Musician: Mike Francis” (Pepe)
Home: Chatham-Kent Ontario (Grande Pointe)
Resides: Moved away to pursue carreer choice in the Toronto area.
Son of the late Ray Francis (Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills etc)
MIKE FRANCIS – Biography
Extraordinary Anonymous Guitarist
Mike Francis has been a professional musician since the age of 17. The first several years of his professional career was spent playing the regular club circuit before Mike discovered his ability to perform well under the pressure that is the recording studio. The past 22 years he has worked as a first call studio guitarist in the Toronto recording scene, as well as being a musician first an foremost, he is also a writer and producer.
He is mostly known for his commercial jingle or session work.
Versatility is key to a session musician and his session credits include most of the commercial jingles heard regularly on TV and radio. Mike’s clients include some of the busiest advertising agencies and jingle writer / producers working. Some of his more identifiable performances are heard commonly on O/V, Budweiser, McDonalds, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Harvey’s commercials. He’s also the guitar player on any Miller, Molson Ex, Labatt’s, 7-Up, Coors, Blacks Cameras, GM Trucks, Esso, Ford Trucks, Pontiac, Pizza Pizza, Chrysler, Toyota, Canadian Tire, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Swiss Chalet, The Bay, Canadian Pacific or Sears commercial you may have heard.
Also as a session player, Mike has performed on and / or written material for a number of television shows and movie soundtracks over the years. Some of the more visible projects he’s been involved with include Beverly Hills 90210, Street Legal, Due South, Beetlejuice, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and the Jim Henson Hour.
Canadian productions such as Traders, E.N.G, Legacy, Black Harbour, The City, Nothing too Good for a Cowboy, Scales of Justice, Rita & Friends, Corey Hart Special, Elvis Stoyko Special, Canadian Country Music Association Awards Show and the Juno Awards have also used Mike as the first call guitarist.
Album projects are all in a day’s work for a session veteran, and the list of recording artists and album projects Mike has been involved with is a testament to his skill and versatility as a guitarist. He has recorded with artists like Alanis Morissette, Shirley Eikhard, Liona Boyd, Dan Hill, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Enrique Iglesias, Kim Mitchell and George Massenberg. He’s also been on albums with Harem Scarem, World On Edge, Rita McNeil, the Rankin Family, Terry Kelly, Ron Hynes, and Roger Whittaker, Cassandra Vasick, Susan Aglukark, Natalie McMaster, Michelle Wright, John McDermott, Bruce Gruthro and Tim Thorney.
In addition to playing on sessions, he has also been active as a producer in the studio. The Mavericks, Jeff Healey, Dallas Harms, Dick Damron, Terry Carisse, Carroll Baker, Matt Minglewood, Joan Kennedy, Anita Perras, The Good Brothers, Joel Feeney, Don Neilson, Robert Armes and Ken Harnden.
Mike does get out of the studio on a regular basis, and over the years his involvement with live radio and live television broadcasts has meant that he has played with some of the best and brightest stars the industry. Versatility as a player is a key to his success as a session player, so he has been called to support a diverse group of artists on stage. His live performance credits include performing with Shania Twain, Terri Clark, Chet Atkins, Buddy Emmons, Jesse Winchester, and Ronnie Hawkins. He’s also performed with Ronnie Milsap, Liza Minelli, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, kd lang, Smokey Robinson, Paul Schaffer, David Clayton Thomas, Jeff Healey, Hiram Bullock, Chris DeBurgh, Hal Linden, Michael Burgess, Dr. Music, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Paul Brandt, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Pride, Dolly Parton, Roy Clarke, Jerry Reed and Charlie McCoy.
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