Michael Shrieve

Music prompts us to respond with open-heartedness instead of judgment. It ushers us to a higher place from where we can see beyond distractions to what is true and good and lasting. If musicians accept this responsibility, they can change the world.

Over the course of his prolific career, musician Michael Shrieve has written, produced and played on albums that have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2016, Rolling Stone listed him among the “100 Greatest Drummers,” and in 2011 the same magazine’s readers chose him as one of the “Top 10 Drummers of All Time.”

As the original drummer for Santana, Michael was the youngest performer at Woodstock at age 19.  He helped create the first eight albums of this seminal group, and was on the forefront of shaping a new musical era. In 2016, Michael reunited with the original band to perform and record a new album, Santana IV, on which two of his original songs are featured. 

Michael is respected world-wide for his adventurous experimentation with the most creative and masterful musicians. No other drummer has collaborated with such longevity and sophistication alongside artists in such diverse genres as rock, jazz, electronic, DJ and world music. He is well recognized for his groundbreaking adoption of electronic percussion when it was a new medium in the 1970s. 

Michael continues to strive for innovative approaches to percussion-based music, and records with both renowned and emerging artists. He recently released the experimental “Trilon,” a free-form jazz-groove collaboration with Reggie Watts, Skerik, Mike Dillon, James Rotondi, Brad Houser and Brian Siskind. Michael also performs with his own rock/jazz jam band, Spellbinder, that just released its second album. The quintet members joining Michael are Danny Godinez, Farko Dosumov, John Fricke and Joe Doria.

After a decade of international collaboration, Michael will soon release his most personal project, “Drums of Compassion,” for which he is composer, producer and drummer. This ambient world-vibe album expresseses Michael’s spritual perspective on what music contributes to the world. The album brings together some of the world’s most respected percussionists and musicians: Obo Addy, Zakir Hussain, Olatunji, Trey Gunn, Amon Tobin, Tarik Banzi, Jack De Johnette, Jeff Greinke, Airto Moriera, BC Smith, and James Whiton.

Michael’s recording credits include the masters of popular and avant-garde music – Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Pete Townsend, Steve Winwood, Police guitarist Andy Summers, film composer Mark Isham, and such musical luminaries as John Mclaughlin, Stomu Yamash’ta, Klaus Schulze, Freddie Hubbard, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell. Many notable publications have cited Michael’s outstanding work: The New York Times, Downbeat, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Modern Drummer, Musician, Drum, Paris Match, Melody Maker, and Life Magazine.

Michael Shrieve also composes music for film and television.  He worked with the director Paul Mazursky on the film, “The Tempest,” and scored music for Curtis Hanson’s “The Bedroom Window,” as well as numerous television movies and shows.  In 2002 Michael wrote and produced the song, “Aye Aye Aye,” with Carlos Santana, which appeared on the album, “Shaman.”  Rolling Stone magazine acknowledged it as one of the songs that “leaps out of the album, joyful and organic without calculation,” and achieves “globe-spanning euphoria.”

From 1990 to 2005, Michael was host, performer and curator of the popular “Bumberdrum,” which brought together a stage full of the many percussionists participating in Bumbershoot, an annual world-class art and music festival in Seattle. Michael was the Musical Director for the pre-game show of Major League Baseball’s 2001 All Star Game hosted by the Seattle Mariners, which involved over 80 drummers and dancers representing numerous countries.

Michael is the past President of the Pacific Northwest Branch of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), and served as Musical Director for Seattle Theater Group’s “More Music @ The Moore,” a program that highlights gifted young musicians from Seattle’s various cultural groups.

Michael Shrieve was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2005, Michael received the Guitar Center’s first annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.” 


I owe Michael a lot; He's the one who turned me onto John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I just wanted to play blues until Michael came. He opened my eyes and my ears and my heart to a lot of things. Some drummers only have chops, but Michael Shrieve has vision.

- Carlos Santana