Music freaks have known for years about Mingering Mike, a stranger-than-fiction outsider artist who hand-painted cover art for fictional soul and funk records on cardboard album sleeves with hand-painted cardboard “records” inside. His “catalog” of made-up LPs consisted of “soundtracks to imaginary films, instrumental albums, a benefit album for sickle cell anemia, a tribute to Bruce Lee, a triple-record work titled ‘Life in Paris,’ songs protesting the Vietnam War and promoting racial unity, and records of Christmas, Easter and American bicentennial music,” according to a New York Times piece on his discovery by crate diggers.
That article ran in early 2004. And only today did I get a press release saying that a band had finally hired Mingering Mike to produce art for one of its records. How did that not happen sooner? Seriously, everybody, the next time someone discovers an absolutely brilliant artist making obsessive, mind-blowing fake LPs, let’s try to get a record cover out of him in less than six years.