NAME: Michael Paul McGraw
BORN: February 14, 1979 in Upland, CA
ROLE: Electric & Lap Steel Guitar, Backing Vocals
OTHER INSTRUMENTS: Piano, Bass, Drums
FAVORITE SONG TO PLAY LIVE: ‘Bye Blue Sky’ / ‘Coo Coo’
PREVIOUS BANDS: The Haskells
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: The Beatles, Radiohead, Elbow, Jimi Hendrix, Edge/U2, Daniel Lanois, Phillip Sayce, Dirty Projectors, Wilco, Phish
OTHER TALENTS: Graphic Arts
Since he can remember, Mike McGraw has always been in awe of creation and creating. To the rest of us, he seems to have a direct channel.
Routinely finding what he describes as a sense of “wonderment” in what many may perceive as the simplest of activities - like jogging, being around people, or even the involuntary act of breathing - McGraw brings the emotions of his experiences to the studio and the stage.
“[I have] a mysterious drive that I don't quite understand - but one that I don't necessarily want to,” he admits. “It's like magic, and I'm fascinated with that experience.”
Even as a child growing up in Upland, California, he seemed led by this intuitive sense of adventure. He and a friend from grade school had just formed a band when the 12-year-old McGraw set about exploring the music store to find his calling. Drumming - his first choice - was out because the band’s leader was a drummer. The role of guitar was also already claimed, and so McGraw had planned that day to purchase a bass guitar... But the magical powers-that-be wouldn’t have it.
He recalls, “The rad salesman mentioned to me and Mom that, if I learned and played guitar, I could also play bass, thus edging me over to the guitar. And I bought one that day, took lessons, and I was off.”
Honing his skills in later years, McGraw played for a time with a band known as The Haskells, an association that resulted in both his move to Los Angeles and his eventual introduction to Brian Buckley.
Though he’s mastered several instruments in that time, currently it is McGraw’s lead guitar work that causes us to stand utterly amazed during the Brian Buckley Band’s live performances. Fans of the band like to say their music will “melt your face off”, and McGraw’s contribution to this effect is no small one. In moments we wish could last forever, the veil of the world is lifted, and his experience of wonderment becomes our own. In those moments, there is no need for voice, because Creation speaks through his guitar.
“I've always wished I could go [from] running... right into playing [or making] music,” says McGraw. “[That’s when] my mind’s eye is the most open. The minute I think, I fall right off the wagon. If I can keep myself from thinking while playing, I not only play better but can reach something that's subconscious - almost telepathic.”
A sense of telepathy may also extend to his relationship with his band mates, each of whom readily acknowledges the unique openness and communication inherent in their collaborations, both creatively and personally.
“We all come from different points of view, influences and desires, but [we] come together as a democracy to make the best art we can... We listen to each other on stage which a lot of bands don't do,” he says. “They're my brothers and my inspiration.”
McGraw repeatedly expresses gratitude also for the fans - who continually rally on behalf of the band to show their support - including, and especially, his own fiance. After eight happy years together, the two will wed later this summer.
Biography by: Angela Doss - http://www.thegirlsgoneraw.com/