Past Band Members

Ricky Fataar

Michelle-Schmitt-and-Ricky-FataarRicky Fataar is a South African musician and drummer. He is a famed band member of “The Rutles” from South Africa. In 1968 the band moved to London and began touring England. On one of their tours, a member of The Beach Boys, Carl Wilson, spotted them. Carl was impressed by their talent and offered to sign them to the Beach Boys new record label Brother Records. The band moved to Los Angeles and they recorded and released their 1970 album “The Flame” with Carl Wilson producing. The Beach Boys then recruited Fataar in 1971. Fataar has been involved in numerous film and television scorings and produced the music for various films. For the last 29 years, Fataar has been a member of Bonnie Raitt’s band. Ricky and Michelle have co-produced many of Michelle’s records. Ricky was also instrumental in the design and creation of Pine Mountain Studio in Alexander Valley. Michelle and Ricky will make music again in the future when he is not touring with Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor.

Ricky Fataar on Wikipedia

Chris Carmichael

Chris Carmichael is a musician and arranger born in San Antonio, Texas. After his formal training, he began a career as a touring musician for various artists in several genres.  He was signed by Atlantic Records in NYC, then Warner/Chappell, but remained a Nashville resident. In the early 1990s, Chris transitioned into full-time studio work and arranging. His orchestral arrangements have been performed by major groups such as the Boston Pops Orchestra. Carmichael’s television and radio appearances include the 71st Academy Awards, The Tonight Show, The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Country Music Association Awards, CBS Morning Show, The View, A Prairie Home Companion, and many others. Arrangements of distinction include the string quartet arrangement of Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This”, which originally aired at the 2007 Academy of Country Music awards show, and later became a single release. His contributions to film soundtracks include Down in the Valley, The Sapphires, and Shrek 2. Chris contributes on all string arrangements for Michelle’s records. She is forever grateful for the beauty he brings to her songs.

Chris Carmichael on Wikipedia

George Marinelli

Born in Staten Island, NY, George Marinelli has over 40 years of experience in the music business, both on guitars and vocals, as well as writing and producing. Living in Los Angeles from 1963 to 1991, Marinelli played clubs, recording sessions, wrote, and toured. George played guitar for Billy and the Beaters from 1978 to 1982, for Jimmie Wood and The Immortals from 1980 to 1984, and was a founding member of Bruce Hornsby and the Range from 1982 to 1991. Relocating to Nashville in 1991, George has continued his career through session work, writing, and producing. In 1993, George joined Bonnie Raitt’s band, and has been with them ever since. Marinelli has been recording and producing indie projects in WingDing Studios, after forming WingDing Records briefly in 2000. Additionally, George is currently performing and recording solo and with Air Parma. George joined Michelle’s band in 2009 and was a much trusted band member and friend. George was the lead guitarist as well as our magical mandolin man. He contributed so much to each record he played on.

Mike Pinette

Mike Pinette, originally from New Hampshire, was Michelle’s drummer and percussionist. He had some big shoes to fill and did a great job using Michelle’s magical “Ricky Fataar” drum kit. As a natural musician, artist (Sea by Land) and health coach (Liv Well), Mike brought a calmness to the band that was felt in rehearsals and on stage. Mike pursued his balanced life and served as a great example of how to keep it cool. Michelle was very happy to have Mike in the band.

Marc Levine

Marc Levine is an accomplished bass player. His first gold record as a session bassist was with Johnny Rivers, playing on the song “Slow Dancin’, Swayin’ To The Music”. Some other artists he worked for, either live or in the studio, included Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Dionne Warwick, Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Manchester, Michael Damien, David Hasselhoff, Burt Bacharach, and Kid Creole, in the pop music field; Dianne Schuur, Rosemary Clooney, and Gerry Mulligan, in the jazz arena; The Undisputed Truth, Freddie Stewart (Sly Stone’s guitarist brother), in the funk zone; and K.T. Oslin, in the country music area. He also played on sessions for Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain (two members of the rock group Journey), and guitarist Jimmy Crespo, who was with Aerosmith at the time. Marc joined Michelle’s band in 2009 and as she said he was “the perfect bandmate” while working on four of her records.

Michael Spriggs

British born Michael Spriggs, is an A-String Nashville session guitarist, producer, writer and composer. He started his Nashville career in 1971 as MD and lead guitarist for Eddie Rabbitt, for five years, playing on eight #1 songs for Eddie. He then moved on to work as a full time session player and writer for Warner Bros and EMI. He has played for the likes of: Faith Hill, Toree McGhee, Colt Ford, LeAnn Rimes, Martina Mc Bride, Waylon Jennings, Trick Pony, Lee Roy Parnell, Alabama, Suzy Boggus, Hank Williams Jr, BB King, John Michael Montgomery, Rebecca Lynne Howard, Trace Adkins, Pam Tillis, Elton John, Tanya Tucker, Lorrie Morgan, Paulette Carlson, Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rogers, Lila Mc Canne, and Eddy Arnold to name a few. He has written one #1 and two Top 5 country songs: “Twenty Years Ago”, by Kenny Rogers, “If There’s Any Justice”, by Lee Greenwood, and “The Car”, by Jeff Carson. He has a separate career as a successful instrumentalist releasing five albums.

Michael Bluestein

Michael Bluestein is a pianist, keyboardist, singer/songwriter, composer and record producer, originally from Massachusetts. He has been a member of the rock group Foreigner since 2008, and has been a high profile touring keyboardist and vocalist since moving to Los Angeles in 2003. Bluestein began classical piano studies at age nine, and started playing pop, jazz and soul music when he reached his teens where he attended Brookline High School, in Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Bluestein attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. Shortly after receiving his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, Bluestein moved to San Francisco where he spent 10 years highly involved in the Bay Area music scene. Moving to Los Angeles in 2003, Bluestein toured and recorded with Boz Scaggs (2003), Anastacia (2004–2006), Enrique Iglesias (2007–2008), Roger Hodgson (2009) and with Foreigner (2008–present). He has also done occasional performances with Burt Bacharach and Stevie Nicks.

Paul Tyler

Paul was a very important part of the team at HSR and Pine Mountain Studio. He was also the studio manager for both studios. He was the lead guitarist in the beloved San Francisco-based indie band MOVER. Paul was talented and had a unique quality when working with bands and creating music. His commitment to helping musicians in the studio was so impressive. He gave so much of himself and taught many young bands coming up how to make their songs better and their bands stronger. Paul was also an accomplished guitarist and singer. Paul and Michelle recorded Covering Life.together. Check out their duets, Love Hurts, Helplessly Hoping, and Love Ain’t for Keeping. All sales of Covering Life will go directly to a special fund set up for Paul’s young son, Noah. Michelle and Paul had many plans for future projects and it brought great sadness when Paul passed away, April 20, 2014, after fighting a long and brave battle with cancer. He died too young but will never be forgotten. Paul will ALWAYS be a part of the music Michelle makes. RIP and God Speed.

Read more about Paul’s passing.

Back to Current Band