Born Michael Lane on December 27, 1959 in Champaign, Illinois, Mico got his first musical instrument at age eight. The Lane family has a rich musical history and tradition, so it was only natural that Mico’s father, legendary drummer Eddie Lane, asked his sons at Christmastime what instruments they wanted to play. Mico said guitar, but ended up switching with one of his brothers and starting playing the keyboards.
His grandfather, Johnny Green played saxophone, and had a band that included Mico’s father on drums and his uncle Bobby Lane on guitar. They played all around the Champaign area at places such as the Smilin’ Eyes Club, the Elks Lodge, the Penthouse Lounge, and at nearby Chanute Air Force Base; the band’s name was The Gay Poppers. As early as age 2, Mico would sit at the edge of the stage watching his grandfather’s band perform.
Mico picked up the keyboards, his brother Ricky started playing drums and his other brother Chris began playing guitar. They taught themselves how to play at a young age, but one can only teach themselves so much. As they got older, Mico’s teenage brother Chris took formal training and learned theory, then went back a taught Mico and Ricky.
When Mico and his brothers were young they practiced at home, but... Read More
... began to branch out once Mico turned 13. He recalls, “I can remember taking my keyboard in a wagon to Robeson Elementary School and we played in the assemblies. We could only sing and play one song, ‘Tighten Up’ by Archie Bell & the Drells. Everybody thought we were so cute, but my father told us that our cuteness would wear off one day and we better learn how to play.”
With that piece of advice, the Lane brothers got serious about their music and the Lane Brothers Ensemble was born, performing for local junior high school dances, in local parks, on a local television show, and even a couple of out-of-town dances in Peoria and Danville, Illinois.
They then added a few more people to the group and changed the name to Instant Kool and Gemini. Mico was the youngest member of the group, and it was at about that this time that he started getting the itch to sing; which began a long period of frustration for Mico personally.
Later in 1977, the band took a year off from performing, as people got tired of seeing them – admits Mico. They practiced every day that year, only appearing three times to perform. Being too young to call the shots in that band, and feeling that it was time for something new, Mico quit the band and put together one of his own. The band was called Ear Shot, but it only lasted one year; so at age 16, Mico started playing with his Father’s band. The band was called Phase Two, and toured throughout Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois.
He stayed with his father’s group for three years before joining a new group called Live Wire. By then, Mico dropped out of Centennial High School in eleventh grade, as music and creativity was everything to him. He stayed with Live Wire for a year until he got his first break. He auditioned as a keyboardist for the Chi-Lites (singing group in Chicago), and was hired. Not being mentally ready for Chicago after having grown up in his small hometown of Champaign, he returned back home after just two days.
Mico then went back to his father’s band, which had grown in stature. By this time, they were opening for acts like Sister Sledge and playing in bigger clubs throughout the Midwest. Ultimately he and his father did not get along in the band, so he quit; that is when he decided that it was his turn. He called his uncle Bobby, who owned a recording studio in Rock Island, Illinois by that time, and told his uncle that he was starting his own band. (His uncle Bobby is who told him to himself “Mico Wave”) In this new band, Mico was the lead and only singer; it was his truck, his public address system, and his band. People continually told him that he couldn’t make it, but he kept practicing, writing and playing.
Tired of hearing the criticism, Mico went to work for a community action agency in Peoria as the Project Head Start Teaching Assistant in the area of music, and also worked in the agency’s video department. While working there in 1984, he met his former agent, Bill Waller. Mico never stopped practicing and going to the studio, and Bill went to watch one of his rehearsals. He then told Mico that he liked what he did musically, and thought that he could help him. Since Mico had been through that so many times with people who said they could help him, he took Bill’s words with a grain of salt.
Bill ultimately connected Mico with one of his other clients that he represented at the time, Bootsy Collins, who heard and saw Mico perform at the agency in Peoria. A few months later, Mico signed with Bootzilla Productions as a songwriter for Bootsy and any artists whom he worked with at that time. In late-’84, Mico moved to Bootsy’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to work more closely with him. With Bootsy as his mentor then, Mico’s confidence