Lead singer and harmonica player Mike Fugazzi has studied diatonic harmonica from two of the world’s top harmonica players, Chris Michalek and Clint Hoover, over the last four years. Career highlights include opening for Indigenous, playing with Michalek-Strone at the 2005 Mid Summer Jazz Festival, and sharing the stage with harmonica giant Jason Ricci in 2005 and 2006. Fugazzi has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using the “overblow” technique. His approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than traditional harmonica playing. The sophisticated sound produced by Fugazzi is lyrical, soulful, and aggressive, while constantly paying tribute to the greats of the instrument.
While fronting the band NiteRail from 2004-2008, Mike played at some of the area's biggest festivals including the Tree Frog Music Festival and headlining a stage at Mankato's Ribfest. He and the band also headlined events like the Dead of Winter Jam and Old Town Summerfest in Mankato. Other noteworthy festival work includes headlining the 2006 Crawdad Festival in Chatfield, MN, playing in the KMSU Performance Series, opening for Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and playing sets at the Summer Solstice Festival as well as Oktoberfest in La Crosse Wisconsin. Besides playing in the group, Mike was also responsible for managing the band, booking, and some of the band's promotion.
Mike has played in over 50 venues throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, and even in the Caribbean! Some of the venues he as played include Buster's in Mankato, Hooligan's in Mankato, the Kato Ballroom, The Cabooze in Minneapolis, Famous Dave's in Minneapolis, The Viking in Minneapolis, The Half-Time Rec in St. Paul, and Nighthawk's in La Crosse Wisconsin.
Mike's work as a singer, harmonica player, and song writer has been featured in various publications (a partial list includes: the Mankato Free Press, Rochester Post-Bulletin, Owatonna People's Press, Faribault Daily News, Blue Monday Monthly, Static Magazine, and Applauze Magazine). His and NiteRail's original recordings have been played by radio stations like KFAI, 96.7 The Dog FM, and KMSU.
What people are saying...
"Mike Fugazzi a rare musician. He's mastered the intricacies of the diatonic harmonica and has brought it to a genre where harmonica is almost never heard. Once the mainstream folk here him he's gonna be a true American Idol." Chris Michalek, organizer of the Global Harmonica Summit and world-renowned harmonica player
"Frontman Mike Fugazzi provided solid vocals but it was his harmonica that breathed fire into many of the jams. I am by no means a harmonica aficionado but some of the runs Fugazzi went on commanded your attention and it is pretty easy to tell he has above average skills. He was even able to harmonize with the guitar on a few runs which was very cool." Musicgoat.com
"Mike Fugazzi Rocks! He's a Great singer and a dedicated harmonica Ninja." Jason Ricci, Electro Groove recording artist and Walter Trout's harmonica player
"...scorching Mississippi saxophone/vocals..." John Hammer, Blue Monday Monthly
"Fugazzi, growing weary of simply emulating past greats, dedicated his musicianship to fostering the intricacies of the so-called 'Mississippi saxophone.'" Drew Lyon, MSU Reporter
"His own voice is smooth and soulful, and not overpowering---a perfect blend..." Laura Groenjes, The Gustavian Weekly
"Band leader, singer, and harmonica player, Mike Fugazzi is a blues purist at heart, constantly thinking and studying music." Mike Sjulstad, Applauze Magazine
My wife and son...harmonica, education, spirituality, slide guitar, Will Ferrell, reading
In no particular order...The Rolling Stones, Derek and the Dominoes, Derek Trucks, Santana, John Lennon, Bob Dyaln, Neil Young, John Mayer, Blues Traveler, Warren Haynes, Tom Petty, Miles Davis, The Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, Albert Collins, John Coltrane, Kenny Werner, Clint Hoover, Chris Michalek, Jason Ricci, William Clarke, Adam Gussow, Pat Ramsey, George Smith, Howard Levy, Carlos del Junco, Paul deLay, Mickey Raphael, Little Walter, Annie Raines, Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, Son House, The Ford Brothers Band, Willie Dixon, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Clint Black, John Anderson, Joe Bonamassa, Tommy Castro, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Buddha, God, and my iPod