Passion, groove and power best describe Mike’s work ethic behind the kit. Be it a recorded track, live performance, a teaching moment or video, he gives every part of his mind, body and soul in the moment. Mike’s eclectic background and taste in music from improvisational jazz to funk to punk to rock to pop to world grooves, color his imagination and playing. Mike has never stopped learning, growing and listening…

Mike Gruwell is an Atlanta drummer working out of his home studio. In addition to drum tracking work, Mike creates his own original music and albums featuring drums, bass, trumpet, piano and percussion.

Mike is the drummer for Red Hot Empty, which is a melodic punk thrash band. He is also the drummer for The McMansions and GRAsE.

Interview with Eclectic Arts Media

Mike’s drumming history is rooted in big band jazz and jazz combos at Rose Hill Junior High and Lake Washington High School in the ’80s under Tom Wilson and Gary Evans. The jazz band scene in this area was nationally recognized and the bands frequently performed, recorded records, competed and gigged throughout the Northwest. During this time Mike studied under jazz drummer Dave Stettler.

In the late ’80s and into the ’90s, Mike was the drummer for several original-music bands in Seattle, including DFL, Stone Dresden, Black Moses, Mushmouth and 420 Love. These bands were part of the scene during Seattle’s reign of grunge on the music industry. Shows were played frequently at local venues including The Crocodile Cafe, OK Hotel, Off Ramp, Swan Cafe and Colourbox. Demos were recorded at Reciprocal Recording (with Jack Endino as engineer/producer), London Bridge Studio and Soundhouse Recording. Mike moved to Atlanta in 1997 and spent the next couple of years playing drums for a few local bands.

In 1999, Mike transitioned his skydiving hobby into a business. For the next 20+ years. Mike, and his wife Stephanie, built and ran the skydiving gear retailer, education blog and parachute rigging school, ChutingStar, which continues to serve skydivers worldwide. Mike continued to play drums during this time with other skydiver musicians.

In 2015, Mike hopped back on the drums full-time to serve his local church. Mike served local churches behind the kit as a worship drummer, including West Ridge Church and New Season Church, from 2015-2021.

With his creative fire reignited, Mike started writing music again, building out GTown Studio, tracking drums for others, producing drummer education videos and playing in bands. At the same time, he has continued learning himself, taking lessons from Mike Johnston and Carter McLean while practicing and studying anything that moves him.

Writing original music for solo albums became his focus in 2020, as well as remote drum tracking for other artists. See Mike’s full discography at this link, and check out the currently available physical albums and merch at this link.

Check out the videos and blog links as well as the Instagram, YouTube and Facebook links to see his recent work.


— The McMansions EP “Four Eyes” released in 2024, now streaming everywhere at this link.
By The Numbers album released October 6, 2023 at this link.
Red Hot Empty Corridors 12″ vinyl with a live show recording from 2022 on the B side released in February 2024. Available here!
DFL Movement album remixed and remastered May 2024 by Jack Endino! Available to stream here! Info soon on CD’s and vinyl.
By The Numbers 5 single released June 2023 at this link.
Red Hot Empty “Burden” EP released June 2023 at this link.
— Red Hot Empty “Peckish” single released February 2024 at this link.
— Red Hot Empty “prolegomenon” live album released February 2024 here.
— Red Hot Empty “Crankshaft Sensor” single released February 2024 here.

Red Hot Empty
— The Mcmansions
Black Moses

Shows with Red Hot Empty. Future show schedule at this link.
Red Hot Empty Show Videos:
— 04/14/2024 at Star Bar
— 03/23/2024 at Mayhem House
— 01/07/2024 at Buvez Athens
— 11/04/2023 at NeuroFire 2023
— 10/13/2023 at Innerspace Atlanta
— 06/03/2023 at Boggs Social and Supply
— 05/27/2023 at Sweetwater
— 2/17/2024 at Sweetwater
Shows with The Mcmansions. Future show schedule here.
Mcmansions Show Videos:
— 05/04/2024 at Hearts Tattoo & Piercing
Outdoor One Drummer Drumming solo drum jams Live on Instagram.
Highlights of past outdoor drum solo recordings at these links:
02/18/2022 Lake Acworth
02/25/2022 Under Alabama Road Bridge over Clark Creek
03/04/2022 Along Hwy 92 near Woodstock Road in Acworth
03/11/2022 ChutingStar Warehouse Loading Dock
03/18/2022 Along Hwy 92 at Millwood Lane in Woodstock
03/25/2022 McCollum Airport

— Album Vinyl, CDs, Cassettes & Merch available directly from One Drummer Drumming at this link. Free shipping to any US address.
— Vinyl, CDs & Cassettes with included digital downloads available from Bandcamp at this link.

— Writing & recording 3rd solo album due out in 2024
— Recording & mixing Red Hot Empty‘s next album, True Pecking Order, due out in 2024
— Recording & mixing for The Mcmansions next album, due out in 2024.
— Recording drums for a new project with Brent Anderson.
— Drums, bass, trumpet, piano and percussion recordings. See the One Drummer Drumming YouTube Channel.
— Tracking drums for various other musical projects

— Drum Video Tutorials online at this link
— Drummer education in the One Drummer Drumming blog

Eddy Thrower & Mike Johnston Drum Camp 2.0 September 2022
— Annual Pope’s Percussion Back To Basics Drum Clinic
— 1-on-1 drum lessons in 2021 with Carter McLean
— Online drum lessons 2019-2023 with Mike Johnston

Interview with Picks N’ Sticks Music Studio