Michael Thomas Franklin


Download Michael Thomas Franklin Resume

His interest in music began at 5 years old, while recuperating from a serious operation. Because of his condition, he lived on a farm with his great-grand parents, who spoke limited English. The only entertainment available was a radio and an old piano. When his parents saw his interest, they bought him an electric guitar for his birthday. At that time, his father was a TV repairman and constructed his first amp from the family stereo. He also improvised Michael’s first microphone, by reversing the polarity of a speaker and suspending it from the ceiling with by a string.

His early inspirations were The Ventures, The Beatles and Wilson Pickett. He was also influenced by his Dad’s favorites; Amad Jamal and George Shearing. His first band was The Movement, which won a battle of the bands contest. The prize to recorded local single “Left Silently”. This is the first time he played keyboards with a band.

March 23,1968 will be a moment frozen in his mind forever, when he and two of his band mates, talked with Jimi Hendrix after his performance at War Memorial Auditorium, in Buffalo New York.

Summer of 1969 the family relocated the family to Chesterton, Indiana, 40 miles from Chicago. Though he thought his music was over, he found more musicians in Chesterton than in Buffalo. He formed bands GUM (Great Underground Music), Rafter After, Opus and Polyphemus.

1970 While studying pre-med studies at Vincennes University, he found himself in a conflict of practicing piano more than his medical studies. The direction of his career changed while working part time a pizza restaurant. The restaurant featured an older piano play singing Perry Como and standards. One night while the piano player was out sick, he filled in. From the first song “Hey Jude”, the job was his. The students filled the room on Friday and Saturday nights to hear him sing and play. Neil Young, Beatles and Hendrix. After a few weeks other musicians came to jam. Soon, he was asked to join a popular regional group, left school and became a full time musician.

In 1971 he formed Third Power Trio with drummer, Lenny Rhoda and bassist Darrel Tidaback. The group performed clubs over the entire US. Rhoda, a skilled drummer, introduced him to Jazz and music study. Together they would enroll in American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Later lessons with renowned pianist Allen Swain and Composer David Baker.

December of 1974, Michael was a passenger in an automobile accident, that would take his friend Lenny’s life. After Lenny’s Rhoda’s death, Michael headed to Columbus, Ohio, to join a popular classical rock band St. Bernard. This group had released an album of original material and toured the mid-west, opening for King Crimson, Todd Rundgren, Cactus, Brian Auger, and Grand Funk. They were know colorful stage show, however, Michael was more interested in performing more serious music. In Columbus he studying at The Columbus Piano Conservatory, and continued to pursue his jazz studies. He left St. Bernard, after a concert in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Attended by one of his heroes, pianist Dave Brubeck. As part of St. Bernard’s show, smoke was to come out of his synthesizer during a solo. “Knowing Burbeck was going to be in the audience, I quoted his songs, “Take 5”, and “Rondo a la Turk”, but the look on Brubeck’s face one of disgust. I felt pathetic, I made plans to move on.”

After his return from Ohio, he would reform Third Power Symphony with his younger Brother Tim on bass and Lenny’s star student Paul Parker. Third Power achieved his first real financial success in Music. The band was able to make a great living and toured all over the Midwest and southern US.

In 1978 he formed Lost Weekend a fusion rock/jazz group with brother Tim Franklin, long time drummer Paul Parker and Sax man Berry Sperti. Lost Weekend was unique band, with no guitar, unheard of at the time. They commanded a large and diverse following, performing clubs and festivals. Also that year Michael and Tim would be invited to The White House Jazz Festival for the 25th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival in the White House Rose Garden. There they would meet their jazz hero’s from Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Mingus to Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

“Tim was in control of the Camera. I held his beer. After a while I was feeling real happy. I almost bumped into President Carter and I said, “Great Party Mr. President”. He smiled like he knew I was loaded and laughed.” The following night on their return to Chicago both Michael and Tim were in the Studio on WCFL with Herbie Hancock and bass legend Ray Brown. Herbie gave Michael some piano pointers and they would give very tall Ray Brown, a ride to his hotel in Tim’s Volkswagen Rabbit.

1979 was the inception of Rockin’ Robin. Rockin’ Robin was originally Future Sound’s studio band. They were very authentic in their approach to recording oldies rockers for Producer Henry Farag. As their reputation grew they began to accompany the “Legends of Rock and Roll and “Let the Goodtimes Roll”, live oldies concert series.

From 1979 to 1993 Rockin’ Robin will be the featured band on over 100 TV shows.

Rockin’ Robin would prove to be the premiere backing band for classic rock performers. Wolfman Jack discovered the band in 1980, which started a 14-year collaboration between Michael and Wolfman.

Also in 1980, he would join Korg Synthesizers as a Clinician. Performing in England, with Keith Emerson and Adrian Legg. Then Paris, and Amsterdam. Working at a seminar in New York for Korg, Michael meets longtime friend and inspiration Chuck Leavell. Also in 80’, Rockin’ Robin tours with Fats Domino, Del Shannon, The Coasters, Leslie Gore, Lou Christie and Bo Diddley.

1981 Tim and Michael would perform The Korg World Tour though out England, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Swansea, Brighton, Birmingham and final show in London at Ronnie Scotts with Rick Wakeman and Brian Chatton.

1982 Michael purchased The Beverly Shores Public School, a 6-acre school with 6 classrooms, an auditorium/gymnasium and a cafeteria, which he remodeled into the second location of Future Sound Recording Studios. Future Sound would guest Pete Seeger, Lou Christie, Chuck Leavell, The Drifters, Del Shannon, Wolfman Jack, Pat Travers and others. August of 1982 he would continue show his production talents, recording “Reggae Tribute, The Tribute to Bob Marley”, live for Warner Brothers. He built a mobile recording studio on location in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He would work with Stevie Wonder. “He sat beside me in the recording truck and loved it”. We recorded his performance with Third World, it was great! After the show the production company asked me to erase his performance due to some legal problems. A French filmmaker was making a board mix of the entire show. He walked off with the only reference of that show. It was a sin against humanity to have erased that performance.”

In January 1983 he received a call from his friend Wolfman congratulating him being nominated for a Grammy for “Reggae Tribute”. He attends the Grammies with his father and met many people he would work with in later years. At the end of the night he talked Bobby Kimball of Toto. Toto had won 7 Grammies that night. He told Bobby “congratulations from a fan, who loves your music”. Years later, Michael would produce Bobby on “Black Cat Blues”, Bobby remembered the chat at the Grammys.

July 1983 Rockin’ Robin performed at “Do Wop”, a yearly festival at Camp Washington Carver, in Beckley, West Virginia. They would headline this festival for 13 years.

1984 Chuck Leavell, Allman Brothers/Rolling Stones Keyboard player, would lend his talents on Michael’s “Jazz Vein”. Chuck asked him on stage at The Park West in Chicago, to jam with The Allman Brothers Alumni. Dickey Betts, Chuck Leavell and Butch Trucks, for “South Bound”. “In the green room after the show, I confessed to Dickey Betts, I couldn’t hear a thing I played.” Dickey laughed and said “But you looked good!”

In 1985 he was bandleader for the first live Rock ‘n Roll pay-per-view TV broadcast before 85,000 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Featuring, Bo Diddley, Little Anthony, Chubby Checker and many others.

Early in 1986 while performing at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, during the Fats Domino Tour, Michael was asked to play piano with Fats Domino’s band, at the celebration of the first Martin Luther King Day. He was told Fats was ill. “Blueberry Hill”, “Walking to New Orleans”, “Hello Josephine”, He would say, “I thought I went to Heaven”. “When we return to the hotel, Fats was in an apron as he opened the door of his hotel suite, cooking Red Beans and Rice. Tim says,” Hey Fats your gonna burning this place down.” Fat replied “you boys hungry?”

In November 1986 Michael relocated to Orlando, Florida to accept Music Director position at “Little Darlin’s Rock and Roll Palace”, a club dedicated to Oldies Rock and Roll. There the band performed 6 nights a week for 6 years, with a list of Rock and Roll legends. Many of these artists they formed lifelong friendships.

In 1987 Michael got a chance to repay Wolfman when he suggested him as host “Little Darlin’s” TV series. (26) shows for TNN, (10) shows for NBC. The TNN show would run 4 nights a week in USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, filmed in Orlando,

1988 Rockin’ Robin was one of several groups of entertainers sent to represent Florida tourism. They performed in Mar Del Plata, Argentina for then President Carlos Menem. Later That year they would perform In Caracas, Venezuela.

1989 Rockin’ Robin would release “Reruns”, tour Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico. Summer 1989 Wolfman reciprocated and hired Michael for Wolfman Jack’s Rock and Roll Palace. (13) shows for TNN (5) for CBS. New Years Eve 1990 Little Darlin’s would change its name to “Wolfman Jack’s Rock and Roll Palace”. TV show stared Lester Chambers, The Impressions and Joe Walsh of The Eagles and The James Gang.

1990 Along with brother Tim and long time drummer Paul Parker they would perform at the Anaheim NAMM Show fro KORG. Here Michael would meet one of his heroes that would become one of his close friends, Patrick Moraz of YES, Moody Blues Refugee. Patrick’s solo album, “The Story of I” from 1978 was Michael’s favorite CD of all time. Later in 1992, Tim, Paul Parker, Jim Gentry and Michael would tour with Patrick as Patrick Moraz and Human Impulse.

January 1990 Rockin’ Robin tours England, Wolver Hampton, New Castle, Swansea, Warrington, Liverpool, Bournemouth in England.

In 1990 on one of the last shooting days of “Wolfman Jacks Rock and Roll Palace”, Michael told guest Beatle pianist Billy Preston, he received a Grand Piano from Kurzweil/ Young Chang for getting them rolling credits on the Years of TV. The piano did not sound very good, so Billy had suggested, “give it to charity and write it off on your taxes”. He would then go on to get the signatures of 52 world famous Keyboard artists to sign the keys of a piano for Give Kids The World, a charity organization in Kissimmee, Florida. Called “The Young Chang Celebrity Piano”, he auctioned it off for $50,000.00. Ten years later, the piano would find it’s way to The John Lennon Room at Hard Rock Live. There it is on display with the furniture from John Lennon’s Dakota Apartment. Michael’s signature is between Paul McCartney and Victor Borge. “Stevie Wonder gave me a thumb print”.

September 1990 Michael joins The Crickets and Paul McCartney in New York for the opening of “Buddy The Musical”. He attends dinner with Paul and Linda McCartney, The Crickets and wives, and May Pang.

February 3rd 1991,Michael would be a guest to see “24 nights” at London's Royal Albert Hall with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy Robert Cray and others. Getting one of many times he would chat with his friend and hero Johnnie Johnson on piano and Chuck Leavell played B-3. Having drinks with Clapton and Jimmie Vaughn. “I will be searching for the lost photo of that night, forever.”

1991 Celebrity Keyboard Concert, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, Brian Wilson, Manfredo Fest and Michael perform on the celebrity piano backed by the band and hosted by Wolfman. June, Michael produces “Classic Tracks” for Rick Wakeman, recorded in Orlando, Isle of Man and Mixed in Philadelphia.

Michael is introduced to musician/producer Don Orilio, while recording with Woodstock veteran Melanie. Michael would go on to record, arrange and produce 4 CD’s Melanie from 1991 to 2004. He and the band would perform with her on festivals in USA, Germany, Denmark.

January 1992 Tim and Michael would play the Superbowl and back Bruce Hornsby. “Hornsby flew into Orlando, rehearsed with the band at my house, and we did the Superbowl the next day.”

1993 Rockin’ Robin performs in Tokyo, Japan. This would be the first of many Japanese tours.

Spring 1994 Rockin’ Robin returns to Tokyo, Japan.

June 1994 Michael produces “Windows of Time” for Patrick Moraz.

They performed at Woodstock 25 tour with Melanie, Country Joe McDonald in Coberg, Germany.

Fall 1994 Rockin’ Robin again returns to Tokyo, Japan.

July 1,1995 Wolfman dies of a heart attack. Tim and Michael attend his funeral in Belvidere, North Carolina. “We had many plans, he is truly missed.”

1996 Michael writes music for Florida Tourist Radio and Cool 105.7 Libraries.

1997 Rockin’ Robin performs Cruise to Barbados and Jamaica with the Marvellettes and Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits. Michael would meet John Denver. Early one morning he found Denver exercising by himself on the upper deck. He approached him and said, “Mr. Denver, you were the host of the show when I was nominated for a Grammy.” Denver replied,” That’s great congratulations.” Then I told him I didn’t win. He joked, as he ducked away, “I didn’t have anything to do with it.” Denver was a wonderful guy and through him, Michael and Tim would work on several projects with guitar legend James Burton.

1998 Sets up shop in Studio Z, where he teams up with longtime friend and studio engineer Daryl Phillips. Here they will produce many projects, soundtracks and CD’s.

1999 Steve Cox hires Michael to put together The Hard Rock Live Band. Michael spends the summer of 1999 creating Evolution, The History of Rock and Roll show for Hard Rock Live. He forms Hard Rock Live Band, with brother Tim (wwwtimfranklin.net), Liberty Devitto, (Billy Joel), Charlie DeChant, (Hall and Oates), Tommy Calton, ( Hotel, Edgar Winter, Spencer Davis), Steve Walters,(Temptations, Ray Charles), Mark Clermont (John Entwhistle, Eddie Van Halen) and Vocalist Randi Paul (Jazz Crusaders).

2000 Michael spends many months in Tokyo collaborating with Don Oriolo of Felix the Cat on musical for Hello Kitty. Summer, Michael and Liberty Devitto perform with Chuck Berry on his 75th Anniversary Tour.

Michael visits China for the first time November 1, 2000. Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an, Beijing.

2001 Writes and produces music for “Felix Saves Christmas”. His daughter Erika Lynn Franklin (ELF), will do voiceover as one of the Snow Kids and Zaza.

2003 Produces “Black Cat Blues” with Bobby Kimball, Spencer Davis, Edgar Winter, Les Dudek, Pat Travers, Allen Toussiant and others.

2004 Michael and Tim perform Woodstock 30 at the original site.

2004 Michael brings American Carnival legend Jerry Murphy, of Murphy Brothers Exhibitions to China to explore a carnival to tour China. Summer of 2004 he produces CD for Kristie Deluca, “Legacy” CD for famous cigar maker and jazz pianist Avo Uvezian. October Michael produces RockOctober Fest for the City of Palm Springs California. A highly successful three days of Rock and Roll.

2005 After 1-½ years of effort American International Carnival opens a successful 3-month run in Tianjin, China with cooperation from Impact Hong Kong. September 2005 Steve Cox and Michael initiate The Rolling Stones Tour of China. After months of work the Asian promoter finds his own sponsor, forcing them out of the production. “That’s Show Biz!”

Rolling Stones first show on Mainland China April 2006 at The Grand Stage in Shanghai. "Michael tours his friend Chuck and wife around Shanghai antique market. January 2006, American International Carnival Opens in Nanning, Guanxi, China. April, Michael produces Gary Puckett's Greatest Hits. He starts Asia Direct Trade Company, in Qingdao, Shandong, China,

2007 Performs around China Wave Festival, Xiamen, Beijing, Hou Hai with Chinese bands. Starts Stone export company in Xiamen.

2008 Rockin’ Robin performs in Osaka, Japan for the 50th anniversary of Felix the Cat. Becomes Director of Asian Operations for Evolution Solar. Produces Gloria Gayner “Christmas Presence”.

2009 Michael produces event at Asia World Center in Hong Kong for Nuskin with Impact Hong Kong. Becomes CEO of Synergy Design and Development in Shanghai, an associate company of Evolution Solar. October 2009 Michael brings first major Chinese act, Cantonese Superstar, Andy Hui, to USA, for the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

2010 Michael produced Chinese act, JP an 9 year old, Asian/American singer.

2011 He produced “Wu Wu” a talented Chinese female singer and the band Zero Zero. He continued to consultant for Hard Rock, working with Chinese artists Andy Hui, Amei, Sammy Cheung, Jay Chou and many others.

2012 He continues to consult for Impact HK , Felix the Cat, Hard Rock Café, Orilolo Guitars, Gibson Guitars, Volt Solar Products and Optimum Solar.

Michael will release solo piano CD, “Forgotten Secrets”. In 2012 recorded live at Hong Tai Conservatory and the Xiamen Piano Festival.

Michael and Timothy will release CD, “Entropy” and rock CD, “Virtual Smorgasbord”.

The Recordings will feature: Liberty Devitto, Patrick Moraz, Charlie Dechant, Pat Travers, Edgar Winter, Paul Parker, Tommy Calton, Ray Gomez, Brian Chatton, Mike Pinera, Jim Gentry, and many others.

He continues to work on Solar and Music. Concerts in USA in March 2012, and working to estabolish the Xiamen International Music Festival, in his hometown of Xiamen, Fujian.

His Solar Charger designs for iphone and ipad are licensed and sale worldwide under many brands, visit www.voltsolarproducts.com, www.Solawerks.com, voltchina.taobao.com, and ADLA SOlar, and Felix the Cat.

The entire FMG Music Catalog will be on ITunes by 2012.

after 2010 Michael produced Chinese act, JP an 9 year old, Asian/American singer.

2013 He produced “Fi Fi ” a talented Chinese female singer and the band Zero Zero. He continued to consultant for Hard Rock, working with Chinese artists Andy Hui, Amei, Sammy Cheung, Jay Chou and many others.

2014 He continues to consult for: Impact HK music promotions, Felix the Cat, Hard Rock Café, Orilolo Guitars, Gibson Guitars, Katson Golf, Volt Solar Products and Optimum Solar. Michael and Timothy will release Jazz CD, “Entropy” which Feaytures Charlie Dechant of Hall and Oates on Sax and Larry Coryell on guitar, December 2014. Rock CD, “Virtual Smorgasbord”, will feature: Liberty Devitto, Patrick Moraz, Charlie Dechant, Pat Travers, Edgar Winter, Paul Parker, Tommy Calton, Ray Gomez, Brian Chatton, Mike Pinera, Jim Gentry and many others. Release is Dec 2014.

He continues to work on Solar industry and Music. Concerts in USA and Asia working on Songs4life International Music Festival. His Solar Charger designs for iphone and ipad are licensed and sale worldwide under many brands, visit www.voltsolarproducts.com. Currently Recording 50th Anniversary of “In a Godda Da Vida”, With Original Iron Butterfly guitarist Mike Pinera.

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