- Mad Mike, at the controls at Pietro's Pizza Pub, in 2000
It's gonna be a Mad Mike blowout this weekend -- on air and in the clubs -- as the late Pittsburgh DJ receives tribute from the near and dear, and from influential out-of-towners too.
"Mad Mike" Metrovich, who died in 2000, built his rep in the 1960s for his fervent love of off-chart music. Forget about your tiresome, overplayed oldies: His picks blared, thumped, stomped or even just clanked and squawked, like the irresistible instrumental "Gismo." Jungle, B-side, weirdo doo-wop, booze tunes, floor-pounding R&B, proto-garage, crazy instrumentals -- records that screamed, "I'll never chart because I'm out of my musical mind."
Mad Mike had his own eccentricities: He popularized his so-called "moldies" and "monsters" at dances and on the radio, uncredited, which reflected The Mad One's ethos that the sound mattered, not the artist. But it also kept his finds -- often from small runs of 45s unearthed in other cities -- hidden from competing DJs, and fans could only hope to hear their faves by supporting Mike's shows.
Time has revealed many of these mystery records, and some have been sporadically available on hard-to-find vinyl comps, locally produced Itzy CD compilations and, for the purists, on super-rare 45s.
Now, New York-based Norton Records, the respected reissue home of many a criminally disrespected artist, is releasing Mad Mike Monsters, four dozen tunes on three CDs or vinyl records. (The set also includes a mind-boggling 30,000-word account of Mad Mike's career and influence.) The CD-release event is Saturday at Pietro's, the Banksville Road pizza joint that was Mad Mike's last broadcasting home. They'll have your "Goo Goo Muck."
DJ Zombo previews Mad Mike Monsters. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fri., Oct. 10. WRCT 88.3 FM
Howard Kozy's Mad Mike tribute show. 6-7 p.m. Sat., Oct. 11. WYEP 91.3 FM
CD-release party with guest DJs. 7 p.m.-midnight, Sat. Oct. 11. Pietro's Pizza Pub, 2957 Banksville Road, Beechview. 412- 412-563-5366
Mad Mike Record Hop with Harrisburg DJs The Thing With Two Heads. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat., Oct. 11. Remedy, third floor, 5121 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412-781-6771