Mike Estes-Lead guitar, Lead vocals Mike’s band, Helen Highwater (named by Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins) had played just about every club and had opened for almost every national Southern rock and Outlaw country band throughout the Southeast and Midwest for ten years. While in high school, Mike became friends with the guys in the Rossington Collins Band (founded by Skynyrd plane crash survivors) who had decided to do the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour in 1987, bringing Helen Highwater on to open some shows for them. In 1992 Mike began going on the road with Skynyrd to write songs for an upcoming album, and signed a publishing deal with Skynyrd guitarist Ed King’s company I Can’t Read Music. He had been writing for six months when he was asked to join the band as guitarist. Mike spent the next three years touring, writing and recording with his favorite band, appearing on the ’94 Capricorn release “Endangered Species” 1995’s live recording, “Southern Knights” and the “100 Minutes with Lynyrd Skynyrd” video. After moving to Tennessee in 1995, Mike co wrote a song with Johnny VanZant and Gary Rossington for Sony Music’s “Hotter Than Asphalt” CD called “White Knuckle Ride” that broke the Billboard charts.
In 2006 the song was used in a CMT original movie called “True Grit: The Junior Johnson Story” as well as in the video game released in conjunction with the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars” also released in 2006. Since leaving Skynyrd, Mike has released two CD’s; Drivin’ Sideways and Brave New South, logged over 200 European dates, and has appeared on many major European TV and radio music shows. Mike has written for and produced songs for artists in the States as well as Europe. In the States, Mike has appeared on HBO, CMT, CNN, MTV, VH-1 and others. He has been profiled in “Guitar Player”, “Guitar”, “Acoustic Musician”, and other major music magazines, and was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame in 1995. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Kurt Pietro-Drums Kurt started playing sixteen years ago at his parent’s house, playing along with records that featured his favorite drummers, including Jakson Spires of Blackfoot, Tommy Aldridge, and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. Kurt had spent six years in the proverbial woodshed when a friend of his neighbors overheard him practicing and asked him if he would like to join a band. Kurt accepted, and spent a few years playing clubs and casinos with the band Crystal, as well as doing studio work around the Marquette, Michigan area. Kurt attended Northern Michigan University w he majored in broadcasting and music. This led Kurt to a gig working in Omni Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, w he met Mike Estes. Mike was in need of someone to overdub a drum part. Kurt mentioned that he played drums. He knocked out the part and is now smashing the skins for Skinny Molly.
Chris Walker was born and raised and resides in England. He had his first contact with a guitar that belonged to his dad, who was also a guitarist. Chris was classically trained on violin as young’un, so this was a natural inclination. "Played well, classical music can reduce a man to tears, but it can't rearrange internal organs like a cranked up electric guitar” is the Walker mantra. He prefers being untrained on guitar to being fully trained on the violin, and was influenced by blues and southern rockers Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Ed King. He has been playing for twenty five years and has been in bands that opened for Saxon, Blur, Mothers Finest, Richard Chapman, Carlos Santana, and dare we say it, Skinny Molly! Chris also builds and modifies his own guitar amplifiers.
Bassist Luke Bradshaw was born in Peoria, Illinois and raised in northern Arkansas. He had a love for music at an early age, but it wasn’t until he turned 15 that he found his love for the bass. Luke was primarily influenced by Leon Wilkeson of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allen Woody of Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers, but has spent a lot of career playing with cou...