Legendary bassist Chuck Rainey offered a special tribute to Mike Connolly. We originally announced Connolly’s passing here: https://musicretailer.blog/2021/11/16/remembering-mjc-ironworks-mike-connolly/
We would like to thank Gordy Wilcher for getting this information from Rainey. His tribute is presented in full below:
“One day in the early ’80s, I got a call from Mike Connolly who was working with Dean Markley Strings in San Francisco. He was working in the string department and happened to run across a letter I had written to the company a year earlier requesting a string endorsement and figured that it had been either overlooked or ignored. He asked me if I had gotten a string endorsement and told me he was in position to talk to Rich Friedich, head of artist relations on my behalf for a string endorsement if I were still interested and I was. He introduced me to Rich and Barry Wilson who ran the company for Dean. Rich immediately sent me an artist agreement and Barry was a delight to know as well as Dean who I only saw once maybe twice during my 10-year tenure with the company.
I spent every year demonstrating in the Dean Markley booth at The NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. They treated me like royalty as they did the other musicians on the roster and I had an enjoyable relationship with the other company staff members. One of my favorite posters that they published in trade magazines was shown with me giving a lesson with a young boy at a train station.
Mike became one of my very close friends and who also wrote the preface of my autobiography. In 1985, Mike introduced me to Jim Bruno, who owned a music school, SMI Music Institute’ in San Jose that was adjacent to a music store The Guitar Showcase. After finding out that he had a lot of students enrolled and was interested in someone like me to come and do a series of clinics, I expressed my interest regarding possibly teaching at SMI for a four-week course with students that would be interested and Jim agreed and I made plans to go to San Jose.
During the four weeks that I was in San Jose, I was a house guest with Mike and his family. I remember sleeping in his son Michael’s bedroom and one morning his pet fish was floating on the top of the tank dead as a ‘door nail’. I felt really bad and trusted that Michael would not take an offense toward me since I was the one sleeping in the room. Most important was that the friendship bond that Mikey and I gained was indeed very special. We were very close friends up until he transitioned and although I will miss him, I have so many memories of our relationship living with Mike for three weeks.”
— Chuck Rainey