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For a period of several busy years, Canadian artist Danny Michel divided his time between a solo recording career and playing bass for an Ottawa-based group named Starling. As a solo performer, he released a handful of albums. His 1997 debut CD, Before the World Was Round, was a critical and popular success. Canada's Radio Sonic, broadcast by the CBC, ranked it among that year's Top Ten releases. Michel reaped similar success with his second effort, Clear. Subsequent tours broadened his fan base. One took him to Whitehorse in the Yukon, where he toured with Paul MacLeod. Another sent him to Europe with Gwen Swick, a folk-rock artist.
Michel became a member of Starling in 1999. He soon switched from his position as the band's bassist to its lead guitarist and, not long after, the group inked a contract with Time Bomb Recordings, a California label. Despite the increased demands on his time, Michel forged ahead with another solo album, Fibsville, which was issued toward the end of 1999. Critics again welcomed his music, often zeroing in on his flair for lyrics. Not long after, Time Bomb issued Starling's first album, Sustainer. Michel dropped out of Starling in 2000.
Michel was bitten by the music bug early in life. He pulled together his first group as a young teenager and called it the Mud. Besides Michel, the band had only one other member, a drummer named Gordon, who was Michel's cousin. By high school, he established another band, Bunch of Wimps, and performed mostly at school events. It consisted of Michel on vocals and guitar, drummer Colin Bricker, and Paddy Flynn on vocals and bass. Later, playing David Bowie covers and some of his own material, Michel opened a show for D.O.A., a punk group.
In 1988, Michel became a member of the Rhinos. The group included Rob Carli, Darren Iles, Mike Blanchard, Syd Hovinga, and Steve Kendall. Through Kinetic Records, the band would eventually put out a trio of albums. 13 tours later, Michel went solo in 1995, often opening for acts that included Colin James and Jonathan Richman. During this period he also spent some time with R.E.M., a cover band whose initials stood for Regurgitated Eighties Music. He formed a duo in Ontario with Paul MacLeod and also established Danny Michel & the Collectables with Hovinga, Gord Stevenson, and Rui Bettencourt.