Pasadena's Michael Des Barres: Longevity in Business and Music Depends on Positive Attitude, Says 71-Year-Old Rocker

Published : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 4:49 AM

Michael Des Barres of Pasadena, Photo by Alyson Camus

Michael Des Barres of Pasadena has one of the hottest shows on Sirius Radio, he has a new record, and a local gig coming up. But that is only the beginning for the newest Pasadena resident and UK-born actor and rocker.

Des Barres is known to people the world over for his television role as Murdoc on the cult TV show “MacGyver.” But in real life, the British-born Des Barres, whose many rock bands have ranged from working with the top of the top and punkers on the lower East Side of New York City, to the top Brit rockers, is really a cultured man with a vast range of experiences.

Des Barres will be playing The Redwood Bar and Grill on 7th Street in downtown L.A. this Wednesday. It’s a 5-star restaurant by day and punk place by night.

Michael Des Barres and The Mistakes

Des Barres and The Mistakes have released a new single called “Crackle and Hiss,” which is a tribute to vinyl records. On the B side, the band, comprised of Loren Molinare and Eric Himel on guitar, Paul Ill on bass and Matt Starr on drums, recorded “Stop In The Name of Love.”

Check out ‘Crackle and Hiss on Spotify

In reality, Des Barres is a genuine Marquis in royalty, but he’s spent his life chasing life’s joy of learning and the artistry. That includes forming many good UK rock bands and finding collaborations with many of the most famous musicians all over the globe.

And yes, he wants to dispel the notion that musicians don’t always have it together.

“I am not a ‘monosyllabic Rock N Roller,’” he said. “No, some of us are educated.”

But of course, since Des Barres is a Marquis you can expect a cut above, and you can expect him to be truthful and forthcoming.

“Yes it’s true, I have that title of Marquis,” he said. “My father was a Marquis so I have that title too.”

Regardless of royalty, the 71-year-old Des Barres is real and genuine, an artist to the core. He has recorded with the best in the business, those ranging from Robert Palmer to the Detroit powerhouse band The Dogs. He is partnered in his new band, Michael Des Barres and The Mistakes, with Detroit-raised Loren Molinare of The Dogs.

“This band is as good as it gets,” Des Barres said. “We have great performers and we are really enjoying the ride.”

His new band, Michael Des Barres and The Mistakes will play at The Redwood Bar and Grill in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday.

As Des Barres is a radio host and naturally opinionated person, he has his words of wisdom. Regarding today’s political climate, he has a simple solution.

“We need to all love each other,” Des Barres said. “It’s a time when we need to reach out to people and talk to them. You can’t believe the difference it makes when you say hello to someone online, or when you say hello to a stranger. Or even to just smile at them. As soon as you do that, they smile back. We need more of that.”

In this day and age where Mick Jagger at 76 just on Thursday ran the length of the Rose Bowl many times over, Des Barres also takes physical activity seriously. He’s in the gym or going out for physical activity every day, and usually very early.

Des Barres has admittedly enjoyed a wonderful, continental life, taking in all the world can offer. In Pasadena, he has a gorgeous home that he shares with his beautiful wife, Britta.

“My wife, Britta is so brilliant and she is truly my shining light,” he said.

He has a new record, the radio show and his live performances. He also has room to move around the house and create new songs and his home is where he conducts his broadcasts. He also was on hand at the Rolling Stones concert at the Rose Bowl, right in the pit, where he was with Mick Jagger and the band.

But Des Barres will say he never would have expected this. His life did not start out in any way that would indicate the success of today.

“Yes I was in boarding schools and my education was already paid for, despite my family life,” he said. “I was in boarding school and over the vacations I wouldn’t go anywhere, I would stay in the school. It is cruel, I know, but I made the most of it. I read every book in that library.”

So don’t let Des Barres fool anyone. He is equally versed in Shakespeare as he is in Lower East Side punk rock.

On his Sirius FX show, Des Barres is an interesting critic, taking in his observations about life and putting them out there so all the world can hear.

“Steven Tyler took his look from Janice Joplin,” he said on one recent show. It’s something many never considered. “Janis had a difficult life but what a talent.”

Des Barres makes sure that he connects the dots. During the same episode he discusses Joplin’s challenges with overcoming bullying and how her music reflected the experiences as a result.

But Des Barres looks on the sunny side. And at the Wednesday gig there will be some of the top names coming to check him out. But the bottom line, he said, is one thing only.

“Love yourself and you will be loved,” he said. “Give everything you’ve got to everybody you meet. Shine a light on everyone you see and every dark room you enter and you will live a beautiful life.”


Des Barres’ Wednesday’s performance will be at The Redwood, 316 W. Second St., Los Angeles. For more visit

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