Music Is 'a Spiritual Endeavor'
by Karen Cotton

Michael DeGreve has been entertaining the residents of Cheyenne and tourists that came through the Hitching Post Inn for 25 years after starting what was supposed to be a two week contract in 1977. At the time, DeGreve was living in Los Angeles and was between gigs. "I was in L.A. when my agent called and asked me 'what do you think about playing in Cheyenne?' DeGreve said. "I don't know, where is it?" is how I replied. Owner Paul Smith asked him to stay on. "I never signed another piece of paper," DeGreve said. "They're like family out there to me. The 25 years only happened because of the great people in Cheyenne. There are some who sit out there five and six days a week and have supported me."

DeGreve performs a solo act and occasionally invites other musicians to join in. During his solo act he can play up to 500 songs from the 1950's Elvis tunes to modern day music, such as Green Day. "The majority of the music I play is 60's and 70's music because they were songwriters and that was the most fertile era" DeGreve said.

The songwriters DeGreve enjoys playing most are Elton John, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. "They are amazing songwriters" he said. "I do enough country to get by, but I also do James Taylor and Cat Stevens." DeGreve finds it interesting that a lot of people in Cheyenne like to come and listen to the kind of music he plays, like the Beatles and Neil Young. His repertoire of songs began long before 1977. In 1966 DeGreve picked up his first guitar during his senior year of high school. "I was an All American basketball player and had scholarships, and during that time I was playing folk songs, and I meant to do it as a hobby," DeGreve said. "Then I was in an automobile accident and I couldn't play basketball anymore, and I couldn't be drafted out. I worked at the L.A. Times and did pop reviews and had passes to everywhere to see Hendrix, the Doors. I did that for two years. In June of 1968 I quit.

DeGreve then joined a Band called the Lid and recorded an album with them. In 1969, he recorded an album with Mickey Stevenson, the former vice president of Motown Records. "I did rock and roll with a Hollywood band called Homegrown for three years around the Los Angeles area",DeGreve said, " then I did a little television. My ex-wife co-starred in 'Ozzie and Harriet Nelson'. Then I played in rock and roll bands until the mid 1970s and I headed off and did my solo career and worked at a few places in the country and then that brings me to the two week contract." During the last quarter century, DeGreve has played at many local benefits such as Superday and Career Day. "I've opened shows for Neil, Dave Mason, and Asleep At The Wheel" DeGreve said. In July 1992, DeGreve took the summer off and toured with his music in Russia. His album "Gypsy's Lament" featured Graham Nash, Randy Meisner, a bass player from the Eagles, as well as many other musicians. "The Soviet Union broke up in 1991 and that album took off over there," DeGreve said. "I did a TV special and a film. I also played their version of Woodstock."

DeGreve also played at the Mishawaka for several years. "I love the people I work with, and the kids I used to sing 'Puff The Magic Dragon' to are now bringing their kids in", he said. "I love performing. It's a spiritual endeavor to me. If you are a performer, it's what you love to do," he said. "You love the interaction. The people traveling through sit there for ten minutes and they feel like they know everybody." Over the years, DeGreve went from having one guitar to collecting 33. "I get them for a third of the cost." DeGreve said. "They all sound different, especially in the studio situation. I never bought a new car. Whatever a person's passion is I guess is what they want to collect. With me, it's guitars. It's fun to rotate them because they all sound so different." DeGreve also has his own recording studio, Spirit Wind Records, which he has operated for five years on the outskirts of Cheyenne. He worked with Fatt Cat Freddie, Oak Soul (now called Positively 4th Street), and Kris Reitinger, to record their albums. "Now I'm working on mine," DeGreve said. "Hopefully I'll have one out in the fall, and it will be called 'Lady Luck'."

More About Michael DeGreve: