Michael Petrino

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Music Spotlight: Michael Petrino
Buffalo Native Joins Nationally Known Band, Plays at Balloons Sat.
By MouthSayTongue

 

   The depth of talent in and around Buffalo is staggering. Many local bands are now doing national tours or representing the area at the International Blues Competition. Some of the area musicians have played on albums of some of the top blues and r&b bands around the country.

   Another trend has seen some of the local talent relocate to music meccas such at Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and the state of Florida which is becoming a blues center in it’s own right.

   One of these people to make this move is area bass player Michael Petrino. Michael just moved down to Boca Raton Florida to become a member of the nationally known J.L. Fulks Band. The band specializes in that sort of southern, swampy style of blues that has become a Florida genre of music.

   I tracked Michael down in the middle of two weeks of playing in and around Buffalo on his first return home since leaving.

   MouthSayTongue (MST): Who were you’re influences that made you decide to play bass.

   Michael Petrino (MP): Well I started out in third grade on trumpet and did the school band thing but a guy by the name of Marcus Miller got me into bass guitar. He played with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to name a few and was a developer of the slap bass technique and made me realize that the bass was a pretty cool instrument.

   MST: How did you hook up with J.L.?

MP: I found him on instagram and saw a couple videos. I really liked the grittiness of his music. He puts a lot of soul into his music and singing. J. L. has a mellower voice which I like more than the rougher singing style.

   MST: How long are you guys on tour?

   MP: this is a seven-week tour and we’re right in the middle of it. Its great that we get to do a couple weeks in Buffalo and I get to see friends and family.

   MST: What do you like and dislike about the road?

   MP: Getting to see the country and meet and play with other musicians is pretty cool. On the down side, playing different schedules and trying to get regular sleep and eat good food can be a challenge.

   MST: What’s your favorite venue so far?

   MP: Mac Arnold’s Blues Restaurant. Mac played with Muddy Waters, the Temptations and many other blues and r&b legends and now tours with his own band at the age of 74. The place is a little classy and the clientele dress up when they come out.

   MST: Favorite road story?

   MP: (chuckling) it was on a day off and we wanted to go for a hike. We decided to climb Paris Mountain near Greenville, SC. We were just thinking a short hike, maybe an hour or two. We only brought one 2 liter bottle of water and a couple oranges. Within an hour we were out of water and food but determined to get to the top. We needed water so we figured we’d hike to this lake not realizing that was another five miles. Six hours later we finally found our way back to the road but we were still five miles from the car. Fortunately another hiker gave us a ride back.

   MST: what do you do to keep from going crazy in the van?

   MP: Good conversation, videos, playlists from Spotify and the like and talking about musical ideas.

   MST: What are your long term goals?

   MP: Playing with as many people that I can groove with. Share the music with as many people as possible. Being able to play music for a living and be financially stable.

   MST: Any chance of a Michael Petrino Band?

   MP: Smiles, not sure but I won’t say no. I do some writing, we’ll see.

   You can see the J.L. Fulks band Saturday May 6th at Balloons. They’ll hit the main stage at 6pm and will be playing with a local drummer, Owen Eichensehr who’s another buffalo musician I’ll be keeping my eye on.

Photo/Meredith Snow