Asita Recordings

We like Pam Grier, Red Stripe, the sound and the smell of records, mixtapes,the SF Giants, analog synths, McCovey Cove, Lanikai at night, and San Francisco's indian summer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

mingering mike history

We here at the Asita blog have been following the Mingering Mike story since it initially broke last year. For those who are unfamiliar with the tale of Mingering Mike, his is a fascinating story of loss and redemption, and dreams that refuse to die.

As the story goes, a team of crate diggers unearthed a stockpile of "records" from a flea market in Washington.

"I went to a flea market and there was a huge record collection there, at least 20 boxes, " Mr Hadar said, recalling the morning discovery. "I was going through that very happily when I came across this box full of strange hand-painted album covers. I realized they were fake and was about to put them back, but then I looked at them more closely.

Pulling the records out of the sleeves, he was surprised to find that htey were made not of vinyl but of cardboard. Each had been cut in the shape of a record, with grooves and a hand-lettered label painted on. Nearly all the albums were credited to an unknown black musician by the name of Mingering Mike, and dated from 1968 to 1976.

The front covers were intricately painted to look like classic funk albums; on the spines were titles and fake catalog numbers; the backs had everything from liner notes to copyright information to original logos; the inner sleeve was often a shopping back meticulously taped together to hold a record; and some actually opened to reveal a beautiful gatefold sleeve. A few albums had even been covered in shrink-wrap and bore price stickers and labels with apocryphal promotional quotes.

What Mr. Hadar found was a cache of seemingly nonexistant music: soundtracks to imaginary films, instrumental albums, a benefeit album for sickle cell anema..."

"Alot of times flea-market vendors acquire their wares from a storage facility that's auctioning off the possessions of someone who hasn't paid their bills," Mr Beylotte said. "So we're used to digging through these windows into perseonal lives through records'

To make a long story short, Hadar and Beylotte took it upon themselves to find Mingering Mike and reunite him with his possessions. It turns out he was actually an aspiring musician in the 60's and 70's, and these covers were his dreams. Dreams of groups that were in his imagination. I think we can all relate to that. Since then, the interest in this story has taken on a life of it's own.

I encourage you to read the NY Times article for the FULL STORY

Mingering Mike


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