Mick Murphy fuses elements of classic rock, old school heavy metal, early punk/hardcore, and underground doom metal into a style that is all his own. He plays guitar for the Los Angeles-based heavy rock band My Ruin (fronted by his wife/female roar trailblazer, Tairrie B Murphy) as well as the ‘70s/’80s cover band Chevy Metal (led by Foo Fighters drum wiz Taylor Hawkins).
“Neanderthal” is Mick’s instrumental guitar-rock solo recordings.
Mick’s connection, fixation, and obsession with the electric guitar began at a young age in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee back in the ‘70s. His older brother’s record collection made a huge impact on him as he constantly listened to rock music all throughout his young life. He got his first guitar at age 12 and started playing in bands soon after that. People in the area started taking notice of his abilities in 1987 when he won the local “guitar wars” at the age of 16 (and again at 18).
By the early ‘90s, Mick was playing a lot of shows and developing a regional following in the southeast with the Knoxville-based hybrid-metal band Hypertribe. After a west coast run in March 1995, the band decided to relocate. In early ’96 they moved to Hollywood and changed the band name to Movement. In 1999, after many struggles, adventures, bar gigs, and a nearly signed record deal gone wrong, Movement amicably called it quits.
In early 2000, Mick met vocalist Tairrie B (Manhole/Tura Satana/My Ruin) and the two immediately hit it off on both a romantic and musical level (they got married in 2008). Mick joined My Ruin soon after and has since co-written, co-produced and toured seven albums with the band to date including their most recent, “The Sacred Mood,” which was released in June 2013.
Sometime in 2003, Mick started recording instrumental songs just for fun and named the project “Neanderthal.” The material focuses on riffs, changes, solos, old school heaviness, energy and intensity. In 2006 he self released the first Neanderthal full-length album, “Start A Fire With Rock”. Fast forward to 2013 and we see the sixth self-release from the project, the six-song EP “Hangtime,” still rocking in the same spirit that fired it up 10 years ago.
In June 2006 while touring with My Ruin, Mick joined the Laney Amps artist roster alongside metal god Tony Iommi. Mick started out using the VH100R model but has since switched to the Ironheart.
In their 2007 40th anniversary issue, Guitar Player Magazine included Mick on their list of the “40 Most Underrated Guitarists of the Past 40 Years” for his work with My Ruin and their chief editor Michael Molenda nicknamed him “Master of Heaviosity”.
Over the course of 2012, Mick started doing more session work and ended up working with composer Stephen Barton for the first season of the Disney XD animated series “Motorcity”. The action-packed show features many scenes where fast and heavy music provides the audio backdrop. Most of the guitar for those bits was played by Mick.
Chevy Metal and The Birds of Satan
Around April 2013, Mick joined Taylor Hawkins “souped-up” classic rock cover band Chevy Metal, which led to sharing the stage with various big name rockers such as Dave Grohl, Perry Farrell, Joan Jett and Nikki Sixx. The band has gigged all the way from Oklahoma City to Santiago, Chile.
An original project has sprung from the cover band in the form of “The Birds Of Satan,” which is Hawkins’ new prog-rock side band. An EP is set to be released on April 15, 2014 and features a nine-and-a-half-minute song co-written by Hawkins, Grohl and Murphy.
In September 2013, OC Weekly named Mick #3 on their “10 Best Metal Guitarists” list alongside rock icons Tony Iommi, Dimebag Darrell and Jeff Hannemann.
The Triple M
GJ2 debuted its new “Triple M” guitar (aka the “Mick Murphy Model”) at the NAMM Show in January 2014. It’s a stripped-down, straight-ahead rock machine that looks and plays like a rocket. Specially created by Grover Jackson, the guitar bears Mick’s trademark =MM= signature and features two humbuckers with a hard-tail bridge, making it ideal for high-octane tuned-down riffing. The Triple M will be offered in new colors exclusive to the model. The design traces its roots back to the dawn of the ‘80s with the iconic collaboration between Grover Jackson and Randy Rhoads that became the original “RR” model (later evolving into the GJ2 Concorde) that first inspired Mick to take up the guitar.
Mick Murphy with his signature =MM= guitar by GJ2 in satin camo at NAMM 2014. (Photo: Gary Bandfield, TourBus Live)