KentWired’s Q&A with winner of MTV’s ‘Amazingness,’ Michael Weber

Michael Weber on MTV’s “Amazingness”.

Henry Palattella

The following is a Q&A with junior advertising student Michael Weber, who recently won the $10,000 grand prize on an episode of MTV’s “Amazingness.”

KentWired: With “Amazingness,” how did MTV find you, and how did you go about being on the show?

Michael Weber: Producers of the TV show contacted me via email, and they expressed their interest in having me be a part of the show. They had seen some videos of me on Youtube, and they were interested in what I was doing. From there we had about a month of correspondence. From there, I made a couple demo performances of what I would do on the show in my recording studio, and I made these videos of what I would do. After a couple, they sent one back and said that’s what they would want. Next thing I knew I had a plane ticket and was in Los Angeles and was on the set of the show. It was a fun ride. I was happy to be included among the other great talents that were on the show. The other guys on the show were some of the greatest people with their talent, I was just honored to be among them. Being an Akron area guy my whole life, I’ve played regionally, but it was really cool to have my first time on national TV and play for a very large audience.

KW: On the show, they identified you as “shredhead.” Is that your nickname or what MTV called you?

It’s actually what they came up with for the show. The show is an offshoot of “Ridiculousness,” another Rob Dyrdek MTV show, and I know on that they do a lot of names for the show. So I was told that they were going to give us all special names that they would call us. It’s kind of funny, I don’t consider myself a shredder. For the mainstream, a lot of people see you play a guitar and think you’re a shredder. I was just happy to be called anything and be a part of it.

KW: What was it like going up there and performing not only for the audience there, but knowing it would be on MTV?

MW: It felt great. For me, there’s always nerves. Every time I pick up a guitar, I wonder if I’m able to do this. The key is that I think there’s a certain level of confidence that’s necessary. Playing guitar is one of the few things in my life where I can really bask in the moment. When I’m playing guitar, I’m in the moment, and I’m loving it. I don’t really remember most of being taped on the show because I was in the moment of playing guitar. If I don’t do it like that the performance comes off as much more sterile.

KW: What was it like watching the episode for the first time?

MW: It was great. It’s interesting because they videotape about three hours of each show and it gets whittled down to a 30-minute show with commercials. At the end I didn’t know what was going to be taken or what was going to happen, but I was glad to see how it came out. I got plenty of text messages after the show, and it was fun to hear from people I haven’t heard from in a while.

KW: What kind of background do you have in music, and what are your musical aspirations?

MW: I’ve been playing guitar my whole life. Now I lead a band called The Michael Weber Show, but I also play in other groups. I’m also a drummer, bass player, pedal steel guitar player, so I try to diversify music. I also own a music studio called Silver Swamp studios, I spend a lot of time down there working with myself and other clients. My first professional-style gigs came along when I was eight years old, and I’m on the never-ending quest to try to search for greatness in music. How can I learn to do something that is on par with people I idolize? That’s the dream that I chase. I think the idea of being a rock star is kind of silly in most situations, the real dream for me is finding a way to put bread on the table playing guitar. I’m a hard guy to satisfy musically because I’m very critical of what I do. I think that’s a way for people to progress, because if you think you’re great, you probably don’t succeed.

KW: What was your favorite genre of music growing up?

MW: When I was little I was exposed to lots of rock and blues music. I also had a VHS player and a smaller TV next to my parents’ TV where I would spend hours shoving in different tapes of performances of rock and blues bands. As time has gone on, I’ve developed a fondness for deeper cuts. I’m a record-collector, and I like deeper cuts. Rarities, stuff like that. Sometimes, a lot of blues guys like myself don’t really talk about alternative rock and punk rock, but I have a huge passion for old punk and alternative rock. Music is a true melting pot of so many different ingredients, and I think sometimes people tend to get so lost in the stuff they like the most that they don’t realize where it came from.

KW: Do you also want to go into the recording and producing aspect of music as well?

MW: I’m interested of going into every aspect of music that I possibly can. If I can spend time in the recording studio or spending time as a session player on recordings, that would be another dream come true. I’m just happy being around music. I think that if you love it, you have to work in a lot of different parts of it. If you love football, you can’t just think about the quarterback; there’s a lot of other guys on the field.

KW: How did you end up at Kent State?

MW: Well, I live in Silver Lake, so I’m a commuter. I’m an advertising major, and I’m happy to commute. I have my recording studio in my basement, and I’m kind of a loud guy. I’m not really a dorm-living guy because I’m a musician. There’s always loud noise or records blaring early in the morning, and I know if I had a roommate they’d want to kill me within two weeks.

KW: How do you hope to use your advertising major to help you in your career in music?

MW: What I like about advertising is that it’s pretty relatable to a lot of things in life. When you’re writing a headline or copy for an ad, there’s a huge component of song writing in the same way that, when I’m writing a song, I’m looking for a hook to draw people in.

KW: Do you prefer acoustic or electric guitar?

MW: I’m primarily an electric guitar player, but I’ll still play acoustic. On my latest record called “The Hollywood EP,” I spent a lot of time on acoustic guitar. Most of the basic tracks on the tunes were recorded with live drums, bass, vocals and acoustic guitar. So, from that perspective, acoustic is an important piece. The issue is that a lot of the live shows are done with a trio, so there isn’t much room for me to have an acoustic guitar because I need more noise.

Weber will be performing at the Akron Civic Theater on Feb. 16 and the Lorain Palace Theatre on Feb. 17. Weber’s show on Feb 17 will be a live recording for the B-side of his upcoming record. 

Henry Palattella is an assigning editor. Contact him at [email protected].