving his skills. He’s currently practicing “groove,” left foot independence and learning challenging songs. Throughout the years, Mike Michalkow has also taken lessons from Chuck Silverman, Thomas Lang, John “JR” Robinson, Peter Magadini and Virgil Donati. He’s currently working with 47 of the over 1500 students he has taught in his 20-plus years of teaching experience. He has played with artists such as David Foster, Ruben Studdard, The Canadian Tenors, John Cameron, The Brent Ellis Group, Symphony in Demeanor, The Blue Voodoo, and Jim Meyer. Mike Michalkow endorses Yamaha Drums, Paiste cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Pro-Mark drumsticks, HiShaker, Hansenfutz practice pedals and BLOWit Fans, because “these companies fit my needs and are amazing to work with.” His favorite food is sushi; his favorite movie is Good Fellas; his favorite tv show is Modern Family and he’s a sucker for the Winnipeg Jets ice hockey team.