by Dan Marois | photography by Jose Leiva
Michael Krapovicky has made a name for himself in the music scene in Maine. Krapovicky is a Maine-based full-time musician who is equally comfortable performing his original work and a wide range of cover tunes. He’s well known for his contemplative demeanor and soulful tunes sung with a folksy edge. Krapovicky is a founder of many open mike nights designed to showcase new talent and inspire up-and-coming musicians in their quest to perform.
“I’ve been running open mikes in Lewiston, Auburn, Freeport, and Topsham since 2009 or so, and in 2011 – thanks to Sarah Proulx and Bill Welch – I began one at Pedro O’Hara’s in Lewiston,” said Krapovicky. “They needed a Monday night event, and despite Bill’s initial reservations, they took a chance, and we were successful right out of the gate.”
Krapovicky attributes the popularity of the open mike format to affable bartenders and staff and a local crowd with an appreciation for live music.
“When COVID hit, Pedro’s unfortunately shut its doors, and I moved to another LA venue, which also closed after a bit less than two years,” states Krapovicky. “In June of 2023, we found a home at Fast Breaks – owned by Lela Richard – where I’d played in bands and solo over my entire career.”
Monday Night Open Mike at Fast Breaks has been going for a few months, and word is spreading that it is a fun, eclectic mix of talented performers every week. A unique feature of Monday Night Open Mike at Fast Breaks is that a rotating cast of professional drummers in the area provides the drum kit, maintaining a full backline for any permutation of players to perform. The open mike is equally suited for bands or soloists seeking professional work or a fun place to try out a new song.
Why Open Mikes?
Open mikes have significant benefits for performers, according to Krapovicky. Whether trying out original material in front of a crowd or simply meeting other performers, the open mike format offers opportunities to newcomers and professionals alike.
“Many people use open mike to meet like-minded folks and occasionally have formed professional groups,” said Krapovicky. “Artists can learn much from one another here.”
For the venue, an open mike attracts not only musicians, but music-loving patrons who can enjoy food and drinks while taking in the musical vibes. There’s also a bit of science in hosting such an event.
“An open mike host needs to provide good sound reinforcement, quickly move between acts, and provide equal time and treatment to each performer, whether they be a neophyte performer or a professional act,” states Krapovicky. “Real success comes from the audience returning to the venue and positive word-of-mouth comments.”
What Krapovicky finds particularly rewarding is providing a place for the young people of LA to perform for a discerning and encouraging audience. Some artists that have graced the open mike stage show longevity and growth within the industry, and Krapovicky remains grateful for their patronage.
“I’ve seen folks who played for the first time at open mikes build substantial careers that are constantly rising; Andrew Dostie and Anna Van Valkenburgh are two that come to mind,” relates Krapovicky. “Several bands performed their first set ever at open mike like Ish, The Spindles, and Goff Hill Rundown, and several working bands I’ve admired over the years have dropped by – A Mighty Lion, Dreadnaught, Zealous Bellus, Fire In the Hole, to name a few.”
Krapovicky has worked consistently on his musical career since graduating from the University of Maine in Presque Isle with a BFA in 1999.
“I’m really trying to find my voice and write different types of music while looking for an audience that feels positive about what I’m trying to say,” asserts Krapovicky. “I always try to be true to my influences while still creating a unique sound.”
Krapovicky has had his original music featured on radio and television programs, and he and his bands have shared the bill with Little Feat, Rustic Overtones, and many well-known groups. Krapovicky has been the bassist for The Grumps since 2004. Band members include Ryan Halliburton on guitar, Eric Bauer on drums, and Krapovicky on bass, all sharing alternating lead vocal duties. The band plays contemporary rock, performing a hybrid of covers and originals penned by Halliburton and Krapovicky.
Krapovicky is also the bassist for The Smith Collaboration since 2022, featuring Larissa Smith on keyboard and vocals, Chuck Smith on guitar, and Troy House on drums. The band also adds Pete Richard on baritone sax, Bruce Couillard on tenor and alto sax, and Michelle Boggs on trumpet in a Janis Joplin tribute act.
Krapovicky can also be seen solo throughout the state with his trusty Martin, Gibson, and Guild acoustic guitars.
Krapovicky is upbeat on the return of live music after the woes of the pandemic and the growth of a musical community in Maine – with artists helping and promoting each other.
“COVID made people realize they took live music for granted,” states Krapovicky. “Venues rediscovered the value of the performing arts, and both solo acts and bands are finding better and more lucrative avenues for performance.”
Krapovicky has released three albums of original material, now on Bandcamp, as well as many singles and demo material. He’s preparing to release the second half of his original work, Summer Thunder, a concept record about a transient person going on a cross-country journey – and their subsequent discoveries about life, nature, human relationships, and death.
“I want to develop characters that come alive during a song,” says Krapovicky. “Hopefully, people will be able to visualize the journey the characters within Summer Thunder undertake by listening to the piece all the way through.”
As to future goals, the multi-tasking musician said, “I just try to always improve from the previous week – employing a better attitude, better ability to focus and listen if I’m accompanying, and providing a better overall musical experience for patrons as well as performers.”
Krapovicky has some pointed advice for up-and-coming artists.
“I would encourage others to stay true to their vision,” states Krapovicky. “Focus on your strengths and how you can forge a path in music that is truly your own.”