He’s the man of 10,000 sound effects.
Looking for a great impression of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”? Michael Winslow is your man. He replicates Robert Plant’s banshee cries and Jimmy Page’s screaming, roaring guitar with mind-bending accuracy.
How about the blazing sound of Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Stratocaster? Winslow’s got that down, too.
A standup comic, actor and voice-over talent, Winslow appeared in all seven “Police Academy” movies. His long filmography also includes a pair of Cheech and Chong comedies and this year’s “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!”
But he’s often heard rather than seen in movies and TV series, such as the films “Spaceballs” and “Gremlins,” the TV series “Robot Chicken” and “Family Guy,” and Geico commercials. Winslow also recorded voice-overs for such theme park rides as “Back to the Future” and “Terminator.”
As for personal appearances, Winslow will perform Wednesday at Lava Cantina in Baton Rouge before flying to gigs in Hong Kong and Iceland.
The comic and impressionist can’t say when he began doing imitations.
“Oh, man, I always did this stuff,” he said. “Used to drive people nuts. I’m sure it probably still does.”
Winslow’s talent inevitably made him a class clown. In school, big, athletic boys forced him to make noises at the worst times.
“So I had to do the sound of a talking squirrel on the teacher’s desk,” he said. “I got in trouble for that.”
But Winslow got back at the mean kids later by imitating the alarming sound of an angry Rottweiler.
“I did Rottweiler noises and the sound of the gate opening as the Rottweiler comes around the corner,” he said. “Those kids took off running.”
Musical impressions are among Winslow’s specialties. He grew up in the 1960s and ’70s, the age of classic rock. His favorites include Latin-rock guitar maestro Santana, The Beatles and, of course, Hendrix.
“I’ve always loved having Jimi Hendrix in my mind,” he said. “But I’m always looking for the next wonderful thing to catch a ride with. There are so many great new folks, like my friend Reggie Watts (the singer, beatboxer and comedian).”
Winslow’s goals include expanding his musical repertoire. He’s especially keen on developing impressions of reggae star Bob Marley and the spacey prog-rock band Pink Floyd.
“I want to make my way somewhere near Dave Gilmour’s guitar,” he said. “No guarantees, though. Pink Floyd was from another planet.”