Michael Reed, also known as "The One Man Band" due his vast list of playable instruments and vocal ability, was a vocalist, guitarist, drummer and pianist in Steam Powered Giraffe. His instruments include the bass, banjo, ukulele, kazoo, and electric keyboard.
Michael Reed did backing instrumentation and album construction for Steam Powered Giraffe from January 2009 - March 2014. He then returned in 2018 for the ten year anniversary show. He stayed with SPG until he left the band in 2020 to move to another country
He has brown hair and blue eyes. His stage appearance included a custom made jumpsuit with the SPG logo on front and back, and a pair of goggles around his neck.
Michael was born in San Jose, CA. Michael’s father was a concert accordionist at the age of 15, and got Michael started playing the piano when Michael was about 8 years old. At first he focused solely on a piano style called “stride piano”, eventually becoming interested in and focusing on the styles of blues, boogie woogie, classical, jazz and funk, culminating in his own current style. Michael’s mother has been a gigging singer/guitarist/songwriter since she was 14 years old, and both his parents instilled in Michael a great respect and love for all kinds of music, from classical to contemporary. He lived in the bay area until he was 13, and moved to San Diego at the beginning of the year 2000. He attend Parkway Middle School, where by chance he met Jon Sprague (The Jon). Their friendship grew, and Jon would eventually introduce Michael to the guitar when Michael was 17 years old.
At first Michael was mostly interested in finger style guitar, because he found he could sound almost like a piano, playing bass parts, chords, and melodies on top of each other at the same time. Just as on the piano though, he eventually started becoming interested in blues, rock, classical, jazz and funk. Around this same time he started becoming interested in singing, writing and composing. He also became fully engaged in learning other instruments like the banjo, bass guitar, drum set, ukulele, synthesizers, harmonicas, tenor mandolin, mallet instruments and other percussion instruments etc. Michael dedicated most of his life around this point onward towards being moderately skilled at these instruments. At 18, Michael completely immersed himself in audio recording and engineering, investing in some equipment and microphones to start recording himself singing and playing his own musical ideas.
By the age of 19 Michael had left college to start playing in local bands, one of the bands eventually touring around the United States for a couple years. He had a taste of success playing at festivals on the same bills as Willie Nelson, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers. Around the age of 22, Michael was contacted by Steam Powered Giraffe to record Steam Powered Giraffes first studio album, Album One. They gave Michael the freedom to explore and invent sounds and ideas, drawn from and inspired by the lyrics of the songs. After the completion of Album One, he was asked to become a permanent member of the band to flesh out the sound. Michael started busking with Steam Powered Giraffe, and for the first year of plugged-in stage shows, being the only additional member, Michael would sing and play the piano, guitar or bass while also playing the drum set at the same time, which gave birth to the name “The One Man Band”.He is no longer working with the band due to allegations brought against him. The band has released statements across all platforms. It can be read here
Michael provides the primary vocals for the following songs:
- Steam Man Band (Album One)
- Steam Man Band (Reprise) (Album One)
- Prelude to a Dream/Make Believe (The 2¢ Show)