In high school, Sergio Michel was once stopped in the hallway by a teacher who was amazed by what she thought was his love of literature. After all, not too many kids would rock a “MacBeth” shirt.
Michel explained to her that the shirt was actually promoting the rock band Megadeth.
Years later, the guitarist and West New York native is still rocking. He is preparing for a comeback show in Hoboken after a short lived “retirement” in 2008.
Michel last performed in the mile-square city 12 years ago and admits that a lot has happened since then.
In the late 1990s through 2004, Michel fronted the metal groups Matranka and Magnarok, touring the country and living the industry lifestyle while earning an associate’s degree in audio engineering.
“I can serve at church and rock out.” – Sergio Michel
After Magnarok disbanded in 2004, Michel moved on to use the skills he acquired in the industry to help others. He quickly became known as a “fixer” for his ability to help aspiring artists fill in the gaps between them and their goals.
He created the Sergio Michel Agency and has worked as an independent agent for the past five years which has evolved into his full-time business.
Though he spends most days helping others find their way to their dreams, he hasn’t forgotten his own.
“The agency is my day job,” said Michel. “I create electronic press kits, build websites, but at night I’m living the dream.”
Michel grew up on the sounds of the 1980s and said he wanted to be a guitarist since he was 4 years old. His musical influences ranged from Metallica to The Smiths to some less familiar names.
“I was the only kid cruising the streets of Hudson County blasting Japanese rock,” he said.
Now a single parent with his own child, Michel said that raising his 4-year-old son has changed his schedule. “I couldn’t be out and about flying from show to show anymore,” said Michel.
Soon after obtaining full time custody of his son, Michel returned to his spiritual roots and began attending church again. Nights on the Sunset Strip were replaced with family friendly Christian concerts his son could attend.
The good with the bad
And although he enjoyed playing the Christian circuit, he soon became frustrated with being pulled between his two worlds. Too nice for his old crowd, not nice enough for the new, and fed up with the politics of music and religion, Michel thought he would retire from the industry.
“I’ve had a real life with bad and good stuff,” said Michel. “I can’t put up a fake persona.”
After a brief stint working in IT for financial district companies in New York City, Michel revamped his attitude instead and returned to the music.
“I’m just going to be myself,” said Michel. “Love God, be a good example. I can serve at church and rock out; I’ll find my own niche.”
New album and tour
Michel is working on a new album, “Sorrowful Psalms,” which he calls uplifting depressing music.
“My music used to be about struggling,” said Michel. “Now they’ve turned into prayers.” Despite the spiritual core that runs through his music, Michel doesn’t classify it as religious.
“Christian music is all words and no soul,” said Michel. “I don’t believe in ‘secular’ or ‘Christian.’ I can’t make a ‘Christian’ song; I just write a song that conveys my point of view.”
Michel is producing the album himself that will be out sometime this year and available online and in local music stores.
Michel, who grew up in West New York but now lives in Fairview, is planning a spring/summer regional tour of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Upcoming events include a March 26 show at Saints and Sinners in Hoboken and a festival in Wind Gap Park, Pa.
He will also be a guest leader for worship at the First Baptist Church of Cliffside Park on Feb. 14, Feb, 21, and Feb. 28.
For tour dates and more information visit www.sergiomichel.com.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.