Guitarist Mike Abdishi found his way to the Unity Music Ministry earlier this year from a connection dating back to the 1980s. During this period, Mike had the opportunity to work with a heavy metal band called “Brat,” whose drummer was Russ Hammock. This led to his introduction to the Unity family and getting to know Sue Riley and a number of artists associated with the EmPower Music and Arts group. When the need arose for a guitarist in the UCC band, Mike, who has been involved in helping to maintain the technology in the church, says, “I embraced it as an opportunity to work with some of the amazing artists associated with this group. It also gave me a chance to try to get back to my roots as a musician, and especially as a guitarist.”
Mike was born and raised, along with two younger sisters, in Roanoke, Indiana, population “1,000 or so,” about 25 minutes from Fort Wayne. He went to high school in nearby Huntington, where he played oboe in the symphonic band and also started playing guitar. At Purdue University, he studied electronics. Following a few years in the Dallas, TX area working with the automotive electronics industry as a draftsman, he came to the Tampa Bay area after auditioning to sing in a local rock band called “Conquest.” Here, he started becoming more popular with the local bands as a singer, as opposed to a guitarist, because of an unusually wide vocal range. He lived in a rehearsal space that he operated while earning a living as a carpenter.
Considering that his instrument was mainly vocals, “and I had the gear to get myself loud enough over the other rock guys,” Mike says, “I started doing live sound. This resulted in the formation of a regional production company called Flash Point Productions where I evolved to the ‘other side of the console’ as a sound engineer.” Flash Point, the area’s oldest established production company, which Mike founded in 1984, provides area musicians and institutions tailored services including rehearsal, recording, sound systems and lighting production, along with equipment rental and sales. Flash Point recently upgraded some of the sound system at UCC, and alert congregants may notice that Mike watches over and sometimes makes adjustments to it with an iPad application attached to his music stand.
Aside from his musician’s passion, Mike describes himself “as a bit of a tree hugger.” He has a large wooded property in Manatee County that keeps him very busy. He enjoys the outdoors, fishing and bonfires in the winter. He has two grown sons. The older has completed his Master’s degree at USF.
Although he was raised Catholic, Mike says that he really enjoys and embraces the Unity theology and Leddy’s weekly lessons: “She never ceases to amaze me with her wisdom and humor on Sundays.” Asked if he ever aspires to share his vocal talent on the Unity platform, Mike said he hopes to start singing some harmony at some point, but “for now, I’ve just been trying not to screw up the guitar stuff too much.”