Michael was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and grew up in an era when Punk rock was coming of age as bands like The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Camper Beethoven and the Jesus & Mary Chain and Local bands such as El Grupo Sexo and the Swamp Zombies took over la music scene, mike looked no further than his own family for musical inspiration .
“My dad is why I play music.”
Elias Guerra was born in Goliad Texas and raised in Brownsville. He began playing music at the age of 12. Inthe mid 50’s, he moved from the Rio grande Border to los angles. Over the years and through various friends and associates, he had many conjunto bands throughout the 50’s and 60’s earning a quick reputation as a solid musician. Flaco Jimenez, An icon of the conjunto world, recognized his talent and Elias sat in with him whenever he came through town. The elder Guerra also played with famed artist valerio longoria.
“When I was 11 (my dad) put a bass guitar in my hands and told me to play with his accordionist while he played the bajo Sexto. “He showed me 3 notes to play and I played my first song with my dad,” Mike said recently. “ I guess after that I began hanging with them in my dad’s garage while they practiced. When I took a liking to the drums he bought me a set. I was twelve and I would lock myself in the garage for 3 hours and learn to play especially to my dad’s music.”
Mike would go on to be the bands drummer for a couple of years . During this time, he picked up on the Bajo Sexto, Bass and six string guitars . It wasn’t until the age of 14 that Michael picked up his life instrument (that which one is born to play) and within a year he was a proficient Accordionist .Six months later, the family patriarch took the next step and formed la tropa Guerra with mike and his sister Melissa . They were a traditional conjunto band that also played a flavor of tex-mex rock n roll that mike especially appreciated.
In 1998, mike took a trip to the 17th Annual Conjunto Festival in San Antonio, Texas. It was in here that his playing was recognized and it wasn’t long before established artists came knocking on his door . In the fall of 1999, Mike landed his first major gig with Grammy award winner Ruben Ramos and the Texas revolution . Over the next 2 years, Mike would record on two albums with Ruben. Mike returned to los angles and graduated in the summer of 1999, but Texas called him home.
In 2000, mike moved to Austin and joined Grammy Award winner Rick Trevino’s band playing accordion, acoustic guitar and back up vocals . Mike played with Trevino until the fall of 2003. Soon after, Mike along with bajo-sexto player Max Baca, Israel “Speedy” Villanueva and Nunie Rubio formed los tex maniacs, a conjunto band sporting rock/blues fusion .
After three years of playing and recording, the band self released a cd entitled “A Tex-Mex Groove” . The cd featured guest appearances by major artists such as Grammy winner Los lobos, Grammy winner flaco Jimenez. As well as Grammy winners augie Meyers and Ruben Ramos. Still, with all this talent on one record, one review said the following : “The other side of the Tex-Maniacs' sound is button accordionist Michael Guerra. Though a Los Angeles native, Michael has thoroughly ingested the styles of all the major Texas accordionists and come up with his own extremely, fluid sound.”
While working with these artists, Mike met and recorded with Shawn Sahm, son of Legendary Texas Artist Doug Sahm. In early 2005, Mike, along with Shawn, Nunie Rubio, Neal Walker, and legendary blues drummer George rains formed The Tex-Mex Experience. Within months of forming, the band performed a showcase at casbeers before a group of record executives From Sony Nashville.
The Experience started out with a bang and came under management of Kevin Wommack and Loophole Entertainment who also managed Texas’ own Grammy winners Los Lonely Boys . It wasn’t long before the band began opening shows for the boys covering the state . The boys then approached Michael to play the accordion on the track “Texican Style” on their follow up album “Sacred” which was released in June 2006.
In the summer of 2006, TMX took their show overseas and opened for such acts as the Robert Cray Band and Susan Tedeschi in such places as Belgium the Netherlands and the now Infamous Amsterdam trip. In 2007, Mike had the opportunity to come home and play for a large hometown crowd as the Tex Mex Experience opened up for Los Lonely Boys at the sold-out Fillmore Theater in San Francisco.
2007 didn’t slow down for Mike as another music star came calling . In late summer of 2007, Country music Superstar Phil Vassar’s representatives approached Michael's management and asked Michael to lay the accordion track for a single on his 2008 April release of “Prayer of a Common Man.” The song, Why Don’t cha?, was not so coincidently written by Mikes band mate Shawn Sahm and is also on their own 2008 Self Titled debut CD .
The reformation of iconic bands The Texas Tornados and The Sir Douglas Quintet II, both projects of Shawn Sahm, were next on the list for Michael as he toured extensively with both bands in the United States as well as in Europe. Later, in November 2009, a Tribute show was held at Antones in Austin, Texas for Doug Sahm where The Sir Douglas Quintet received another Gold Record from the Netherlands.
In 2010, Michael took part in the PBS Special Texas Music Extravaganza where he played different instruments with four different bands. He caught the attention of Grammy Award winner Raul Malo who approached Michael a few weeks later to play a gig at Casbeers at The Chruch in San Antonio. Michael agreed and that gig turned into a duo tour up and down the East and West coasts and into Canada. After a year of steady touring, Michael joined Raul's big band and took part on his newest release “Sinners and Saints” then went on a tour through the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
The tour wrapped up in December of 2011 and a couple of weeks later Michael, along with longtime friend Junior Jasso, formed The Michael Guerra Band. Michael then recruited former Ram Herrera/Jay Perez/David Lee guitarist Robert “Bertman” Ybarra and former Hellcats drummer Danny Martinez to round out the band.
In January 2012, Michael stepped into the famous Blue Cat Studios with eight original songs and began laying down what would eventually become the eponymous CD "Michael Guerra Band.” Later, in February, Grammy Award winners The Mavericks announced their reformation. Raul Malo recruits Michael to join the band and Michael begins splitting time in between Nashville, where the Mavericks new record was produced, and in San Antonio where “Tex-Mex Fusion” was produced.