My first paying gig was when I was 15. Sitting outside of a pawn shop, on a stool playing a guitar. Drawing people inside, back in 1967. I got 5 bucks an hour, a pack of Winston cigaretts, and could play any of the guitars he had in the shop. It was an after school gig, a couple hours every day for quite awhile. I was 17 when I started my 1st band. Didn't have drummer, I did have a lead guitar, a bass, a girl singer, and myself singing and playing guitar, and a guy that "Rattled Elk Ribs, and other Bones" for a beat. Different but real cool back then.
I went into the Army, where while in basic training, my folks boxed up my guitar, and sent it to me there where I played out on the steps of the barracks, and was well accepted by the "D.I.'s" and the rest of the training camp this was 1970. I kept a guitar with me thru- Vietnam , and thru- recruiting in St. Louis, Mo. Where I became "The Singin' Recruiter" playin' fairs, drawing crowds with a band made up of other soldiers. I recorded my 1st. record, with my off duty band "Mike Shipley and the Country Boys". I got Air Play on KWIL Radio station in St. Louis, I sold 5000 copies of my "45 record" in 2 months out of trunk of my car, Then transfered to So. Korea and after a Army Col. saw and heard me playing down town, I was transfered to "SPECIAL DUTY BANDS" . Later that year after entertaining our Generals and the President of South Korea I was invited as the 1st American to appear on National Korean Television, for a Christmas Special, there with my lead guitar player, we sang Korean songs and got a standing Ovation. That was pretty cool.
After my tour with Special duty bands, I was transfered to Ft.Hood Tx. Where I started "The Not So Hillbilly Band". Played all the clubs around for 6 months and was out of the army. Moved back to my home town of Spokane, Wa. Where I restarted the old band and played the areas clubs and bars. Until my divorce. I kinda went nuts there for awhile. I moved to Oregon. Recorded "Only the Real Thing Will Do". I had some Air Play on KEED RADIO. Then in 1982 I won the "Wranger Star Search"for the State of Oregon, I won a thousand dollars, a got to perform at "The Grand Ole' Opry" on national T.V. That was the 1st time My Dad ever saw me on stage. That was cool too!
I went back to Ore. I played the largest Club In Eugene, "The Lone Star Cafe & Bar" 6 nites a week for a year. Disbanded and Moved to Vegas. Where I played "The Strip" and had a road band that played Az., Nm., Nv. And some back in Tx. That lasted about a year and a half.
I then moved to Florida, to get to know my Dad. He had a bar there in Port Charlotte, there I start a "Jam Session" on sundays and built "The Gatorbilly Band" we opened for major acts like "The Judds, Mickey Gilly, John Anderson, Jerry Reed. I was in a bad car accident and lost a record deal with Capital. Under contract I couldn't play under my name for five years. It took 6 months to heal up. I started a new band. "Buck Shot" (magnum country music). Knocked around for awhile working as a carpenter in and around Atlanta Ga. Left there and moved back to Spokane, Wa. There I built the band "One Spur Short". I became another "Bar Star". Got to meet a sax player at one of our shows in Idaho, that played with "Haggard" so - went on the road with him playing Montana. After about a month, I wanted off the bus in Missioula. A fight I'd rather not disscus.
Anyway I started a new band "FRESH HORSES" , we played alot of clubs for a few years. I moved the band back to Spokane. We played 5 nites a week, til I got sick. Then I rested, healed up, and decided to go ahead and move to Nashville. So in the summer of "99" I made the move. And now I hang out with the very best guitar players, and meet some of the best songwriters while I write and record my tunes when I can. Livin' life on my little Ranch. Just this side of West Heaven! Thanks to all that got me here.