Mel has played at the Bayfront Blues Festival nine times over the last 25 years, in a variety of bands. Drumming in a polka band gave him his start. From there, he became a drummer for rock bands. To stave off boredom on the road, he picked up guitar and learned to play. Around the same time, he started checking out Albert Collins, Hound Dog Taylor and other blues albums from the library, which altered his perspective on music.