Published on January 20, 2011 by Carol
Micki Free is a Grammy-winning Native American guitarist and singer, and a two-time Native American Music Award winner. He is also the director of Promotions & Special Events for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International.
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Free, a Comanche and Cherokee mixed blood Native American, was discovered by Gene Simmons of KISS. He joined Shalamar in 1984, just in time for some of that band’s big successes, most notably a #17 position in U.S. Top 20 in 1984 with “Dancing In The Sheets” from the Footloose soundtrack, and a Grammy for “Don’t Get Stopped In Beverly Hills” from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack in 1985. With Shalamar, he was nominated for a Grammy three times.
After Shalamar, Free and Jean Beauvoir (of The Plasmatics) founded AOR band Crown of Thorns. He later founded (and still tours with) “The Micki Free Electric Blues Experience,” with Jon Brant (formerly of Cheap Trick) on bass, and Curly Smith (formerly of Boston) on drums. Recognition for his musical career after Shalamar came from the Native American Music Awards, where he won Male Artist in 2002 and Pop Rock artist in 2004.
In 2002, he was cast to play Tonto in a new production of The Lone Ranger. Most recently, his manner of dress and appearance during the late 1980s was parodied in the Chappelle’s Show sketch Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Prince. He is scheduled to appear as part of an all-star cast of Native American musicians at the American Indian Inaugural Ball in Arlington, Virginia, on the occasion of president Barack Obama’s inauguration. The event, “Native Music Rocks,” is sponsored by Hard Rock International and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Micki Free once married Teri Copley, an actress and Playboy pinup girl. They have a daughter named Anastasia.