About the duo
Scott and Mike were born about 20 miles and 7˝ years apart in
Scott was born in Brooklyn, NY, but lived in the valleys in and around Los Angeles from childhood until 1995, when he moved to the Bay Area.
His musical career began in 5th grade, his first instrument a cello. When asked why he chose a cello, Scott says "it was smaller than the bass, and easier to take on the school bus." While he would later learn to play piano and cornet (it's like a trumpet), it was his return to the cello in high school that led him to the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic Orchestra - an organization that still exists today for young classical musicians in the Los Angeles area.
At age 13, his cousin let him borrow a guitar (even smaller than a cello and easier to carry). Scott flipped open his Beatles song book to "Yesterday," put his fingers on the strings where the dots were for the opening F chord, and history was made. He soon bought his first guitar - a Yamaha 6-string he still sometimes uses - from a Van Nuys pawn shop.
Scott's first professional shows with an acoustic duo were in 1989, at age 20. (They called themselves Security Blanket.) When he saw a mandolin for sale at a Pasadena flea market in the early '90s, he thought "why not?" and picked that up too, even though he did not not know how to play one, or that it would eventually change his life.
In 1998, he joined the Music Perfomance class at Skyline College in San Bruno and met Steve Sage. Three years later, after a switch to the same class at DVC, Steve took one look at Scott and said "there's someone you need to meet." The chemistry was instant - Scott and Mike spent over an hour jamming on whatever songs they both happened to know off the top of their heads - some of which you can still hear them performing to this day.
Scott met his future life-partner Erin in high school in 1983, but it wasn't until 2000 that they began dating. They have lived together since 2001 and were married in 2012 (featuring a performance by Scott and Mike during the reception).
While Mike is unable to perform at this time, Scott is carrying on the Acoustic S&M tradition at his solo shows around California.
Mike was born and raised in the Bronx. He had two dreams that would define him the rest of his days: to become a musician and to operate a nightclub where he could play regularly.
In 1976, at age 15, he took his first job - a waiter in a coffee shop in North Central Bronx Hospital - and became hopelessly hooked! He was equally hooked on the music education he received at home. His mother played the Beatles and copious amounts of Italian opera. His older brother schooled him on jazz, progressive rock and Disco (but Mike vehemently resisted the Disco).
In 1981, at age 19, he took his first airplane trip - a one-way ticket to California. He continued working in restaurants, and attended Diablo Valley College to earn a certificate in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
After graduation, Mike took some guitar, bass and vocal lessons from a talented friend. After rounding out a couple of small electric Bay Area cover bands (the Generics, The Other Kind) on bass guitar and vocals, he decided to sell his bass and concentrate on guitar. Mike’s short-lived stint as a solo singer/guitarist produced two revelations: that his biggest fan Barbara would become his future bride, and that his guitar playing needed a bit more work.
It was in the Music Performance class at DVC taught by Bay Area guitar prodigy Steve Sage where Mike met Scott. In their first semester together, they co-founded the vocal-focused group “Mass Appeal.” After four semesters of jamming with various bands both within and outside the classroom, it became apparent to Mike and Scott that their musical progress was most rapid when working only as a duo. Once they had enough music rehearsed, they sought to play anywhere that would have them: coffee shops, pizza parlors, even a library opening!
Mike says he feels badly that after twenty years in the “Acoustic S&M” duo, he can no longer provide the quality vocals that a duo that specializes in vocals requires.
The decision to retire was obvious, but not easy. Mike has always considered himself a singer first, musician second. Although he feels he has lost his literal “voice,” finding another kind of voice in songwriting has helped to mitigate the disappointment of such a radical change in focus, as well as to provide some hope for future relevance in the music industry. Please continue to check in with us periodically for new song releases and other news.