Costa Mesa, CA
October 22, 1990
Mike Millard Original Master Tapes via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 20
Recording Gear: AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder
JEMS 2020 Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassette > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX6 > iZotope Ozone 6 > MBIT+ resample to 16/44 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC
01 It�s So Easy
02 When Will I Be Loved?
03 Blue Bayou
04 Tumbling Dice
05 Ooh Baby Baby
06 Just One Look
07 Hurts So Bad
08 I Can�t Let Go
09 Still Within The Sound Of My Voice
10 The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
12 I Keep It Hid
14 Don�t Know Much (with Aaron Neville)
15 I Need You (with Aaron Neville)
16 All My Life (with Aaron Neville)
17 Trouble Again
18 Cry Like A Rainstorm
19 You�re No Good
20 Back In The USA
21 Poor Poor Pitiful
Intro 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 LA circa 1975-77. For further details on how tapes in this series came to be lost and found again, as well as JEMS' history with Mike Millard, please refer to the notes in Vol. One: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=500680
Until this year, 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 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 long gone. Internet myths suggest Millard destroyed his master tapes before taking his own life, an imprudent detail likely concocted based on assumptions 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.
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 after his death 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.
Here is Rob�s account of how Millard�s master tapes were saved:
After Mike left us, I visited his mom Lia occasionally, usually around the holidays. She�d talk about the grandkids and show me pictures. She had no one to help out around the house so I did some minor improvements like fixing a kitchen shelf that collapsed and another time a gate that hadn�t worked for years.
After a few visits, I explained to Lia how the tapes were metal, up to 25 years old already and would eventually deteriorate. She agreed to let me take the tapes and make copies. We went into Mike�s bedroom and it was exactly like I remembered it when I was there years before. I loaded up every tape I could find and went to work copying them. Oldest first, some requiring �surgery.�
Months later when I was done copying, I compared what I had copied to a list Mike had compiled of his masters and realized there were many shows missing. I returned the tapes and asked Lia if we could see if there were any more somewhere else in the house. We went into a back bedroom and found a bunch of boxes filled with more original master tapes. I loaded them up, thanked Lia and left. This was the last time I would see her. I copied the rest of the tapes and stored the masters in a cool dry place until late last year when Jim R. reached out. We had known each other through Mike. After speaking with Jim, and later BK who had tracked him down, I knew their partnership was the �right way� to get this music out to everyone who wanted it. I�m sure Mike would have agreed.
Initially, Rob copied a large batch of Millard�s master cassettes to DAT and returned them to the house. The second time around, he was given a large portion of the cassette collection, different from what he had copied to DAT.
The first round of DAT transfers features some of Millard�s most famous recordings of Led Zeppelin, ELP, the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull. The second traunch of actual cassette masters includes his captures of Yes, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Rush and Pink Floyd.
As exciting as it is to access Millard�s masters of the shows we know and love, there are many new recordings in both collections from artists like Elton John, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Eric Clapton, The Who, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Guns N� Roses, Linda Ronstadt, David Bowie, the Moody Blues, U2 and more.
Even with an information gap in the mid �80s when Millard was surely taping but there is no tape or written evidence as to what he captured, we have confirmed over 290 shows Millard did record. Of those, there are master cassettes for approximately 100 shows, DATs off masters of another 75 and first generation analog copies for 30-35. Together, that nearly quadruples the number of extant Millard recordings.
Our original master tapes series began with Pink Floyd, which you can find here:
Linda Ronstadt, Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, CA, October 22, 1990
We continue our series with another recording we believe to be previously uncirculated, Mike�s favorite female artist Linda Ronstadt performing at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, a venue that become something of a home court late in his taping career. Millard recorded over two dozen shows there circa 1989-92 and, based on this recording and others, he seemed to be able to regularly procure tickets extremely close to the PA. On this night his seat was row CC, Seat 22.
The master cassette of this show was among those Rob obtained in his second meeting with Mike�s mom Lia. It was recorded on a Maxwell XL II-S 100 min cassette and transferred from that tape earlier this year. Mike recorded Linda on at least seven different occasions including a show at the Universal Amphitheatre ten days earlier. Both 1990 shows feature Aaron Neville with whom Ronstadt had a recent and massive hit with the single �Don�t Know Much� which went all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The quality of this recording is outstanding and incredibly up close. Mike must have been sitting directly in front of the PA, so much so that we�ve had to pull the bass back because the AKGs and Nak 550 were getting everything the bass cabinet was pouring out. While Linda had not done substantial touring in the late �80s, her voice in 1990 hasn�t lost anything and with a crack band, these performances sound every bit as good as those Mike recorded during Linda�s legendary Universal Amphitheatre stand in 1977. Samples provided. Linda is also endearingly chatty during the show and seems to be enjoying herself and a return to the material that made her famous. We also get great songs from the middle years, like the fantastic version of �I Can�t Let Go� from 1980�s Mad Love.
One interesting thing we presumed but have now confirmed through the discovery of Mike�s masters is that he recorded on his Nakamichi 550 cassette deck all the way through his final work in 1992. While portable DAT became commercially available in the States three years earlier, Mike stuck with the format he knew and trusted. Incredibly, Rob S still has in his possession Mike�s original, often-repaired Nakamichi 550, which he is saving to donate to the Smithsonian when they wise up and realize its importance in music history. On the back of the unit is a small sticker where Mike kept track of �Hours of Use.� Given the numbers are all single digits, the likely represent how many hours were on the current set of batteries. Incredibly, because of extremely low current drain, a 550 can run 15 hours continuously on one set of D cels.
JEMS is thrilled 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. We can�t thank Rob enough for reconnecting with Jim and putting his trust in our Millard reissue campaign. He has kept these precious tapes under wraps for two decades, but once he learned of our methods and stewardship, he agreed to contribute the Millard DATs and cassettes to the program.
Our series would not happen without the support of our post-production lead mjk5510, whose essential work is the backbone of all JEMS projects.
Finally, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. May they rest in peace. Can�t wait to hear the heaven tapes someday.
BK for JEMS
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