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Meet the band
Back from Ashes started as a dream and from nothing in late 2004, when founding member and guitarist, Mike Butikofer, decided to jump feet first into a journey called the music industry. Knowing nothing about the industry and gaining knowledge as he went along, his journey took him to the Arizona music scene. Many trials, hurdles, and tribulations later, his headstrong bulldozing, never-say-die attitude has brought BFA to where they are today. The title Back from Ashes is not just a band name; it is a chosen lifestyle that conveys a simple, yet prophetic, philosophy - “Never surrender your dream”. Just as the title itself implies, they have, and will always, rise to any negativities head on, push forth through any adversity, and prove the naysayers and critics utterly dumbfounded. They try to inspire those around them, fellow musicians and fans alike, to believe in themselves first and foremost and to always be sincere in everything they attempt to accomplish in life. BFA has continued to be a supporter and leader for the underdogs with a consistent following of the most diehard fans – not so much fans though – but Family. Through their music, they touch lives. Through their personalities, they make lifelong friends. And through their loyalty to all they encounter, they will rise again. BFA have never had the drive as they do currently. The proper BFA brotherhood is complete. It is comprised of five hard working and talented musical artists, each with their own strengths, influences, and diversity in musical theory:
Mike ‘Mikey’ Butikofer – Mikey started playing guitar at the age of 12 with encouragement by his mother. As the years went by, his knack for writing melodies and helping people feel his music increased proficiently. Never having the full-on capabilities or attention span to learn cover tunes, he continued to write songs that expressed his feelings and kept them filed away in an old notebook until he formed the band. Mikey finally has hit full stride with this endeavor aptly titled Back from Ashes. With 2 award-winning albums under his belt, he and the band are working relentlessly to finish and release their third, and what is sure to be the best,BFA powerhouse to date. Mikey has found not only four of the strongest and most talented musicians to share his dream and journey with; he has found his brothers for life.
Anthony ‘Ant’ DeJesus - After doing the a-typical, high school garage band rigmarole, Ant retired the guitar for a spell and became a technician for the band N-17. Approximately a year and a half after they broke up, Chris Cannella asked him if he wanted to pull his guitar out of its case and jam it again in Cannella’s new project. Ant was with Autumn’s End for a decade, but the style of music was not his true blood. Back from Ashes’ style is. He was a fan first and foremost, but a huge opportunity arose; they offered him a place in the Family, and the rest of the story is still being told. He was endorsed by Jackson for 10 years, plays them religiously, uses Mesa Boogie amps, and DR strings. Another dream of his is to do a USO Tour for the troops.
David DiGilio – David has been an avid heavy metal fan since second grade. In junior high, his love for metal moved to the thrash scene, and that is when he learned to play guitar. He was 16 when his first band came to fruition. At 18, his brother asked him to go the way of the bass and be in the death metal band, Sufferance. He fell in love with the bass guitar. The band changed their name to Excessive Bleeding and recorded a demo in 1995. Two years later, their EP, Spawned by Rage, was born. They were able to strike a deal with Darque Records because of their relentless touring and opening for some high grade national death metal acts. A full-length album, Lunatics Vision, was done and got them international attention. They disbanded when the record label went under. He took some time to really dive into the bass guitar and built his never ending relationship with it. A reunion with some members of Excessive Bleeding was short-lived, but then, Back from Ashes came calling. He was asked by the members to record the bass tracks for their second album, 261, in 2010. David fell in love with the band, the style, and the brotherhood. Soon after, he became a full-time piece of the proverbial pie.
Bobby ‘Blades’ Anderson – Also known as Sticks, Bobby started first beating on a drum at the ripe old age of 13 while playing for his junior high school band. He actually picked up some sticks and played his first drum kit three years later at 16. What inspired him to do so? Hearing Slayer, Sepultura, Metallica, and Anthrax of course. The decision was made; this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He practiced enough for people to take notice. His prowess behind the drums helped him to be asked to join three different bands in his past – Deadline, Pathetic, and Lost Within. Another band took notice, Back from Ashes. He became a member on a trial basis, but the trial did not last long. BFA knew they wanted him to become a permanent fixture, so Bobby joined in January of 2012. Anderson’s influences include Neil Peart, Dave Lombardo, jazz drummer Billy Cobham, Vinnie Paul, Igor Cavalera, and Charlie Benante. He proudly plays and uses DW drums, Zildjan and Wuhan cymbals, Pro Mark sticks, SKB, and Koffin cases.
Billy Zane Muna – Vocal master, Billy Muna, actually joined forces with the guitar and microphone at 13 years young. He wholeheartedly dove into music and progressed immensely, so much so that his talented persona can be heard on past musical endeavors in bands such as Pinga, Destructured, Ethic vs. Evil, and Embers Rise. Currently 30 and living in Tempe, Billy coexists with his nearly lifelong friend and compadre, music. It is an unbreakable bond. He has a wide range of influences and has learned from each and every one of them – The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Slim Whitman, The Beatles (with Lennon being his premier go-to), American Head Charge, Fear Factory, Sybreed, Justin Timberlake, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Slipknot, Drykill Logic, Beethoven, and Michael Jackson. Muna was discovered by Back from Ashes while in the process of being in the hunt for a class act vocalist. His demo was literally the next to last they listened to after a 2 month process. It was an instant connection. They called him, he went in, and this last piece of the puzzle was in place. “Where this road will take me, I don’t know, but I’ll have fun doing it!”
What more can be said about a band that has overcome so much adversity? A band that beats the odds constantly and has continued to evolve with every obstacle they encounter? Sharing the stages with top bands such as Slayer, Slipknot, Megadeth, Disturbed, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Anthrax, Filter, Motor Head, As I Lay Dying, Saliva, Rev Theory, and many more, BFA has taken over the music community, not only in Arizona but all over, and in the process, have snatched the attention of several industry leaders. Their camaraderie is at an all-time high, their creativity is second to none, and BFA will stop at nothing to take their music across the world. This supernova has already proven it cannot be stopped and has shown its resilience repeatedly.