Miljenko Matijevic

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Miljenko Mili Matijevic
Miljenko Matijevic - picture by Simone van den Boom.jpg
Mili singing with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger (The Doors) at the Bospop festival 2010, Weert, The Netherlands
Background information
Born (1964-11-30) 30 November 1964 (age 49)
Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1985–present
Labels MCA Records
MCM/Steelheart Records LLC
Associated acts Steelheart, Steel Dragon, Manzarek-Krieger
Website http://www.steelheart.com

Miljenko Matijevic (Croatian: Miljenko Matijević) (pronounced [mǐʎɛnkɔ matǐːjɛʋitɕ]), also known as Michael Matijevic or Mili Matijevic (born 30 November 1964) is a Croatian American rock singer, best known as the frontman of the hair metal band Steelheart.

Biography & Career[edit]

Matijevic was born in Zagreb, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia in 1964. He lived there with his brother and grandparents until 1970 when the family relocated to Scarsdale, New York. When Matijevic was seven, the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut. Michael's brother, John, learned to play the guitar and Michael would often sing along, particularly country music, as that is what their father enjoyed.

When Michael was 9 he joined the local church choir. However, the biggest change was when Michael was 11 and discovered Led Zeppelin. Although Michael and John both loved this sort of music, their father disapproved, despite this they formed a band called "Teazer", which played Zeppelin, Sabbath and original songs. After a producer, Morgan Walker, discovered them and took them to New York City, the band started to fall apart.

After being seen playing at a local club in the band "The Mission", Don Stroh, owner of Showcase Studios, called Matijevic saying he should come in and rehearse with a band in his studio, this is where Matijevic first met Chris Risola and James Ward, along with Jack Wilkinson, Red Alert was formed.

Jack Wilkinson was eventually replaced by John Fowler. Fowler and Frank DiConstanzo (formerly of Rage of Angels) were added as a drummer and rhythm guitarist, respectively. Michael soon devoted all attention to the band, and not his college work. He, John and James left to Los Angeles in the hope of getting a record deal, despite having no contacts. However, within a month, the band had a record deal.

The first album Steelheart sold over a million copies with a successful world tour, the follow-up, Tangled in Reins had a successful European and Asia tour.

Stage accident and dissolution of Steelheart[edit]

At the end of U.S. tour in support of Great White, Steelheart was invited to open an additional show for the band Slaughter. On Halloween night of 1992, at the McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado, Steelheart was performing "Dancing in the Fire" from the "Tangled in Reins" album when Matijevic was involved in a serious accident. Matijevic decided to climb a lighting truss which was improperly secured. He failed to climb the rig and also failed to dodge the 1000 pound piece of equipment, which hit him in the back of the head, driving him face first into the stage. The outcome of the accident was a broken nose, cheekbone, jaw, twisted spine and severe memory loss. Matijevic walked off the stage and was immediately taken to the hospital. The incident marked the end of Steelheart.[1]

Wait Period[edit]

Years after the accident in Denver, Steelheart was reformed with none of the original members except for Matijevic. Kenny Andrews, Alex Makarovichon, and Vincent Mele Jr. joined Matijevic to record Wait, an album very different from Steelheart's first two. Its name comes from the long time Matijevic spent gaining freedom from the record company and manager whom he felt were taking more than what belonged to them. The band went on tour in Asian countries, where the album gained its most success. The title track, "Wait" reached #1 in many Asian countries, and the 28 shows were a big success. Also the song "We All Die Young " was originally written and recorded for the "WAIT" album, later to be re-recorded for the movie "ROCK STAR". The album was never released in North America or Europe.[1]

Returning Home & Name Change[edit]

Matijevic returned home from the Asian tour to see his mother pass away after a long struggle with leukemia; she was 56 years old. A year later, Frankie, a very close friend, also died from leukemia.[1] This is when he reverted to his original name of Miljenko Matijevic.

When Matijevic entered the American music market, it was deemed better that he use an Anglicized version of his given name, hence the stage name Michael. However after the death of his mother, Matijevic decided to use his original name, Miljenko. It is hardly American and perhaps more difficult to pronounce, so fans often refer to him as Mili instead to get around this.

The Rock Star Project[edit]

After Frankie's death, Matijevic received a phone call from his friend and Tangled in Reins producer, Tom Werman. Werman asked Matijevic if he'd be interested in doing the vocals of the motion picture, Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlberg, directed by Stephen Herek. Matijevic got the job as the singing voice for Mark wahlberg in the movie. The Rock Star soundtrack also contained an alternative version of We All Die Young, originally from the Wait album.[1] Matijevic recorded 8 songs for the film, 3 appeared on the sound track.

Other[edit]

Matijevic auditioned for the lead singing slot for Velvet Revolver. Other auditionees included Sebastian Bach. Matijevic also released a single under the name Mikey Steel, a name he also briefly acted under.

He was, after the departure of Brett Scallions, the new vocalist for the Manzarek Krieger band, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors or Manzarek-Krieger. Matijevic did two tours with them, in Europe and in the US in 2010.

Documentary[edit]

A documentary chronicling the life of Miljenko Matijevic entitled "Good 2B Alive" is currently in the works, directed by Dana Altman of North Sea Films.

Discography[edit]

With Steelheart[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]