Michael Chicos | Production Manager・FOH
Coined the “Hardest Working Man in Show Biz” by his fellow band mates, Michael Chicos is an invaluable member of the GB Leighton team. As the band’s full time front of house engineer since 2003, he is responsible for and oversees many essential aspects of their live performances. From mixing front of house sound and running the monitor system (which includes seven mixes), Michael also oversees the complete backline set up and tear down of the entire stage which includes running XLR lines, placing microphones, and managing an organized and effective stage. He also has extensive experience in operating a wide range of analog and digital mixing consoles.
A member of IATSE 13’s (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) B-List, Michael is a tour support technician, working large-scale events at stadiums and theaters in the Minneapolis/St Paul area such as the U.S Bank Stadium, Target Center, and Xcel Energy Center. Some of the high-profile events he has worked on include Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, Def Leppard, John Mayer, and Green Day among others.
Michael received a diploma in audio production from the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis in 2003. Besides holding his position with GB Leighton for the past 18 years, he previously was the front of house manager for Crooked Pint in Minneapolis for 6 years, is an on call sound engineer for Pioneer Place Theatre in St. Cloud, and mixes live in-studio performances for Minneapolis radio station Go96 for artists such as Andrew McMahon, Hippo Campus, and Doomtree.
Outside of his dedicated involvement in the music community, Michael is an expert at finding a disc golf course in obscure locations while on tour, can recite every line from The Simpson’s, has a fondness for Weezer and 90’s punk rock, and appreciates a rare day off at the ballpark.
Dave "Smokey D" Crowell | Bass
Dave recalls his earliest childhood memories of falling asleep while listening to his mother play piano. He is quick to give thanks to her for his musical upbringing that inspired him to learn piano himself. The Crowell’s took a family cruise to the Caribbean where he got to check out the ship's house band. “Some dude yelled out “bass solo!” and I was like “whoa!”." It took two years of persistence to get his parents to buy him his first Fender Jazz bass guitar when he was 12 years old. Gone were the days of the “shitty, off brand” school bass.
After years of playing with Ridges Big Band and other aspirant bands throughout high school, Dave went on to study music at St Olaf College in Northfield, MN. However, the college life was short lived for him and he left to play with prominent Minneapolis rock'n'roll band, The Tony Sims Band, for the next 10 years along with classic rock band, The Bedrockers. Soon after, Dave found himself living in Atlanta, Georgia for a brief stint; touring southern states with notable Americana band Paris Luna.
Motivated by the city’s smorgasbord of musical talent and history, Dave returned to the Minneapolis music community. Before long, he was asked to sub in GB Leighton, which lead to his soon-to-be permanent position as bass player for the acclaimed rock band for the past 15 years.
Dave is influenced by legendary musicians such as Elvis, Elton, The Beatles, and even Mozart. A songwriter in his own right, he is currently working on a musical project with past GB Leighton drummer, Scott Wenum. Dave appreciates a well-crafted song and a good groove no matter the genre, which has been invaluable to his ability to play with an array of musical talents spanning his extensive bass-playing career.
Ryan Inselman | Drums
Ryan Inselman is a freelance drummer/percussionist residing in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before graduating with a music education degree from St. Cloud State University in 1998, Ryan had already been a four-year member of Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps., a two-year member of the world-renowned Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps., and a very involved member of the Minnesota percussion community. While studying at St. Cloud State University, he had also begun his career as a prominent and well-respected drum set player and clinician in the state of Minnesota.
Throughout the last 20 years he has spent the majority of his time behind the drum set performing hundreds of shows with nationally recognized bands such as Fade 2 Shade, Jesse Lang, Honey Wagon, Hitchville, Kat Perkins, Martin Zellar, and G.B. Leighton. During this time, he also studied with nationally accredited instructor and overall amazing human being, Dr. Terry Vermillion. Ryan is an experienced musician in all styles of music on drum set as well as being formally educated on ethnic and concert percussion. In 2003, Ryan released his first solo percussion album entitled “Perfectly Human”, which received rave reviews from Modern Drummer and many other publications. In addition to performing with various live acts, he also composes original music for his own successful music company, www.FloorTracks.net which sells music to gymnasts nationally as well as internationally.
When Ryan is not focusing on music he is focusing on family and the outdoors, most likely standing in the water waving a stick (fly fishing). His two sons and amazing wife also share his love of the outdoors. Whether it’s getting “up North”, visiting the local water sheds, hunting, gardening, street hockey, or just enjoying the MN weather off the back deck, you’ll find them outside doing it together.
Brett LaCasse | Lead Guitar
We're so happy to welcome Brett back to the GB Leighton family as lead guitarist. He's come out of retirement to jam with the band once again. Look for more info on Brett soon!