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New York, NY
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Judge for MIKE AVRAMOV in Rock starting July 1, 2022
Portrait of MIKE AVRAMOV
Mike Avramov: Destined To Rock By Russell Hume © 2004 Gearpig Musical Press Reprinted with the strangest permission A big part of Mihayl Avramov’s early life reads like an orchestral conductor’s: classical piano training by eight; formal voice training at fourteen; at sixteen, he entered the Lyubomir Pipkov Musical School, the country’s most prestigious. He studied music theory, practiced solfeggio daily, worked on advanced harmony and polyphony concepts, eventually earning his diploma of Actor Of Operatic Performance with high honors. That’s the formal part. Then there is the real part: Jamming electric guitar and drums with his pals, screaming the vocals of musical icons like Sammy Hagar deep into the night, honing his craft while secretly listening to and trading rock records … ...secretly trading rock records? File-sharing?! No, no no. You see, Avramov was born and raised in communist Bulgaria – i.e., the eastern bloc, back when there was still such a thing. Rock music was strictly forbidden. Rock records had to be smuggled in to satisfy the thirst of young boys like Avramov, who were constantly on the prowl for the sounds they were officially denied. Even then the audio quality of the copies they obtained was poor at best, but that didn’t matter. Instead of trading illicit mind-altering substances, Avramov and his friends traded each other rock recordings, listening to them in dark, unlikely places as they risked harsh prosecution from the law. Rock music was their drug. It was a good thing for us, too, because the law backfired: forbidding rock only served to make Avramov’s thirst for it grow. As every year went by, Avramov’s thirst for rock grew stronger. In fact, Avramov’s thirst became so insatiable that, when he found himself the lucky winner of the visa lottery, he uprooted and came to the US with the sole purpose of joining an American group. Avramov, literally, was destined to rock. “My whole life is dedicated to music,” explains Avramov with a slight European accent. “To sing is all I want to do. It’s my life.” Avramov arrived in Detroit in 1999. Wasting no time, he got to work immediately, joining the Scott Campbell Group as singer and rhythm guitar player for the punk quartet. He gigged for a few months, but eventually outgrew the band as it couldn’t make use of his more advanced skills. “I liked Scott Campbell a lot. It was a great deal of fun, but I had to move on.” Next up was King Moon Racer, a progressive rock outfit with a pedigree in Rush, Dream Theater and Tool. “King Moon Racer was awesome,” offers Avramov. “We worked our asses off, eventually opening for King’s X. That was definitely the highlight.” King Moon Racer went on to record a successful record, but internal strife forced the band to break up. Avramov, already feeling the pressure to find something more advanced, had his resume in tow. He listed an ad in a local paper. The ad was noticed by Bravin Neff, Avramov’s current guitar player. The two hooked up and quickly discovered their disparate musical backgrounds shared more than might be expected. A half dozen songs were crafted almost immediately, and it became clear to them the foundation for rock excellence had been laid. Avramov’s rock destiny had arrived. When he’s not busy singing, Avramov is a successful businessman by day, following a busy schedule that carries him throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. While he’s good at what he does, singing is where his heart lies: “My clients are good to me and I spend a lot of time making sure they are receiving first rate service, but honestly…” Avramov’s voice trails off... “…I’m always thinking about singing and making music.” Avramov uses Shure microphones, John Hardy preamps, Crane Song compression and Atlas mic stands