Mike Panethiere – (A.K.A. “Mike the Wire”) Mike is the founder and manager of Platinum Express. Mike was born and raised in Kansas City. He began playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. Although, the accordion was his first instrument, a traditional choice for a little Italian boy, which he started playing at the age of 5. During his High School years Mike performed with “George” a local band that took first place in the greater K.C. battle of the Bands contest in 1967.
Mike attended the Charlie Parker Academy in the mid-seventies and studied under the tutelage of local Blues and R&B guitar legends Sonny Kenner and Ed Toler. Mike later went on to study at the renowned Berklee College of Music. Mike toured the Midwest in the late 70’s and early 80’s with “Robinson Pike”, a K.C. based 9-piece R&B band that featured (Grammy Award Winning Warner Bros. Recording Artist and 1999 Downbeat Jazz Vocalist of the Year) Kevin Mahogany, as well as other K.C. notables Joe Cartwright, David Krull, Mark St. John and David Basse.
Mike was offered the opportunity to perform on the road with Bobby Blue Bland after Robinson Pike broke-up, which he turned down in order to finish his education as an Electrical Engineer. Although, Mike is one of Kansas City’s most prominent Engineers and has been a practicing Registered Electrical Engineer for the last 25 years, he has not forgotten to practice his guitar. Nor has he forgot his roots of growing up in Kansas City’s inner city and the wonderful Blues, Jazz and R&B legacy that he was exposed to, and a part of, at an early age.
Mike’s influences are B.B. King, Jimmy Nolen of James Brown fame, Eric Clapton, Al McKay-Earth, Wind & Fire, Terry Kath-Chicago, and especially his close friend and mentor Bruce Conte of Tower of Power. Mike brings a rich soulful, funk guitar playing style with the ability to deliver blistering blues solos in the truest form of the “Kansas City Sound”. Mike plays a 1979 Gibson Les Paul custom guitar that was previously owned and played by Bruce Conte of Tower of Power. He uses mid-1960’s vintage Fender tube amplifiers, D’Addario strings, and Boss effects.