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Mad Mike

Mad Mike's Moldies - Uncovered Gems

Pittsburgh DJ Mad Mike is known to record collectors and oldies fans around the world for his five album series of oldies compilations entitled “Mad Mike’s Moldy Oldies”.  His albums feature an eclectic mix of R&B, Rockabilly, and garage rock tunes by little known small label bands that he played on his radio shows and at record hops.  During the 1960’s Mad Mike was a DJ on WZUM in Carnegie. Pa and he hosted packed teen dances around the Pittsburgh area.  Looking to unearth interesting tunes, he rummaged from coast to coast through stacks of 45s buried in record store bargain bins and in the back rooms of record distributors.  With his keen ear he searched for unique never heard of wild underground records. buy 10,000 overstock records at a penny or two a shot.    He introduced his listeners to the punk songs “The Witch” and “Psycho” by the Sonics of Tacoma, "Wooly Bully" and “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs of Memphis, and “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James. He often did not announce the names of the obscure groups that he played, making it difficult to go out and buy copies.  Cleverly he built fan loyalty as his listeners had to keep tuning in or go to his dances to hear those wild songs again.  No one else had his records.  To keep his songs shrouded in mystery he scratched out or glued comics over the names of the bands on his 45 records.  Some songs he played only once.  He’d announced "Listen in - you may never hear this song again”.

Mad Mike Metrovich, who was born in 1936 in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh, grew up in Overbrook.  Mike became a fan of Fats Domino and Big Joe Turner in the 1950s while he stationed at a Brooklyn navel base.   Leaving the Navy in 1959, Mike hosted record hops for a living.  He regularly DJ’d dances at West View's Teen Danceland, Mt. Lebanon's Lebanon Lodge, Castle Shannon's Linden Grove, North Park's Wildwood, and McKeesport's White Elephant.  He was so popular in 1964 that he drew 2,000 dancers to Westview Park’s Danceland, while the young Rolling Stones played for only 200 people next door.  In their leather jackets with their greased back Mad Mike’s fans danced on tables to his hand picked crazy new secret tunes.

As his popularity as a DJ grew, he landed his first radio DJ job at WPIT-AM in 1964.  He switched over to WZUM-AM on August 2, 1964 staying there until 1972.  He later hosted oldies shows on Sunday nights on WYEP-FM in the 1980s and on WEDO-AM and WWCS-AM,"   After a hiatus from on air work, he returned to WZUM in 2000.  Mike played two segments on his shows.  During the Mad Mike's Moldies segment he played floor pounding R&B and weird doo-wop tunes.  On the second Mad Mike's Monsters segment he featured garage rock, surf music, and wild instrumentals that would get his listeners ‘ movin' and ‘booty shakin'.  While the English Invasion ran it’s blitzkrieg over radio, Mad Mike introduced Pittsburgh to garage rock, proto-punk and rockabilly. 

Mike was a studio electronics wizard with a first class FCC license who worked as a studio engineer at several stations.  He troubleshot and repaired radio transmitters and broadcast equipment. He also taught local broadcasters.

During the 1960’s, Pittsburgh’s National Record Mart chain (NRM), first released Mad Mike’s Moldies & Monsters albums.  They were comprised of Mike’s secret songs whose identities had been uncovered.   Norton Records reissued Mad Mike compilations on CDs in 2006?  "Mad Mike" Metrovich signed off from planet Earth in Oct 31, 2000, leaving behind a broadcasting legacy and a collection of wild music. .


Mad Mike's Monsters