Even if you don’t know Don Fleming by name, chances are you own a ton of records he’s helped make. As a producer, he’s collaborated with the likes of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, Screaming Trees, the Posies and Hole, to name just a handful. He works for the Alan Lomax Archive and has done archival work for the estates of Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey and others. He’s fronted such groups as the Velvet Monkeys, B.A.L.L. and Gumball and was a member of the band that provided the music to 1994 Beatles biopic Backbeat. Fleming also runs the Instant Mayhem label, which recently reissued the Velvet Monkeys’ 1982 debut Everything Is Right and is about to release the solo Don Fleming 4, which features Kim Gordon, Julie Cafritz and R. Stevie Moore. If all that weren’t enough, Fleming is guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.
Fleming: I was always a big fan of Michael O’Donoghue from his days as one of the founding writers and editors for National Lampoon. He was also the first head writer of Saturday Night Live. He wrote and appeared with John Belushi in the “The Wolverines,” the opening sketch aired on the first show. He would occasionally make an on-screen appearance as the sadistic Mr. Mike to tell a cruel bedtime tale to the kiddies. His brand of humor was very dark and twisted and still creates debates about his influence on humor in TV shows today. He left SNL in 1978 and did a television special for NBC called Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video, which the network rejected. He continued to work on various projects, until in 1994 he died from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. His wife Cheryl said that when it happened, it looked like “bolts of lightning” were going off in his eyeballs.
Video of Mr. Mike telling Jodie Foster about “The Little Train That Died” after the jump.