In 1994 I began to wear the iconic design of the "Spaceman" in the KISS Tribute MR. SPEED. Stepping onstage for the first MR. SPEED show in 1994 on a Saturday night headlining slot in front of a capacity crowd in a legendary (now defunct) bar in Pittsburgh, wearing the iconic "Spaceman" makeup while using a Gibson electric guitar and a refrigerator-sized Marshall amplifier to push some air playing Ace Frehley licks was an accomplishment that interestingly and coincidentally began for me with the use of an acoustic guitar.
A few months after seeing KISS in concert on the 1979 Dynasty tour in Pittsburgh, my Christmas wish came true and my Mother gave me my first guitar... a nylon string acoustic guitar. Inspired by Ace Frehley's playing and performance on the Dynasty tour, I locked myself in my KISS memorabilia decorated bedroom and I took on the daunting task of learning by ear what I later determined were power chords and pentatonic blues scale solos using my KISS vinyl records, my record player and my acoustic guitar. I traded what later became my first electric guitar... a vintage (now collectible) Silvertone amp-in-case for an imitation Les Paul and while in high school I formed my first band that was named 5503. This was essentially a vehicle for me and my friends to play as many KISS songs as we could possibly learn. While in high school I was also fortunate to "sit in" with U2 on the song "People Get Ready" during their 1987 Joshua Tree tour concert appearance at Three Rivers Stadium in front of 45,000 people while playing Bono's guitar...an acoustic guitar.
Years later, I met Rich Kosak at a vinyl record and collectibles show and we immediately found that we had a mutual desire to play KISS songs in the most accurate and authentic way possible. We plied our craft using the same KISS memorabilia decorated workshop and we analyzed the classic KISS two-guitar approach by reviewing the KISS catalog of songs and performance footage to accomplish our goals. Flash forward to today and I too am proud of who I have become. After performing as the "Spaceman" in MR. SPEED for seven years, I relocated to Los Angeles and I gained 17 years of semi-professional and professional songwriting, recording and performance experience working with several original bands that have released full-length albums while also working with professional singer songwriter artists and tribute bands.
My name is Mike Gavigan. It has been said that "If a song sounds good on an acoustic guitar, it's a good song." I believe that KISS have always had GREAT songs because they include the things that make a good song great: Cool riffs, a well-structured arrangement, great tone, catchy vocal melodies, strong lead and backing vocals, melodic guitar solos and all the passion, energy and skill necessary to connect with an audience when the song is performed. "EXPOSED" is one of the truest forms of musical expression when it comes to the performance of KISS classics, gems and deep tracks. It also brings us full circle to the roots and methods of our musical development. I look forward to performing classic KISS "EXPOSED"... unplugged for you.