Chicago-based ambidextrous heavy metal guitar virtuoso Michael Angelo Batio is known for his lightning-fast guitar techniques, as well as his inventions, such as the double guitar, which he prominently uses in his recordings and performances. Batio is also well known as a guitar instructor, and has released several instructional videos demonstrating his techniques. Batio began playing guitar as a child, and quickly developed an unusually fast guitar picking technique. After graduating from Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in music theory and composition, he became a session guitarist, recording music for several restaurant chains, airlines, and sports teams. His recording career began when he joined ex-Steppenwolf singer Tommy Holland's heavy metal band Holland in 1984. Atlantic Records released the band's sole album, Little Monsters, in 1985, and the band broke up soon after. Batio started his own group, the Michael Angelo Band, which did not release any material. Batio released his first instructional video in 1987, as part of Star Licks Productions' Master Series.
Along with singer Jim Gillette, bassist T.J. Racer, and drummer Bobby Rock, Batio formed another band, glam metal group Nitro, in 1987. The group's first album, O.F.R., was released on Rampage Records in 1989, and the video for single "Freight Train" featured Batio playing a quad guitar, which he also invented. A second lineup of Nitro, with Gillette and Batio accompanied by Johnny Thunder and Ralph Carter, released H.W.D.W.S. (Hot, Wet, Drippin' with Sweat) in 1992 before the group disbanded. Batio started a label, M.A.C.E. Music, in 1993, and began his solo career in 1995 with the release of instrumental full-length No Boundaries. Planet Gemini followed in 1997, and third album Tradition was included with his second instructional video, Jam with Angelo, in 1999. Fourth album Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity, co-credited to drummer Rob Ross, followed in 2000.
Batio launched his Speed Kills instructional DVD series in 2003, and released compilation album Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity, Pt. 2 in 2004. Studio album Hands Without Shadows arrived in 2005, featuring covers of Deep Purple, Metallica, and Aerosmith, tributes to Randy Rhoads and Led Zeppelin, and guest appearances by members of Creed and Whitesnake. A Hands Without Shadows DVD series was launched in 2006, and Speed Kills 2 was released the same year. The 2007 album 2 X Again featured remixed versions of material from his first two solo albums, and three more DVDs were released during the same year. The vocal-driven album Hands Without Shadows, Vol. 2: Voices arrived in 2009, featuring tributes to Eric Clapton, Dimebag Darrell, Van Halen, and others. The instrumental album Intermezzo followed in 2013, and the career-spanning compilation Shred Force 1 (The Essential MAB) appeared on Rat Pak Records in 2015. ~ Paul Simpson