THE SOUL SUPERSTAR
YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF
Between 1968 and 1977 Mingering 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 released 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 more than forty 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, each intricately crafted with gatefold interiors, extensive liner notes, and grooves drawn onto the "vinyl." 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 even soundtracks to imaginary kung fu films and a benefit album for sickle cell anemia.
Hadar posted pictures of the albums on Soulstrut and Mike instantly became a cult hero. He tracked Mike down and eventually Mike revealed his story of how as a lonesome teenager he dreamt of being a soul singer, songwriter and producer. And how he lived out his dream by creating an amazing imaginary career for himself.