Mikey Wild, mayor of South Street, punk-rock legend, auteur behind a song any Philadelphian could love called "I Hate New York," and outsider artist par excellence, died yesterday. Look for an obituary in Friday's Inquirer. Below, see a clip from Ed Wilcox's Wild documentary, I Was Punk Before You Were Punk.
Most long time South Street habitues have Mikey Wild stories to tell. Here's a couple.
Chris Simpson of the Philadelphia Record Exchange: "Wow. Mikey would come by the Record Exchange about ten times a day. at the time that store was fairly anarchistic and although it was a real place of business it was also kind of a clubhouse for anybody in the scene. Mikey was like this permanent kid who just loved punk rock and old horror movies, and we used to goof around with him all the time, playing scary music and pretending to be zombies and chase him down the street. I'll say this about him: he was pretty funny. We put out the "I Hate New York" 7" with his band The Mess, which was a band that really lived up to its name. Later, when he became a visual artist we must have bought several hundred of his drawings from him - he'd just dash them off in two or three minutes and sell them for pocket change, or we'd go out and buy him art supplies and he'd do some drawings. The drawings were hilarious: Hitler playing a banjo, the Wolfman smoking a cigarette, Vincent Price hanging out with John Lennon, or Jesus boxing with the Pope. There may be thousands of them. every business on South Street has one or two, probably."
George Manney, Philadelphia musician and filmmaker: "Mikey was a kind soul and funny man. My first recollection of meeting Mikey was after a performance I did at the old JC Dobbs in the late 70's. He liked how I played the drums and was excited about performing sometime with me. That came true when the late Alan Mann invited Mikey to sing with the Alan Mann Band at JC Dobbs to perform the song, "Die, Die Die".