Aug 12, 2014 6:26 PM by Jeanette Trompeter
Sometimes there is a lot more to a person than what you might get out of a first impression. Such is the case for one attorney in San Luis Obispo County. Get out and About with Mike Cummings and you'll find out he likes to entertain as much as he likes to argue a case in court.
Mike Cummins clearly isn't afraid of a crowd. He's faced them in the courtroom for decades as defense attorney, prosecutor and judge. He's felt the heat of the spotlight in all three arenas, most recently as the appointed defense attorney for Rhonda Wisto, a woman tried and convicted of murdering 15-year-old Destiny Meyers.
He's finding himself in a new kind of spotlight recently: country music man. "All my life I've loved the old country kind of music...the pathos of it all, the poetry. I don't know exactly why. I liked Johnny Cash when I was in the 9th grade." says Cummins, known as "Judge Mike" when he's performing.
It's a side of him that perhaps always existed. He only ventured to explore it more about three years ago when he decided to write a song before he could really perform it. "It was sometime after that I decided I would like to be able to play the guitar. I had played the guitar for many years but only knew a few chords."
He started taking lessons from a guy he now plays with publicly...shedding the attire and stress of the courtroom and for a new kind of persona that seems to suit him just as well.
"I love the music." says Cummins. And he's loving sharing it...with crowds at local watering holes to the Paso Robles Golf club to the Clark Center a few months ago. Judge Mike joined forces with his mentors, buddies and a big band bringing the evangelism of the Grand Old Opry right here to the central coast. "I've got this kind of personality and I hope it's good...and that is if I like something and I really like it, you know, you ought to like it too." he says with a smile.
He's joining forces with his music mates again in the recording studio. Judge Mike and the Lawless will be putting out a CD. They want to do another show at the Clark Center and you'll find different variations of the group playing out and about on the central coast.
It's the kind of spotlight Cummins seems to be basking in these days. It's a welcome reprieve form the courtroom, and a way of life he enjoying exploring, rather than a just a way of making a living. He's not quitting his day job...just yet. "I am not." he chuckles. "I think music and money for the most part are mutually exclusive with the exception for a few people, but stranger things have happened. And you know, we've got some music we've recorded...we've got some original songs that just aren't half bad. So you never know!"
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