was born on April 14th,
1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The oldest of four children, he
performed on the radio at age four. He was a singing drummer in a rock
and roll band in high school, along with fellow band mate and guitarist
Jesse Ed Davis. In 1960 he sold his drums and bought his first guitar (
A Martin D-18. The same guitar heard on six "Brewer & Shipley" albums).
After graduating high school in 1962, he traveled the folk circuit
performing in coffee houses from coast to coast, and began writing
songs. He met Tom Shipley in 1964 at The Blind Owl coffee house in Kent,
Ohio, but they wouldn't become a team for a few more years.
Mastin, Billy Mundi, Michael, & Jim Fielder
He teamed with first partner Tom Mastin
in 1965, and settled in San Francisco, then Los Angeles. His first
recording contract was with Columbia Records as
Mastin and Brewer. They formed a band with drummer
Billy Mundi (later a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of
Invention), and bassist Jim Fielder (later an original member
of Blood, Sweat & Tears). Mastin & Brewer toured southern California
opening for The Byrds ("Eight Miles High" was their current hit), along
with another newly formed band Buffalo Springfield. Buffalo
got together in a house next door to
Michael, once owned by Lenny Bruce, and they got their name from a road
work vehicle that was parked in front of Michael's house. Mastin & Brewer began headlining clubs in L.A., and began recording,
but Mastin decided he couldn't take the pressure, and they separated. Sadly, years later Tom Mastin committed suicide.
Mastin & Brewer's man at Columbia Records was leaving to help create a new record
company being formed by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss called A&M Records.
He took Michael with him, and Michael became a staff song writer for A&M's
publishing company Good Sam Music.
Tom Shipley moved into a house around the corner from Michael and they
began writing songs together. Soon, Tom was a staff writer for A&M, as
well. Their demos for the publishing company exhibited a sound and style
of their own, and A&M suggested they record their songs themselves.
Their first album
Brewer & Shipley/Down In L.A.
was released in 1968.
with life on the coast, Michael and Tom moved back to the heartland,
doing what they'd done before.....performing their songs for those
who'd care to listen. They made Kansas City, Missouri their home,
and with friends,
formed a company named Good Karma Productions. "Brewer & Shipley" acquired a new recording contract with Buddha/Kama
Sutra Records in New York City. They recorded four albums for that label Weeds,
(containing the now classic rock anthem "One Toke Over The Line"),
Shake Off The Demon,
Eventually, they moved to Capitol Records and recorded two albums
Welcome To Riddle Bridge.
In 1980 Michael and Tom amicably went their separate ways. Michael met Dan Fogelberg
in a bar in the Rocky mountains, and Dan invited him to sing on a song
on his latest album. The album was The Innocent Age
and the song was "The Reach". Dan produced Michael's first solo LP
Lies, on Full Moon/Warner Bros. Records, and it was released in 1983.
In 1987 "Brewer & Shipley" regrouped for a special concert in Kansas
City. They did a few more reunion shows, but writing new songs is what
got them back together. While on tour in Alaska, they decided to form
their own company "One Toke Productions". They have written songs for
and recorded two CD's for that company,
after forty plus years together "Brewer & Shipley" are still
In 2004 Michael released his second solo effort, entitled
Brewer/ Retro Man. In
the last few years Michael has been more prolific than ever writing
songs, and in 2010 released his third solo album entitled
It Is What It
Is. To purchase it or other Brewer &
Shipley CDs click on the
link on the home page of this site.
Michael has written songs that have
been recorded by Stephen Stills, The
Jonathon Edwards, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Dillards, Seldom
Scene, Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pederson to name a few.
Today Michael resides in the Ozark mountains in southern Missouri.