Spokane native Michael Winslow, ‘man of 10,000 sound effects,’ to perform in Sandpoint
“Hi, I’m Mike. I make noises.”
So reads the header on the biography page on actor/comedian/beatboxer Michael Winslow’s website.
Sure, it’s accurate. But, boy, is it an understatement. Winslow doesn’t just make noises. He makes all of the noises.
Winslow is often called “the man of 10,000 sound effects.”
As Winslow tells it, his time growing up on Fairchild Air Force Base was a catalyst for him developing his imitation talent.
“When you’re up in these places, there’s nothing there, so you pretty much make it up for yourself,” Winslow recently told the Sandpoint Reader’s Ben Olson. “You pretty much make up your own friends.”
He’d mute the movies and TV shows he was watching and create soundtracks of his own and listen closely to the soundtracks of shows like “The Outer Limits,” “Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek.”
Winslow parlayed this talent into a career as an actor. He’s most known for his work as Cadet Larvell Jones, a role he played in all seven “Police Academy” films, and as the radar technician in “Spaceballs.”
He’s also lent his voice to “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” and has appeared in the SyFy films “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!,” “Lavalantula” and “2 Lava 2 Lantula.”
He also incorporates his talent into his standup comedy, which brings him to the 219 Lounge in Sandpoint on Friday and Saturday.
Winslow told the Sandpoint Reader that audiences can expect to “forget about their rent for an hour” when watching his standup shows and that he doesn’t mention politics onstage.
“I’m a performing artist, and I’m not comfortable with alienating 50 percent of my audience,” he said. “Why would I want to offend the very people who need help, or a release (from comedy)?”
Winslow’s talent also put him at the forefront of the beatboxing scene, and he’s often credited as an innovator of the artform. He does a lot of soundtrack work and also performs incredible renditions of tunes like “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin and “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix.
Winslow has recently worked on projects with Run the Jewels, Jon Anderson of Yes and Grammy award-winning bassist Victor Wooten and told the Reader he plans on releasing three EPs in the near future – one featuring hip-hop, R&B and beatboxing, another featuring EDM and the third featuring death metal.
“I’ve figured out how to make death metal music,” he said. “The lead singer always sounds like he’s throwing up in a bucket.”
When asked to reflect on his career trajectory, Winslow can’t quite believe he managed to turn a childhood habit into a full-fledged career, but he’s grateful for the experiences it’s brought.
“It’s been quite an adventure,” he said. “I feel very, very fortunate. I just don’t know what to think of it half the time. I’m very grateful I’ve had these opportunities.”