Michael, in full neck brace, busking on Brick Lane...
Ms Cherry Shakewell live from the Rockin Blues Club..
Goin' Down Slow... live from Toerag Studios
It's been a wild ride..
In July 2006 London based session musician and Breakneck Records founder Michael Pollitt literally broke his neck in a freak surfing accident.
Michael would lose the use of his left hand for over six months and thought he would never play again. Fortunately he had some good doctors who enquired as to his life outside the hospital and when he told them he was a musician they instructed him to play every day until he got his hand back.. they didn't have to ask twice.
That moment would be the catalyst for a number of life changes which included the switch from session musician to finding the inspiration to put out his own material and run his own band, Mr Black & Blues, as well as setting up the Breakneck label to handle recordings and various label events around London.
Michael's first gig as Mr Black & Blues, featuring Lorne Stockman on harmonica, was a busking spot on London's Brick Lane. Still in a full neck brace disguised by a scarf, Michael knew he had to use it or lose it forever.
As soon as he was able he set up base at the Old Blue Last venue in Shoreditch, which was snapped up by VICE magazine in no small part due to the crowd which Breakneck Records had brought, and Michael ran the Sunday sessions for almost two years presenting the best up-and-coming live music in town. The nights quickly gathered pace and soon it was time to start something even more ambitious.
Michael then co-founded the monthly Virginia Creepers Rockin' Blues Club with Marilyn Virginia which was to get its start at the Gramaphone Bar in London's East and featured Burlesque and Blues with Mr Black & Blues as house band. The nights were a strictly costumed and raucous rockabilly affair which Timeout London called "one of the best nights out in town". The nights became an underground smash and sparked a flurry of new clubs in and around Shoreditch all trying to copy it's success. This new wave eventually led to London's street press declaring Shoreditch "London's home of cool".
Michael meanwhile had been practicing hard and when the opportunity came to record at London's, if not the worlds, finest analogue recording studio, Toerag in Dalston, Breakneck's first recording, The Morning Light, was made. The disc also included a DVD of the live recording sessions.
That debut would earn plaudits for its raw charisma and sonic mix if grit and clarity and would lead to distribution deals with Rough Trade and Spitz Records in the UK, as well as Black Market Music in Australia.
Perhaps inspired by this experience Michael then took his Rascal Features band off to Bath to record at arguably the worlds finest digital studio, Peter Gabriel's Real World. This recording session remains buried in the Breakneck Archives and will one day find its way out of the vaults to commercial release when the time is right.
Having been trained in the two best studios in the country, if not the world, Michael then began working with a number of handpicked bands from the Old Blue Last sessions to develop their sound. When he was selected to be part of the BBC's Electric Proms production team he invited them to record at the EMI studio at Camden's Roundhouse. The first of these bands "Riddler" would take this recording onto great success in Europe, and "Alex Haynes and the Fever" would go on to tour Russia and the US.
Now back in his native Australia Michael toured his debut CD/DVD and continued writing and putting on events across Melbourne. In 2011 Michael formed an Australian band with ARIA winners Jason McGann (ex John Butler Trio) and Ben Franz (Waifs, Stillsons) and also featured session hero Tony Forbes on banjo and guitars. This second recording, Long Road Home, was made in a country house in Colac Victoria and was mixed at Mark Opitz's OneMusic Studio.
Again working with some of the industry's best and brightest brought opportunities when on completing Long Road Home Michael was offered to continue recording in the OneMusic studio and get down everything he had.
What followed was a flurry of a further three records, albums three, four and five, all in five months at the end of 2012 including a solo acoustic record, a live recording on Queenscliff's Blues Train with blues legend Chris Wilson, and a second album with Michael's Australian band.
2013 see's Breakneck Records releasing these recordings in the UK and Australia and looking forward to once more developing other bands for commerical release.