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Fuel Magazine Article

January 18, 2008 Music 101 Local success story gives the ins, outs of music business

DEVON BABIN Combine a great musician with a manager, a teacher and an author. What you get is a unique combination named Mike Wood.

Wood has been in the music world since his days at Sir Robert Borden High School, and along the way has learned a lot about himself and the music business. Now the globe- trotting musician is staying put long enough to teach up-and-coming musicians all he can about the industry he managed to carve his own niche out of.

Along with his band Circuit, the front man and manager has toured with the likes of Buck Cherry, Kansas, Vince Neil and Everclear. Behind the scenes he has worked with some of the most recognizable names in the industry such as Casey Kasem, Pete Gilroy and Chuck Gullo who has worked with Bryan Adams, Janet Jackson and many others.

The experiences Wood has had make of the basis of his new book, You've got a Friend in the 'Biz. "The thing that made it different [the book], is I went to my friends in the business," says Wood.

Kasem, Juno award winner Dale Penner, former vice president at Sony Records Don Grierson are just a few of the names in the book that give people looking for direction in the music business some hope. More than that, however, Wood gives his own stories of the ups and downs he has experienced in his travels.

The travels started through a friendship he had since high school. A friend of his who grew up in Craig Henry along with Wood moved back to Lebanon with his parents. Wood didn't hear from his friend until a couple of years later. The friend in question was on the phone, back in Ottawa and needed a place to stay.

The friend stayed with Wood and his parents for a few months, then got on his feet. When his friend's father came to visit a few months later, he felt obligated to repay Wood for helping his son. He put Wood in contact with Kasem, a relative. Within three weeks Wood was in L.A. trying his hand at getting his band noticed.

"At 22 I booked myself a plane ticket, got on a plane and went to Los Angeles," says Wood. "I spent my whole life in Nepean and my summers in Smiths Falls. I'm a small-town guy at heart and this gate is opening up. I ring the door bell and here come Casey Kasem to the door. I'm like, 'What the hell am I doing here?'" Along with meeting with Kasem, Wood began visiting all the record labels he could.

"I pounded the pavement for two weeks," he says. "EMI literally threw me out almost by the back of my shirt."

All the hard work paid off, however, and after a lot of phone calls and creating a buzz about his band, things started to happen. They toured with great bands, played in front of huge crowds and had their music all over the place, including being heard on the popular MTV program The Real World Denver.

With the success of Wood's hard work, musicians looking to make it in the music industry started asking him for advice. A friend of his encouraged him to write a book about his experiences in 2005, which he did, but he didn't put a lot of effort into making it a publishing success until this year. A newly revamped version is now available and selling well on websites such as amazon.com and others.

If that weren't enough, Wood has returned to Nepean on a more permanent basis as a teacher in the Pre-Music Production program at Algonquin College. "Right now my number one focus is teaching these kids the music business," says Wood.

Expanding on the information in his book, Wood gives students some of the tools and information they will need to make a crack at the music industry. Also like his book, he has a lot of guest speakers give their own advice to the students.

"It's just taken off. It's a very, very popular course," says Lou DiMillo, coordinator of the program.

Wood suits the course perfectly. Meant as an introduction into the music business, the program is a certificate course that gives people an idea of what to expect. There are few people better than Wood to give a realistic snap shot of the industry.

"He's young. He's in the scene," says DiMillo. "When he gets his mind set on certain things he goes for it."