|Born on: 06.03.1968
Michael James Romeo (born March 6, 1968) is the guitarist and a founding member of the progressive power metal group Symphony X.
Michael began playing guitar at age 14 and takes his influences from a wide of range sources including Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Al Di Meola, J.S. Bach, John Williams and Frank Zappa, although he draws most heavily from a neo-classical style reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen. Despite this, Michael manages to maintain an identifiable signature that sets him apart from other players in this genre by fusing exotic scales and arpeggios (such as the half-diminished, whole tone and Egyptian scale), non-standard rhythms, time signatures and a raw neo-classical edge. An element of jazz is also present in his music.
Although Michael has received coverage in many guitar magazines around the world, he is best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive power metal band Symphony X which he founded in 1994 after a request by a Japanese record label who were impressed by Michael's demo tape, The Dark Chapter.
An incredibly technical player, Michael is most famous for lightning-fast sweep picking and tapping though he also uses alternate picking technique, despite the fact that his style relies more on a softer legato attack and his trademark sweep-tapping licks. Michael is regarded as not only an exceptional soloist but also for his complex rhythm guitar parts that make heavy use of artificial harmonics for impact. These playing effects are greatly demonstrated on his demonstrational guitar video, called, The Guitar Chapter, viewed here.
Michael usually uses a custom ESP guitar (based on the MII-Deluxe) and Line6 amplification for live performances and Mesa Boogie amplification for studio recording, although he recently played Caparison guitars on the recent Gigantour tour.
Michael also loves Star Wars as shown by his performance of the Star Wars Suite on the Symphony X Rarities and Demos fanclub CD. He has also stated that his favorite Star Wars character is Darth Vader.