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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with Corners of Sanctuary Guitarist Mick Michaels By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Interview with Corners of Sanctuary Guitarist Mick Michaels By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Never Die

Interview with Corners of Sanctuary Guitarist Mick Michaels

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio

“Corners Of Sanctuary have been around since the beginning of the decade, setting themselves as part of the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal, constantly flying the flag of the ever burning fire of the old school persuasion. Throughout their career, Corners Of Sanctuary developed themselves as a hard working crew, not merely at the studio but also on the road. The band traveled throughout the US, far and wide, performing at legendary venues such as Whisky A Go-Go, Rainbow, Trocadero Theater and The Met among some of the best in North America. Europe also had its fill from the eagerness and dedication of Corners Of Sanctuary, as the band came across touring Western Europe and the UK. COS had the honors to share stages with some of the leading artists of Traditional Heavy Metal and Hard Rock as UDO (ex-Accept), Stryper, Bulletboys, Saxon, Grim Reaper, Butcher Babies, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Anvil, Girlschool and their role is yet to be done.  They are approaching the next decade of the 00s with conviction, inner strength to continue their legacy and head on creating Metal in its classic form, yet with a little blink towards the current state of affairs in their music scene. Some heads are gonna roll for sure.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Mick Michaels for this exclusive interview.” --Quoted from RFL RECORDS Press Release

The group has released many singles, EPs and LPs in a variety of formats; please tell us about the signing with RFL Records?

Mick Michaels: Thanks so much for speaking with me about Corners of Sanctuary. It is greatly appreciated. We are very excited to be working with RFL Records for the release of our new album Heroes Never Die (Releasing October 30, 2020). We officially signed with RFL Records this past summer in early July after speaking with them for a month or so. Because of the pandemic and its ripple effects, the band found itself in a position where we had a new album completed and ready to go but our record company at the time was unable to release it due to the crushing economic strains many parts of the world have been experiencing. Our goal was to get this album released in 2020 come hell or high water…even if that meant doing it independently. A mutual associate made the connection with RFL and the label reached out to us…understanding our situation along with a desire to work together, we made the deal and could not be happier.  RFL’s support has been overwhelming to say the least.

Do most members of the group work remotely or are you able to get together in Philadelphia?  (Please discuss the band dynamic, locations etc.)

Three of us are in the Philadelphia area, so working together as a musical unit is completely doable, even during these times. Having that ability is definitely a plus for us and essential to the group’s core writing and development. Our singer is from Chicago. So needless to say, working with him during the pandemic has been nothing but remote…but we have been pretty successful with it. The thing is, you do what needs to be done regardless of the factors or obstacles that are in front of you.  That’s how we look at it. My uncle always said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The dynamic of the band has always been one that has centered around the music first and foremost…without the music we have nothing. Having a unified focus on that intent has always provided us a working environment that, at the core, is productive. Because of this, we have been very fortunate to have been able to consistently write new material.


How does the new recording Heroes Never Die differ from "For COS and Country?

When we do EPs, we always add some additional experimentation to the process…meaning we try different arrangements or different writing styles. EPs have always given us the freedom to break things up.  When we write and record full length albums, we always build the songs, arrangements and lyrical content around a particular theme.  That theme could be a musical one that is present in a number or all of the songs, or a particular arrangement style that is shared throughout the track listing, or a lyrical one where the content creates a bigger picture. For us, this approach gives us diversity and helps keep things cohesive and coherent. In our opinion, albums should be that way…they are a listening experience, much like a movie is…a well-done movie keeps the audiences’ attention through every scene, every twist and turn and has them coming back. Albums should do the same.

What are your go to "axes" for recording? Live? And songwriting?

For recording I use a BC Rich Mockingbird.  I have used BC Rich guitars for recording since 1988. For writing I use whatever I pick up…in recent years, I have done a lot of writing with an acoustic guitar.  For live sessions and touring I have several ESP LTD guitars I use as well as a BC Rich Retro Gunslinger.  All my live guitars are lightweight but do exactly what I want them to do.  I’m a plug and play player…don’t need all the bells and whistles…it’s about the music not about the equipment for me.

Who were some of your guitar and musical heroes growing up in the Philadelphia area?

My older brother played guitar.  So early on he was my initial role model for playing. Locally, the one player who stood out for me back in the 80s was a guy named Sledge Hammer…he played with the Philly band World War III…loved his raw playing style as well as his ability to pinch harmonics out of any string on the guitar. K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton from Judas Priest also had great influence on my playing style, especially rhythms. Ace Frehley was another guitarist who inspired a lot of my playing…that simple sophistication he poses definitely had an impact. There are several others like Jake E Lee, John Sykes and Criss Oliva to name a few.


Have you caught any cool music documentaries or biopics on Netflix as of late?

I watched the Adam Lambert and Queen story which was really inspiring. The ZZ Top documentary was also really cool. There is a great documentary on Tom Petty as well…love Tom Petty…he was the modern day storyteller. Also caught some shows on Van Halen, Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin among countless action movies to help pass the time.


Are you a self-taught player or have you worked with teachers beyond instruction video methods?

Primarily I am self-taught given your definition…and to be honest, you can tell…LOL. My goal early on was to write songs, playing guitar was always just a way for me to be able to write songs, so guitar seemed secondary for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy playing guitar but I was never one to practice scales and do exercises.  Looking back, I probably should have disciplined myself better to do so…but I just wanted to be in a band and write songs…and that’s what I did. Overall, I am very content with what I do but I am sure things could have been different if I took more time to become a technical player…it is what it is…haha!


Once the world returns to "normal" can we expect any live and or festival dates?

Absolutely!  We hope to schedule a tour in the UK.  We were in the UK when the pandemic took full swing in the States and the travel ban was put in place.  We were forced to cancel the tour after only two shows, unfortunately.  But we plan to go back and finish what we started. We will just have to wait and see how everything pans out.  The decision is not ours at the moment. But once the restrictions are lifted we intend to get back to business.



Stacey Lee - Vocals

Mad T - Drums

James Pera - Bass & Backing Vocals

Mick Michaels - Guitars & Keyboards









RFL Records Links:







Boston Rock Radio Music Journalist Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at

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