Michael Winslow: The Man Of 10,000 Voices
The human sound effects machine, with a voice-box known to the world from movies like Police Academy and Gremlins, tells us how he developed his talent
The 80s were an incredible decade for movies. As a child of that decade, so many images and characters have stayed with me, whether it be a sweetly timed air-punch by Judd Nelson, Michael J Fox on a hoverboard, or Michael Winslow's performance as Motormouth Jones in the Police Academy films.
Now a touring comic, Winslow tends to hold the hand of his voices rather than letting them take the lead. His style is unique as no-one else on the circuit has such a powerful and impressive tool at their disposal. "The sounds themselves tend to take on a life of their own. Especially for me," Winslow reflects. "I didn't have a lot of friends growing up so I ended up using the sounds like I had, kinda, an imaginary friend."
As an isolated youth Winslow is now making up for it by getting his audiences involved in his shows. "They always end up taking some stuff home with them. Sometimes people learn Gremlin voices from me or sometimes it's a flight attendant call on an airplane but I tell them if they get in trouble with any of them then my name's Chris Tucker."
Winslow's a busy guy these days. Not exactly trying to shake his 80s persona but trying to embrace his past and move forward with the times, performing sell-out stand-up shows across the world, "At the minute I'm getting more and more into production things too, 'cos finally technology caught up to me. I've got a children's book in post-production with Bill Cosby which is going to be very interesting."
"And we have Police Academy 8 of course which is starting production in, it's supposed to be April," states Winslow proudly. I admit I didn't know about that. "Well, not to worry, we're back man."