In the 70s and 80s, amateur recordist Mike “The Mic” Millard captured now-iconic performances by Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and others around his Southern California home by sneaking in recording gear under the guise of a wheelchair.
Millard’s recordings have grown a reputation as some of the best audience bootlegs of the era with his sly technique of getting equipment in the door only helping propel that legacy. With new mini-documentary Juicy Sonic Magic, The National pay tribute to Millard by telling his story and documenting their attempt to imitate his sound.
The 10-minute documentary directed by David DuBois serves as a prelude to The National: Juicy Sonic Magic, Live in Berkeley, September 24-25, 2018, a live-cassette box set the band will release for Record Store Day Black Friday. That box set captures an attempt by archivist Erik Flannigan to recreate the magic of Millard’s method by using vintage recording gear identical to what Millard used during his heyday.
The mini-doc, which is available now via the band’s YouTube channel, features interviews with Jim Reinstein—a friend of Millard’s who pushed him and his wheelchair into dozens of shows, The National singer Matt Berninger, and the box set’s producer Erik Flannigan.