Gregory has a finger in many musical pies |

Gregory has a finger in many musical pies

Michael Gregory became jaded playing old rock ‘n’ roll. “If I had to play ‘Proud Mary’ one more time … please,” he said.

Now he has one band with two names: Mad Dash – consisting of seven musicians that play oldies and today’s hits at night clubs, weddings and events – and another band, with one less vocalist, Cool Heat, which plays jazz at concerts and wineries.

“I didn’t want the band to be dominated by any one musician.” Gregory, a vocalist and songwriter, plays guitar and a list of other instruments. He engineers his music at his own studio, Lode Line Music, at Highway 49 and Alta Sierra Drive in Grass Valley.

At a recent recording session, I just wanted a working track of me, my guitar and my songs in progress. Michael, however, exploded with ideas for instrumentation, background vocals and sound effects. This guy is inexhaustible. If you ever meet him, expect sheer energy.

Gregory runs the local chapter of Songsalive, an international songwriter’s group. He organizes a monthly songwriter’s showcase where I saw him in action. He checked the mic stand, adjusted the sound levels and paid attention to every detail. Intensity.

Songsalive sent out a music alert for a French TV commercial: $20,000 for the best 30 seconds of music. “I didn’t win,” said Gregory, “but I can still use that music elsewhere.”

He also helped produce the Grassies this year: “I was the music expo co-coordinator. It was a great idea. Everybody wants it done, but nobody wants to do it.” They raised $600 for the Lyman Gilmore School band.

At the Grassies, Cool Heat planned to do a CD release party at 7 p.m., but the awards ended at 5:30, “and everybody left,” said the musician, who has learned to rock ‘n roll with the disappointments, as most musicians have.

Gregory is also an ordained minister. He’s performed hundreds of weddings, sometimes providing himself as entertainment.

“I get the more unconventional marriages Ð pregnant brides, couples with no church and people from mixed faiths,” he said. Locations for these ceremonies include the Biblical Gardens, private homes and the great outdoors.

Gregory traces his musical family back to his great-great-grandfather. “He was a classical pianist in Poland,” he say. Gregory himself has 14 grandchildren. He’s the father of seven grown children, four from his wife Fran and “three from me,” he says.

See Mad Dash at the fair grounds on the 4th of July (See Page 10 of this issue of the Prospector). Folks can reach Gregory at (530) 274-1835.


Paul August, a Nevada City mind worker, is a voting member for the Grammy Awards.

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