My friend and I went to a great club last night-- BB's Jazz, Blues, and Soups -- St Louis, Mo. We got there early to get a good seat; in fact, the owner let us in the back door, the first customers in. We dressed up a bit, to make a good impression...clothes do make the man, after all. We got a good table, right up front. Michael and his band were loading in. After his bass player got done (Cliff) he sat at a nearby table, and we struck up a conversation. Great guy--we invited him to come sit with us (no sense in sitting alone) and proper introductions were done. I bought him a cranberry juice, and after a bit he went back up onstage for the sound check. Mike had been busy getting his rig set up; 2 Dr. Z plus cabs (2x12 ea), and a rack with a power conditioner and two heads, a Delta 88 (prototype--he got both), and one of Dr Z's new amps, the SRZ-35 (Only two of the first run were red--guess who got them?). He has a pedal board as well; it contains a compressor/sustainer, a Klon, Delay pedal, and a Blues Driver. The main pedal he uses is the compressor--to drive the amps a bit harder. Guitar-wise, Michael is setup really well. His main axe is a 2002-ish R8 Flametop. It looks like a lemonburst to me. The neck pickup is a stock BB2, and the bridge pickup is a Peter Florance Voodoo. The guitar has all the road wear you'd expect for a guy that plays almost 300 gigs per year. His other axe at the gig was a cherry Flying V, circa 1974 --it was also loaded with Voodoos. This axe never saw action though, at least while I was there. Michael has an awesome tone...it's moderately dark, and reminds me of a classic AC30 tone. Those Dr Z's were humming. He's also got a huge library of licks, and a monster vibrato. Fantastic player. So...back to the story. After the sound check they were coming off stage, and walk right past our table. I stood and remarked to Michael that his LP was screaming, and his rig sounded awesome. I also asked if he'd ever heard of MLP, and he stopped in his tracks. His face lit up (he's got a huge smile, you can't help but smile back) and he said "I'll be right back, I want to talk to you!" They headed to the front of the club, and my buddy and I went back to our fine STL-brewed beers. Mike came back about 15 minutes later, and we had a great chat. He'd heard of MLP, but every time he got to a computer (not very often) he'd forget the URL...he finally found it on a friends website, and had a look. He wants to sign up, and said he'd do so next time he gets to a computer. I got his number and email, so I'll follow up and make sure he gets an account. About that time our food arrived; I had a sensible cajun chicken club sandwhich, and my buddy had a fried catfish po-boy...when Mike saw that, he ordered one too. So--we all had dinner together as well. What a great guy. We talked about his life on the road, guitars, and of course great food--like me he loves his food. Anyway, the show was killer--he came out with guns blazing. Blues guitar school was in session, my brothers, and I was the #1 student....LOL. I caught him whipping out a particular tasty phrase and looking right at me...yeah, he's the real deal. I wouldn't want to be on stage cutting heads with him for nothing... BTW--his 1st set ran right about 2 hours of non-stop blues playing. I guess they don't call him 'Iron Mike' for nothing. This is how close we were--I took this with my iPhone; Here's Mike's page on his label, Alligator Records: Michael Burks From there you can jump to his tour schedule. So...I look forward to seeing 'Iron Man' Michael Burks on MLP soon!