Hollywood star and godfather of beatbox comes to Brinnon

Posted 12/14/22

Brinnon isn’t exactly the first place people go looking for Hollywood stars.

Yet Michael Winslow, of “Police Academy” and “Spaceballs” fame, is returning for the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Hollywood star and godfather of beatbox comes to Brinnon


Brinnon isn’t exactly the first place people go looking for Hollywood stars.

Yet Michael Winslow, of “Police Academy” and “Spaceballs” fame, is returning for the second time this year to perform at the Geoduck Restaurant & Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 17.

In the 1980s when he first began appearing on the big screen, Winslow was referred to as “The Man of 10,000 Sound Effects.”

These days, however, he says it’s closer to the hundreds of thousands.


He’s been mimicking sounds from the world around him his entire life. In a bit he performed for “America’s Got Talent,” he even references copying the resonance of jets taking off near his family home on a military base when he was 6 months old.

“They were more mystified than anything else,” Winslow said of his parents reaction to his gifts growing up.

Once he was grown, he hitch-hiked his way into L.A., determined to make it in Hollywood.

Which, of course he did.

After his wife passed away, he left show business to raise their two young kids on his own.

Now that they, too, are grown, Winslow is finding his place as a performer again.

He calls himself a voicetramentalist, a word all his own, capturing a skill all his own; hard-earned over this lifetime of play and practice.

“Some of them are easy, some of them are harder now,” Winslow said of the sounds. “Some of them are from experience and some of them have a life of their own, really.”

Over the years, not only has his process evolved, but also his understanding of the art.

“I’m now beginning to understand this is a communication tool, as well as entertainment, as well as comedy,” Winslow said, sharing a story of deaf audience members holding their hands to the speakers to feel the vibrations of his performance.

“I’m still trying to figure out how things work,” he added.


This kind of curiosity is easy to see in the way he plays with his audiences.

“Hopefully the shows that we have coming up, I’m going to be able to break the rules in an organized manner,” Winslow said. “And the audience gets to make noises.”

Not only does he work his sounds into comedic bits but also music — and his playfulness extends into these collaborations.

In the last decade, he’s recorded and performed with a diverse group of the world’s top musicians, including Victor Wooten, Run The Jewels, and Jon Anderson of the band Yes.

“It is music-oriented always, really,” Winslow said of his life’s work. “I’ve worked with orchestras; I’ve worked with bands, quartets.”

In 1987 he even got on stage with Eddie Van Halen. Between Winslow’s vocalizations and Halen’s guitar licks, no one could quite tell the difference.

This is not just beatboxing. Winslow’s repertoire hits the highest, the lowest, everything in between, and sometimes seemingly all at once.

“It’s a wall of sound, or an audio tapestry,” he said.


However, life on the road touring is not easy, and at age 64 that can wear on a body.

“It’s time for me to wind down,” Winslow said.

Which is how he ended up here.

Winslow’s manager owns property in the Hood Canal area, and brought him out in August to perform two sold-out shows at the Geoduck.

Now, Winslow has bought the land next to his manager’s so that they can build out a studio to begin recording.

“I’m going to do a little bit of everything,” Winslow said, listing off diverse genres like world music, rock, hip hop, classical, and opera.

“Eventually I’ll release one album for each genre,” he added.

He’ll be crafting plenty of unique sounds for these, of course, but so much more.

“I’m going to do a little bit of everything,” Winslow said.

While Winslow can sing, and can mimic any horn with his vocalizations, he is also an actual musician.

“I played coronet for years,” Winslow said. “I’m trying to figure out a way to sneak some back in there and actually play.”

And what does he want to do with all of these skills now?

“Give everybody a chance to pause for a moment, breathe for a second,” Winslow said.

In that new space, he gives people a chance to break out from the doldrums of the day-to-day.

“How about we turn it sideways, just for fun?”


He’s also got a whole new world of sounds to explore in the natural abundance of the Olympic Peninsula.

“The first thing I kept thinking was, ‘I need a boat and a microphone because I want to ask these orcas a couple of questions,’” Winslow joked.

“I want to know where the sushi is, and I know they know, and they’re going to tell me if I make the right noise.”

Even when touching serious topics, he finds a way to bring the light.

For his upcoming show, he mentioned a tribute to Christine McVie, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who recently passed away.

“We’re going to do something a little cheesy; we’re going to do a Fleetwood Mac & Cheese.”

That sense of humor has always endeared him to audiences and he’s finding new ways to bring the weird.

“I miss Saturday morning cartoons. They’ve taken it all away, so I think I’m going to put some stuff back,” he said, mentioning his MichaelWinslowTV experiments on the streaming site Twitch.

“I’ve got a really weird sense of humor; I can’t help it,” he added.

Winslow has also expanded into video game sounds, which he’ll be recording in the studio.

“It’s time for us to have some fun stuff again,” he said.

Reserved tickets for the event can be purchased at the Geoduck for $20 or attendees can risk paying at the door the night of the show.