Michael Cartellone

Down South Jukin' Interview

Part 1 (Music questions)

June 2004


It has been my great pleasure to correspond with Michael over the past week.  Like the the rest of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Michael is very giving and a down to earth gentleman.  He happily agreed to do this interview with me, I sincerely hope you find it as fun to read as it was to do..... Bruce Wall 2004


First, Michael, I canít thank you enough for taking the time out of your very busy touring schedule to do this interview.  It really means a great deal to me and the other members that you took the time to come by the website and say hi.  I hope you donít mind, I asked a few members to submit some questions.  So what I will do is put their questions first, then ask mine.


Iím sure this isn't a question you've "never heard before" but if you had to make a choice, would you take art over music, or vise-versa?  You have an awesome talent for both though, so this may not be a fair question..  As far as your painting... I love the ďPurpleĒ painting . Gotta have it (And I will he he)....Thanx Michael.. Peace ...BTW..Seen "Damn Yankees" twice. High on the "best of" (concert) catagory lol..

Jacque Kincaid

Hi Jacque,
Thanks for the kind words about the Purple painting. Needless to say, that painting became much more meaningful to me after we sadly lost Leon. I truly started painting it at first because I thought it was a cool, behind the scenes view. I was about half finished with it when Leon passed away. As for the career choice question, I kind of made that decision when I was 11. I had painted before I started drumming, and for years envisioned myself becoming a cartoonist. Although, when I started playing in bands it quickly became obvious where my sights were focused. I never did stop painting and the fact that Iíve finally brought it to the forefront is very satisfying to me. Glad you got to see Damn Yankees live- that was a great time in my life.
Best Wishes,

Yes, I would like to submit a question for that upcoming interview with Michael.
Regarding his time he spend with Accept.
About his perspective on the difference to German/European audiences and US audiences.
I'm originated from Germany, I was following the development of quite some German Metal bands out of the late 70's and 80's (e.g. Scorpions, Accept)
Scorpions got their biggest success in the US, before they got a foot onto the German market.
Accept tried the US market but at some point got stalled. Too heavy and extreme for American audiences. With the US market in mind, 1985, they toned down their performances and went more commercial with a sense of melody.  i guess, I would just like to hear a short perspective of Michael on that difference.
Sylvia Hoffard-Blaauw

Hi Sylvia,
I have very fond memories of my year with Accept. Wolf Hoffmann and I remain close friends and Iím very proud of the CD I played on, Predator. Actually, one day Wolf and I hope to work together again. As for the US/German audiences, I found them to be equally enthusiastic during the Accept tour. Even when Skynyrd plays Germany, I find the audiences to be very supportive. So much so, that I look out there and see Rebel flags waving. Go figure!
Best Wishes,

1) Michael, I was wondering who your favorite artist is? I love Michael Angelo. I got to see his original paintings when I lived in Italy. Have you ever gotten to visit Italy?  Also, are you available?

2) Do you have any plans to sing lead on any songs?

3) Is it hard to maintain a relationship when you travel so much? (assuming you have a serious one)

4) What is your favorite movie?

5)Where is your favorite place in the whole world?

6)What is the one place you would like to visit that you have not been to?

Linda D. Popp

Hi Linda,
Thanks for writing. Here are the answers to your questions in order.

1) My favorite Artistís are: Rene Magritte, Georges Seurat, Norman Rockwell and MC Escher. Iíve never been to Italy and Iím engaged to a wonderful woman named Nancy.

2) I am definitely not a lead singer...barely a backing vocalist!

3) No, as long as you have good communication, trust and faith in each other

4) Itís a tie: any Charlie Chaplin film and The Godfather

5) New York City to live and Stockholm, Sweden to visit

6) Speaking of Italy...

Best Wishes,

Thanks Michael, here are my questions:

You have played a wide variety of styles of music over the years.  Of all the styles which would be your

 favorite style to play?

British Progressive Rock (ie. King Crimson, UK, Yes). Years ago I worked with the founding

 member, keyboardist of UK, Eddie Jobson. Lots of odd time signatures. I loved it.


How did your coming to Skynyrd happen?

Skynyrd was recording Edge of Forever in Nashville back in 1998. Ron Nevison was producing (he had

 produced both Damn Yankees records). I lived in Nashville then, stopped by

the studio to say Hi and found myself playing percussion on the record. Then they asked me to

 go on the road. That was 6 years ago....time flies!


 How was it playing with Damn Yankees? I mean seems like playing with Ted, Tommy, and Jack would be

 very difficult. Creative differences and all.  So many different styles.

Playing with Tommy, Jack and Ted was an absolute pleasure. That band really did check egos at the

 door. I have nothing but great memories of Damn Yankees.


How has it been coming into the greatest Southern Rock band of all time? 

I consider it a blessing to have landed the Skynyrd gig. I was a fan years ago and to actually play with

 them really means a lot to me.


How is it being the only Yankee in the band? J 

I couldnít be happier being the only Yankee. A Damn one to boot.

Great answer, you got me,  lol  Like I always say "Yankee by birth, Rebel by Skynyrd"  or in your case "Damn Yankee by birth, Rebel by Skynyrd"


Is the band working on material for another studio album?  If so any clues on what we can expect and when

 we can expect it?

This year, weíre focusing on touring to support the Lyve CD. There are no immediate plans for new

 tunes yet.

 I have been fortunate enough to see you twice this tour, once in a coliseum and once in the round (both in

 Phoenix).  What is your favorite type of show to play? 

I can tell you one thing- those ďIn The RoundĒ theaters with the revolving stages make me dizzy. I

 literally have to wear motion sickness wristbands! Aside from that, I like

playing the Outdoor Amphitheaters the most.


 What is a typical day on the road for you?

An average day starts with strong coffee and a banana, the Internet and a handful of vitamins. Then I

 work out in my room and go for a jog. The past 3 years, I wouldíve then spent  the afternoon working

 on one of the Road Series Paintings, until Showtime. Iím not painting on this tour as Iím focusing on

 the business aspects of MC Artworks.

MC Artworks (workin' for MCA)lol

 What are the bands feelings on the lack of recognition from the Rock and Roll Hall of fame?

We donít talk about it much, but I know there is frustration over it. If you ask me, itís only a matter of

 time before the band gets inducted. Skynyrd is too important in Rock History to be overlooked.

You can say that again.

 What can you tell us about the future of Skynyrd?

This band loves to work. Weíll continue to do what we do for a long time to come.

   Who have you come to be closest friends with in the band?

    Skynyrd is a tight, family unit. Lots of Love holds it together. I get along great with everyone,

    but have gotten to know Rickey Medlocke very well. This is because Rickey and I go to the

    venues early every night, before the rest of the band. We both like to warm up in the dressing

    room for awhile. So, simply Iíve spent the most time with him. Ean Evans has joined that early

    ride since coming to the band. Heís a good friend also.

Again, Michael, I can not thank you enough for your hospitality.  Good luck and best wishes on the rest of the tour.

Thanks Bruce- I enjoyed that!
Best Wishes,

Please check out Part 2 of the interview (Art questions)


Over the years Rock music has experienced a lot of new sounds and interpretations.  One thing I can say about Michael Cartellone, you would be hard pressed to not find something in any of the many styles he has not done.   He is a very versatile and talented drummer.  And now he has demonstrated his talent is not limited to his percussion skills.  His paintings demonstrate the same thoughtfulness and passion his playing does.  We at www.downsouthjukin.com want to wish him all the best in this endeavor and to sincerely thank him for taking the time to give us a little insight into what is like to be the Artist known as Michael Cartellone.

Check out our Bio and pix of Michael:

Check out the Audio Interviews with Michael

Michaels paintings can be viewed and purchased on his web site: