Michael played in the band Zook’s Brew; a band whose noted achievements included being nominated in the Portland Phoenix as best new act, and warming up the crowd for Little Feat with acoustic rock and four-part harmony. Musicians and fans offered encouragement and criticism, and Michael began to grow out of the role of sideman and backup vocalist to taking the occasional lead in the band the Grumps, which included former Zook’s alum Eric Bauer on percussion.

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