February 9, 1975
Mike Millard Original Master Tapes via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 30
Recording Gear: (Probably) Shure microphones > Sony TC-152SD Cassette Recorder
Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassettes > Yamaha KX-W592 Cassette Deck > Sony R-500 DAT > Analog Master DAT Clone > Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 > Sound Forge Audio Studio 13.0 capture > Unfilter > iZotope RX6 > iZotope Ozone 8 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC
01 Minstrel In The Gallery Guitar Solo Intro
02 Wind Up
03 Critique Oblique
04 Thick As A Brick
05 Wond’ring Aloud
06 My God > Flute Solo
08 Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day
10 Drum Solo
11 War Child
12 War Child Suite
13 Cross-Eyed Mary
14 Bungle In The Jungle
15 The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
17 Guitar Solo
18 Back-Door Angels
19 Locomotive Breath
20 Hard Headed English General
21 Back-Door Angels Reprise
-My God > Flute Solo: splice
Introduction to the Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Series
Welcome to JEMS’ Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone series presenting recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin done in and around Los Angeles circa 1975-77. For the complete details on how tapes in this series came to be lost and found again, as well as JEMS' long history with Mike Millard, please refer to the notes in Vol. One: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=500680.
Until 2020, the Lost and Found series presented fresh transfers of previously unavailable first-generation copies made by Mike himself for friends like Stan Gutoski of JEMS, Jim R, Bill C. and Barry G. These sources were upgrades to circulating copies and in most instances marked the only time verified first generation Millard sources had been directly digitized in the torrent era.
That all changed with the discovery of many of Mike Millard’s original master tapes.
Yes, you read that correctly, Mike Millard’s master cassettes, long rumored to be destroyed or lost, have been found. Not all of them but many, and with them a much more complete picture has emerged of what Millard recorded between his first show in late 1973 and his last in early 1992.
The reason the rediscovery of his master tapes is such a revelation is that we’ve been told for decades they were gone. Internet myths suggest Millard destroyed his master tapes before taking his own life, an imprudent detail likely concocted based on the assumption that because his master tapes never surfaced and Mike’s mental state was troubled he would do something rash WITH HIS LIFE’S WORK. There’s also a version of the story where Mike’s family dumps the tapes after he dies. Why would they do that?
The truth is Mike’s masters remained in his bedroom for many years after his death in 1994. We know at least a few of Millard’s friends and acquaintances contacted his mother Lia inquiring about the tapes at the time to no avail. But in the early 2000s, longtime Millard friend Rob S was the one she knew and trusted enough to preserve Mike’s work.
The full back story on how Mike’s master tapes were saved can be found in the notes for Vol. 18 Pink Floyd, which was the first release in our series transferred from Millard’s original master tapes:
Jethro Tull, The Forum, Inglewood, CA, February 9, 1975
Our series carries on with yet another Millard fave, Jethro Tull, on tour in support of War Child released the previous October. Though I knew Jethro Tull was popular in the ’70s, I clearly underestimated just how big they were. This show was the fourth of five sold-out nights at The Forum, which means the band played to some 100,000 fans in the LA market alone. On top of that, they sold out two additional concerts at the San Diego Sports Arena. A year later, Tull played LA’s Memorial Coliseum, site of two Olympic Games in front of an estimated 80,000. Talk about big in SoCal.
This show holds an interesting place in Mike’s taping history as the final recording he would make on his original taping rig before buying the Nakamichi 550 and AKG mics. Jim R believes Mike used Shure mics and the deck was the Sony TC-152SD.
While we all know the AKG + Nak combo would create “juicy sonic magic” for Millard, he was getting good pulls prior to that, though curiously Mike rated this recording “Poor” on his own list. He does have some set-up problems in the first couple of minutes, reflected in a few channel dropouts and cuts we’ve fixed as best we can. But once things get on track, this is a highly satisfying recording and a big find for Tull collectors.
DIME user and Tull expert ninjadave tells us there are no other recordings of five LA ’75 shows, save for a partial tape of the final night on February 10 which he describes as “not very good.” Other Internet research suggests there are few high quality audience recordings from the entire tour, so this should prove to be a major addition. The sound is roomy, possibly because Mike and Jim were in the third row and not in direct line with the PA, but still very clear. It reminds me of the sound of the recently posted Fleetwood Mac ’77 without the richness of the AKG mics and Nak deck. Samples provided.
I’m not enough of a Tull fan to judge the performance but it appears to be a cracking one, with huge audience response. Ninjadave seemed especially excited to have a Millard recording from the War Child tour: “INCREDIBLE!!!!”
Here’s what Jim R recalled about the Tull show:
Mike and I together attended the Jethro Tull concert on Feb 9, 1975. We sat on the floor, 3rd row center, right in the sweet spot!!!
This show was in the "Pre Wheelchair Era,” as concert security was more relaxed at the time. I smuggled in fresh batteries in a fake lens case at the bottom of my camera bag. If Mike was stopped by security, he would simply offer up his batteries, knowing all the while I had a fresh set if needed.
This was also the "Pre Nak Era.” Mike used a Sony TC-152SD and Shure mics. It was the final concert for the Sony, which was retired in order to usher in the famous Nakamichi 550 in time to record Led Zeppelin’s area shows the following month.
Mike had not yet utilized the hat for holding his microphones. Instead, Mike taped the Shure mics to the armrests on his chair. We then covered them up with a jacket with the mic heads sticking out.
Tull was exploding on the concert scene and played five nights at the Forum which for 1975 was the highest level status for almost any rock band. A lot of this was due to "Bungle in the Jungle" getting a lot of FM airplay at the time.
This was our first Tull show together. Though we were not sure what to expect, our expectations were far exceeded. We became instant, diehard fans. We had to go the next night, scraping up tickets at the last minute. For that fifth and final show we sat in the Loge section, close to the stage. To my knowledge (and based on his list) Mike did not record the last night.
Tull frontman Ian Anderson gives a masterful performance. He is such a dynamic musician and entertainer. At times he is also very funny and you can hear Mike quietly chuckle at various points of the recording. The rest of the band is very tight.
In hindsight the sound quality was decent, not excellent. And when combined with the mics being about 2 feet lower (than in the hat), with less line of sight to the sound system, this resulted in sound quality a bit below Mike's standards set in the following years. Mike was in the midst of perfecting his craft.
Included are pictures I took, including one during the zebra skit mentioned by Ian if you listen closely. I hope you enjoy the photos.
JEMS is proud to partner with Rob, Jim R and Barry G to release Millard's historic recordings and to help set the record straight about the man himself. As Jim notes, this Jethro Tull show was in the “pre wheelchair era.” The wheelchair Mike and Jim ultimately came to use actually belonged to Mike’s father, who had mobility issues due to an old leg injury. He upgraded his wheelchair and Mike found a new use for had dad’s decommissioned one.
We can’t thank Rob enough for reconnecting with Jim and putting his trust in our Millard reissue campaign. He kept these precious tapes under wraps for two decades, but once Rob learned of our methods and stewardship, he agreed to contribute the Millard DATs and cassettes to the program.
Our series would lie fallow without the unwavering support of our post-production chief mjk5510. We appreciate everything you do.
In these unprecedented times we will continue to put more music in your hands and ears while everyone is bunkered in.
Please stay positive, help your neighbors, help strangers and let’s get to the other side of this intact. Better still, make a donation to a food bank or other key support organization helping out those who are struggling even more than you are to get by.
Lastly, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work never ceases to impress. May he rest in peace.
BK for JEMS
Images for all shows as well as full size images for this show.
Images for this show: