Michael Cartellone

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Michael Cartellone was born June 7, 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio. He began painting at the age of four and drumming at the age of nine. Music and art would be a simultaneous learning adventure throughout his childhood.

Michael's music career began at the age of 11 when he played his first bar. After many years on the club circuit, he moved to New York City when he was 22. After playing with former Roxy Music/UK keyboardist Eddie Jobson, and then former Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw, Michael found himself a member of the multi-platinum selling band Damn Yankees. This was the springboard for a career that has included recording and touring with John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, John Wetton, Freddie Mercury, Cher, Adrian Belew, Accept and now the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Michael's art career has included two gallery shows in suburban Washington, D.C. and dozens of paintings sold to individual collectors throughout the years.

After interviewing, corresponding, and finally meeting Michael at a show in California, I will confirm what everyone says about him.  He is a very talented musician and just on nice guy.  He has been so very gracious to me and this site.  I want to share a story about the show in California.  Michael had told me to tell security to come get him when I got there and he would be happy to come out and take some photos etc for the site and interview.  Well, the venue was very strict on the no camera rules.  Once in the arena I saw no reason to bug him since I did not have a camera.  Well, when the show started, I held up a sign which read, "Michael and Carol, thanks for the interviews  www.downsouthjukin.com".  Well, he was playing drums, leaning over the set squinting trying to read it.  Suddenly, he just broke out laughing and pointed at me with his drum stick and yelled out my name.  I was so tickled.  When the song Down South Jukin started, he pointed at me smiled, and started playing.  After the final song (Freebird), he came right over to me, knelt down, shook my hand, and said he was glad I made it out, then said "this is for you", and handed me a drum stick from Freebird.  Since I began this site I have been honored to talk with a lot of my heroes.  I will tell you that they just don't come much nicer than Michael.

Press Release:


(New York) May 7, 2004 - Michael Cartellone, drummer for famed Southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, inaugurated his art Web site, www.michaelcartellone.com, on May 10 featuring the first in a series of prints from his paintings titled 'Road Series.' Painted in a style that combines elements of photo realism and pop art, each image in the series depicts a Lynyrd Skynyrd ALL ACCESS pass in various backstage environments.

A lifelong painter as well as a talented musician, Cartellone has developed a body of work that is highly original and gives the viewer an intimate glimpse of the reality of life on the road with a legendary rock band. Already renowned as a founding member of the platinum-selling group Damn Yankees, Cartellone joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1998 and has been touring and recording with the group nonstop. For the past three years, he carried his art supplies on the road with him and painted in hotel rooms across the world.

The aesthetics of "The Road Series" paintings extend beyond telling a fascinating, behind-the-scenes story. The sophisticated compositions and overhead cropped views feature the curve of a guitar, the angle of drum sticks or a crumpled bag of potato chips in an intriguing juxtaposition of everyday objects. Hyper-realistic effects are achieved through expert use of vibrant primary and secondary hues. A new print in the series of five "Road Series Paintings" will be released every two months. The monochromatic paintings, in hues of red, yellow, green, blue and purple, reflect the color prism. The first edition of 250 fine art prints, signed and numbered by the artist, has been produced with the latest digital offset technology. Measuring 16' x 20,' the coated paper stock and excellent reproduction quality enhance Cartellone's vivid, colorful images.

"Road Series: Red," the first print available, is an aerial view of a desk in a hotel room. Depicting a half eaten apple, unfinished coffee, a bottle of water and a game of solitaire on a laptop computer, this still life vignette captures the artist's isolation and effort to kill time in any hotel in any given city. A Lynyrd Skynyrd ALL ACCESS pass is partially obscuring the room roster of the band.

The tuning, restringing and polishing of a guitar is the subject of "Road Series: Yellow."
A bird's-eye view of the guitar technician's work table displays a brilliant-yellow electric guitar, tools, and a burning cigarette, clearly conveying the technical aspects of pre-show preparation.

"Road Series: Green" is a tableau of a soda can, bag of chips, and cell phone framing the tour bus window and a view of the highway stretching endlessly as green trees blur in the background. The inclusion of an ALL ACCESS pass in this image creates a metaphor for the boredom of band members who seem to enjoy the freedom of total access but are actually bound by their schedule of constant road travel.

Another overhead view, "Road Series: Blue" depicts Cartellone's view from behind his drum kit. The drum key, the hi-hat pedal showing signs of wear and tear, and the drum sticks angled across the curve of the drum create an appealing abstract perspective of the drummer's work station.

The final print, to be released in January, 2005, is "Road Series: Purple," a poignant vignette memorializing Lynyrd Skynyrd's original bass guitarist Leon Wilkeson, known as the "Mad Hatter" because he wore a different hat onstage for every song. Cartellone planned and began work on this painting of the dressing room hat rack before Wilkeson passed away unexpectedly in 2001. Cartellone states, "It is being offered here as a respectful tribute to a dear friend."

Born in 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio, Michael Cartellone studied both art and music from a very young age. By his junior year in high school he was performing professionally with a band in local nightspots. At the age of 22 he moved to New York and two years later joined Tommy Shaw's band and began touring the United States. He was a cofounder of the band Damn Yankees in 1988, with whom he toured and recorded two albums that sold a combined 3 million copies on the Warner Brothers label. He has also recorded albums with Cher, Freddie Mercury of Queen and Peter Frampton, and toured with Ted Nugent and John Fogerty. In 1998 Michael joined Lynyrd Skynyrd, known for such hits as Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird. The group plans to release a new CD, Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyve on Sanctuary Records in June, 2004.

Cartellone has maintained his artistic career, continuing to paint and sell his work independently. He has exhibited in solo shows at the Herndon Gallery in Herndon, Virginia in 1987 and at the High Street Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia in 1988.

"Road Series: Red," a first edition, four-color print, measuring 16' X 20, signed and numbered by the artist, is sold only through the Web site at $300 plus $10 for shipping in the U.S., $20 for International shipments. The remaining prints: "Yellow," "Green," "Blue," and "Purple," can also be viewed and pre-ordered after May 10th. The Web site also features links to the official Lynyrd Skynyrd Web site and to the Web sites of Cartellone's record labels. For information visit www.michaelcartellone.com.


For media information contact:
Brown & Collins
Tel: (415) 421-7137
Email: bcpromosf@aol.com.
Digital photographs and prints of all five "Road Series Paintings" and of the artist are available.



Article from Modern Drummer Magazine:

Michael Cartellone
Damn Yankees, Fogerty, And Lynyrd Skynyrd

It's been a little over a year since former Damn Yankees drummer Michael Cartellone joined Lynyrd Skynyrd. He came into the picture shortly after the band released Edge Of Forever, which Kenny Aronoff had recorded. Ironically, just the previous year, Michael had taken over the John Fogerty gig from Aronoff. "I had known the guys in Lynyrd Skynyrd for years," Cartellone says, "so there's a lot of ties there. I visited them in the studio and found myself playing percussion on Edge."

Cartellone committed to do one tour with the band—which turned into nine months and 150 shows. "Shortly into the situation, it just started feeling good," he says. "I was very happy being there, and they expressed that they were happy that I was there. So it became an invitation to stick around permanently. It was an easy decision for me. I don't think I've ever been in a band that was as much of a family environment. Everyone gets along great, and when that's what your work environment is, how can it not be fun?"

As for playing the music, Michael says the tours are a blast. "Playing all these classic Skynyrd tunes is so much fun. I had grown up playing a lot of these songs in cover bands, and to actually be playing 'Free Bird' as Gary Rossington plays his trademark slide guitar solo is a very cool experience."

And just what does the band require of a drummer? "What they want from me is energy and creativity," Michael says. "When playing the classic songs, they want someone to be true to the song, yet still inject a personality. That's easier said than done. I think 'Free Bird' and 'Gimme Three Steps' are so ingrained into the listening public that you really can't take many liberties. If you try to doll it up, you realize it doesn't sound right. I think they were looking for someone who understood that concept, as well as someone who could come in and take the band into the future."

Recently Skynyrd has been recording a Christmas album called Skynyrd And Friends, to be released later this year. "We've chosen a few classics to cover for that album," Michael says, "and then the band is writing some new material for it as well. In fact, I've co-written something with Johnny Van Zandt that I'm hoping will make it on the album. That's been another fun thing about the band for me—my inclusion and involvement in the songwriting process."

Michael's 2004 Interview With DownSouthJukin.com