In February 2020, we lost the physical presence of Michael Duclos. I met Mike at the University of Miami School of Music in 1980 – we became fast friends and stayed that way for 40 years. Actually, we’re still friends – I can feel his company every day, and I can hear him (delightfully and deservedly) “takin’ the mickey” out of me for my work in journalism and on the bandstand/studio, bass in hand (mine, not his)!
The more Mike loved you, the more he busted you! Of all the jibes he hurled though, he was most the most hysterically self-effacing individual I’ve ever encountered. I guess he really, really loved himself too!
In addition to his artistic life as a bassist, photographer, composer, recording artist, band member, sideman, collaborator, poet, writer, journalist, and whatever else I’m unaware of, Mike gave us the everlasting gift of laughter. It was an honor and a pleasure to have been with him on this mortal coil – and to be a frequent subject of his comedy routines!
When friends, colleagues and family bid Michael farewell in his adopted home in Brooklyn, New York, we all came to the realization of how much we did not know about the man. His humility defined him. He never spoke about himself.
Take it from this bass player, Mike was a master of his instrument. The best ones never have to utter a syllable – their work speaks volumes.
In 2015 I sat with Mike for a Know Your Bass Player on Film interview. For reasons I disagree with then and now – he did not care for his physical appearance as he was undergoing treatments, and he was unsatisfied with his answers to my queries. We did not publish the interview as per his request during Mike’s lifetime. However due to requests from Gus, family, and friends – the interview is here for you to see. I will explain it to Mike when I see meet him again in the afterlife…..
Mike made two promises to me in early 2019 – to stay alive to attend a Mott The Hoople reunion concert at the Beacon Theater (mission accomplished), and to finally reshoot the interview. Over the years we tried, but Mike was either on a trip with Gus, on tour, or too ill – so we never got to roll cameras again. Damn!
As such, Mike Duclos didn’t tell his story. But we will!
Send me your Mike Duclos stories, photos, videos, sound-files – whatever – with as many details as you can.
And if you have any information on the photos posted please help us out and fill in the missing facts!
Note that this archival page is a perpetual work-in-progress (it’s like making a record or writing a book – you’re never finished, you just run out of time and money!). This Mike page will not follow any thematic, chronological, or logical symmetry either! Does this remind you of someone?
Back at ya’ Mike!!!
The Del-Lords play “Me & The Lord Blues” at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn for the Mark Spencer Benefit Dec 11, 2012. From the new record Elvis Club. Eric Ambel: Vocal & Guitar Scott Kempner: Guitar Michael DuClos: Bass Frank Funaro: Drums. Written by Scott Kempner-Prince of the Bronx Music https://youtu.be/ZMkKT7XCB6U
By Kevin Salem
The DuClos chronicles… every once in a while, you meet someone who gives you a charge right in the middle of your life force. Over the years, I spent so much time with this beautiful soul. If Charles Bukowski and Carol Kaye had met in a bar, Duke would have been their love child. I don’t have a lot of pics to post… the document of our friendship is in the dozens of recordings we made. Believe it when I tell you being produced is more of an art than producing. The bass player is the driver… No one I know was better at that and filling a room with low end. A riot of a human, if there’s a heaven where the dead mingle, Duke is tormenting, ribbing and needling Jaco and Rickles who, by now, must wish they were in hell.
This man was an amazing father and a strong brother. Celebrate his life through the incredible body of work he gifted us with. More to come…
Tracy Bonham performs “Crazy In Love” with Mike DuClos at Our Hit Parade Best of the Decade Show at Joe’s Pub on December 16, 2009 https://youtu.be/k8TEL1Apjfg
By Thomas Semioli
Know Your Bass Player Deep Trax: Mike Duclos workin’ the pocket on this remake – remodel of “Lucretia MacEvil” https://youtu.be/ev_fD3Qvl-A as waxed on a David Clayton-Thomas solo slab. Duc’s tone and rhythm and blues approach evokes comparison to Jim Fielder (whom Mike greatly admired) on the original from BS&T 3. Dig the way Mike’s passage dances around the backbeat.
Duke!! I’m so grateful that you were in my life! Your musicianship and dedication to music is second to none, but it’s your friendship that I will always treasure! the playing, the talks, the laughs, the travelling, the ups, the downs…memories and stories to last a lifetime that I wouldn’t trade for anything! Love you, brother! Until we “hang” again! The Rock! In the mid 80’s Duke came to my apartment and said, “C’mon, Nick’s doing the Big Band at St Rose…let’s go see if we can get in” (BTW, neither of us ever went to St. Rose). Here’s a couple of shots of us at an ensemble workshop with jazz great, Nick Brignola!
By Thomas Semioli
KNOW YOUR BASS PLAYER: A DUCLOS STORY: Given his extraordinary accomplishments as working bass player on stage and in the studio, Mike was a modest cat – never drawing attention to himself – always in the service of others. A few years back he asked me if I could help promote a Tracy Bonham album he played on – so I knocked out a quick piece for HUFFINGTON POST https://bit.ly/38qmAtw
Of course, I had to afford my pal a paragraph. Mike declined to give me a photo of him and Tracy to use in the article – yes, he was that humble! But we got the job done!
“An additional catalyst on the session dates was her longtime bassist Mike DuClos. “He tries out a whole bunch of ideas like a Paul McCartney free-for-all – and then he starts refining his parts — he’ll look at me on the first day and say “don’t worry — don’t worry…” He’ll see my eyebrows go up when I think ‘God he’s overplaying!’ Then he just trims the fat and I’m left with the most tasteful bass lines I’ve ever heard.”
By Rob Arthur
I was fortunate enough to have known this man. Duclos. We say goodbye to him now, and I’m shaken by his passing. But I’m going to take this moment to gratuitously elevate myself by my association with this incredible artist. He and I spent about a year (2002), when we could get together, producing what was certainly the most un-commercial record I’ve ever done. “Lustro” A collection of his poems read by some of the most interesting people ever, with musical and noise filled backing track. You’d call it a “spoken word” record. He was such a fine musician, bass player and poet, who embraced his New York world with a truly fearless, unblinking and honest approach that has never left me. He kind of helped me realize that there is no “too far” if you really mean it. This experience expanded my mind. “Lustro” does have a “difficult to listen to” quality, for sure, but as we were finishing it, I began to see it’s beauty. I love this review…
– Described as everything from “Brilliant” (Lisa Germano) and “Excellent, very good… very interesting” (poet Charles Simic) to “Bizarre” (author William Kennedy) and “It scares me!” (Natalie Merchant), Lustro looks to be released in the coming months.
I’m so fucking proud of this work. Duclos and I laughed together – he was such a funny bastard. I think about his bits right now, and I can hear his comedic tempo with his spot on impressions of our Brooklyn and I cry laughing. We didn’t talk often after I left the city, but Duke and I spoke a few years ago and I laughed my ass off one last time. Loved him. And I’ll miss him…the real deal. Thank you, brother.
By John Conte
There is a giant hole in my heart today with the passing of Mike Duclos. I miss Duke so much already. I am nearly broken with sadness & tears. he was my dearest friend – going back 35 years. there is too much to say about mike and what he meant to me to muster up at the moment. for now I say I loved him, I admired him, he inspired me & taught me. I was in awe of his strength, bravery, tenacity & resilience through his long battle in which he defied all the odds. my heart & love goes out to all of his family for this giant loss & especially to his son Gus who he loved deeply & fiercely. Mike was an AMAZING father, human, musician & artist. he was my buddy, my brother, my hero, and yes- probably the funniest person I have ever known on this planet! The world is less without him. Love you forever Michael Duclos.
By Tony Senatore
I just learned of the passing of my old friend Mike Duclos. He was a great bass player, and one of the funniest people that i ever met. Rest In Peace. I’m certain that right now, you’re probably asking Jaco about the settings he used on his Acoustic 360.