Mike Underwood is a powerhouse percussionist who can play anything, but jazz has a special place in his heart. Growing up in Sheboygan, his first experience with music was acting in local musicals. His creativity and sense for rhythm led him to study percussion. He honed his talent while performing in pit orchestras, followed by symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz bands, and rock groups, all before graduation from high school.
Mike studied music performance at UW Oshkosh and broadened his percussion skills beyond the drum set to marimba, vibraphone, steel drum, orchestral percussion, and more. His talent on multiple percussion instruments allows him to currently play about 300 gigs per year in styles ranging from polka, country, rock, blues, jazz, big band, and salsa to symphonic. In order to grow the next generation of enthusiastic percussionists, Mike is also the co-founder of "The Big Bang Drum Camp," He also teaches at music clinics and school events.
Mike has won many awards for his drumming expertise including being twice named the Wisconsin Area Music Industry “Drummer of the Year.” Three of his bands have each been recognized as the WAMI country, rock, and alt band “Group of the Year.” Mike practices his craft and it shows. The most recent song he played on drums was the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version of “Little Drummer Boy.”
Jazz is a big part of Mike’s life. He runs the Oshkosh Jazz Fest. He plays in many bands, and most of the jazz groups are trios or quartets. He thinks of jazz as being an awesome form of music, or “the universal language.” His jazz group “The Jazz Orgy” has been recognized as “Jazz Group of the Year” three times. The Jazz Orgy performs three days a week in the Fox Cities. The next time Mike travels to Sheboygan, don’t miss his performance!