Rhythm & Detonation


Mike and Philo

Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and me in Dublin, Ireland.

I build pedals for effecting musical instruments. This blog chronicles my exploits.

My name is Michael McAloon, and I live in Houston, Texas. I'm a professional musician, the drummer in Blaggards. I studied jazz performance at the University of North Texas and have been playing music for 17 years, mostly drums, guitar, keyboards, and samplers.

I learned electronics mainly from my father, who was an electrical engineer in the Royal Navy for 15 years. He learned this field back when they actually taught how things worked and not just how to fix them. He learned to fix everything on the ship, from radios and generators to sonar and radar. After leaving the service, he went on to do ship navigation for offshore geophysics research vessels, which is how I ended up in Houston.

The second influence was my grandfather, Robert Robertson, one of those great old Scottish men who could fix anything and play any instrument. He worked for Sylvania making tubes and then worked for Eastman Kodak for half his life fixing everything. My grandfather helped me build my first radio when I was 7 years old. He gave me my first keyboard as well. I only wish he were still around to help me when I have a question that only he could answer.

Building a circuit that works is only part of what I do; making it look cool is nearly as important. When I'm seeking advice about painting, or decals, the first person I turn to is my mom. She’s incredibly crafty, having made everything from bookshelves to bed frames when I was a kid. When I came to her with my pedals, she knew exactly how to do waterslide transfers, and she's the reason I'm able to make them look the way they do. She’s also superbly organized and helps me get my parts in order.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from them, it’s that you can accomplish anything and learn anything if you apply your mind to it. I want to encourage everybody not to be afraid to pick up a hot iron, a drill, or a paint brush, and make something yourself.

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Editor: Eric Hannan
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