Mingering Mike is the soul superstar whose name you’ve never heard.
Between 1968 and 1977 Mike recorded over fifty albums, managed thirty-five of his own record labels, and produced, directed and starred in nine of his own motion pictures. In 1972 alone he produced fifteen LPs and over twenty singles, and his traveling revue played for sold out crowds the world over.
How is it that such a prolific musician has gone under the radar for the past 30+ years?
The answer is that all took place in Mike’s imagination, and in the vast collection of fake cardboard records and acapella home recordings that he made for himself as a teenager in Washington, D.C. in the late 1960s.
In 2003 two record diggers (Dori Hadar and Frank Beylotte) stumbled into the world of Mingering Mike at a flea market. There they discovered a collection of albums that were made solely of cardboard, and each package was intricately crafted, complete with gatefold interiors, extensive liner notes, and grooves drawn onto the “vinyl.” Some albums were even covered in shrinkwrap, as if purchased at actual record stores.
The crates contained albums not only by Mingering Mike, but also other unheard of artists such as Joseph War, the Big “D,” and Rambling Ralph, on labels such as Fake Records, Inc., Decision, Sex, and Mother Goose. There were soundtracks to imaginary films, a benefit album for sickle cell anemia, and a tribute to Bruce Lee.