Mingering Mike

Today I made a pilgrimage to the Hemphill Gallery in DC to see the work of Mingering Mike. I had heard about him through other blogs. I didn’t understand what it was all about until recently.

Mingering Mike is sort of like a proto-Madlib, or maybe MF Doom. When Mike was a teenager in the late 60’s he began imagining his own soul artists and record labels. He managed to make over 60 record sleeves by hand using paint, marker, pen and whatever else he could find. The cardboard sleeves included everything a real record would include, going as far as being covered in shrink wrap and having price tags. He also bothered to include cardboard records. Along with that he created a few crates worth of fake 45’s.


Two record collectors, Dori Hadar and Frank Beylotte, came across his collection of poorly drawn vinyl at a flea market in 2003. After that, Mingering Mike became an online celebrity. Eventually they found Mike and a book followed soon afterwards.

One thing about Mike that I didn’t realize was that he actually recorded music. The songs are made mostly of him and some friends singing, making noises with their mouths and tapping on furniture. The songs are the lowest of lo-fi. Supposedly some of the music will be released on CD soon. I’m not sure when.

I think that this work is a perfect demonstration of the magic that can be born from having entirely too much time on your hands. It’s possible for great things to happen under the influence of boredom.

You can learn more about Mr. Mingering Mike and the book by Dori Hadar here.
I plan on picking up the book soon…

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