Passion, dedication and excellence 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 pop to rock to world grooves, color his imagination and playing. Mike has never stopped learning, growing and listening…
Mike Gruwell is currently an Atlanta-area drummer working out of his home studio in Acworth, GA. In addition to drum tracking work, Mike creates his own original music featuring drums, bass, trumpet, piano and percussion. He released his first solo album, That GTown Sound, in 2021, with plans for a 2nd solo album later in the year.
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 Georgia bands.
In 1999, Mike transitioned his skydiving hobby into a business. For the next 20 years. Mike, and his wife Stephanie, built and continue to run the skydiving gear retailer, education blog and parachute rigging school, ChutingStar, which serves 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 giving drum lessons. 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 2021, with his first vinyl album releasing 11/11/21. Watch for his new release coming soon here.
Mike has more than 35 years of drums and percussion experience in recording studios, live venues and churches. His wide-ranging genre experience includes rock, funk, jazz, pop, world, blues, symphonic and worship music. Check out the videos and blog links as well as the Instagram, YouTube and Facebook links to see his recent work.