SHOCK TREATMENT NETWORK PRESENTS AN EXCLUSIVE
INTERVIEW WITH DON MIKE
The Remixer of "Shock Treatment (Don Mike Remix)"
For nearly a decade, the Don Mike remix of the song "Shock
Treatment" has been passed along, fan to fan. The song, featuring
special effects, edits, extended drum intros, vocal effects and samples,
has delighted everyone who heard it. It was so well made that rumours
circulated that the song was perhaps a "promotional" release, remixed and
endorsed by 20th Century Fox or Ode records/Warner Brothers records.
Others felt that it was just a fan made remix, regardless of how professional
Well, now the rumours can come to a rest because The Shock Treatment
Network has found Don Mike (living in Hollywood) and he has agreed to an
interview to tell us how Shock Treatment (Don Mike Remix) came to
exist...a mix made by a fan, for the fans. I sent him an email stating
how much Shock Treatment fans enjoyed his mix. Here was his reply:
Don Mike: Hey there. Thanks for all those
awesome things you said about me. I won't need an ego boost for a
loooooong time. LOL! I'm totally blown away by the news that
this remix has gotten so much attention. I honestly made it for myself
because I love the movie and the song so much. I never had any idea
it would be such a big deal. I'm thrilled people have enjoyed it
as much as I do.
Shock Treatment Network: Tell us about your introduction
to Shock Treatment (the movie) and how you liked it. How do you like
DM: Well, I have to admit. I hated the movie the
first time I saw it. I had heard the songs that were on the Rocky
Horror Box Set and totally loved them. I was so excited about the
movie (and probably had way to high expectations) and found that I was
very disappointed by it. But the music really stayed with me.
I had to see it again and the second time I thought, "hey, this ain't so
bad". By the third time I was hooked. The funny thing is that
I've heard this exact same thing from several ST fans and have in fact
recommended second and third viewings to people who have told me they didn't
theshocktreatmentnetwork: What made you decide to remix Shock Treatment (the
DM: I loved the single version [Richard O'Brien solo]
but when I heard the movie version [with Richard, Pat and Nell] I got the
idea that it would be really cool to mix the two together. I also
ended up with a very different version of the song, which sparked my creativity.
I had this surround sound processor for my stereo that would simulate surround
sound by taking a stereo track, cancelling out anything that fell to the
center of the mix and pushing the remaining sound out through the extra
speakers. The cool thing was that if you turned off the main speakers
and only listened to this effect you would often get a strange sort of
instrumental because the vocals are usually dead center in the stereo field
and therefore the first thing to be dropped. When you listen to this
version, the guitar playing really stands out and you can clearly hear
Nell singing the backing vocals in the chorous. I realized that I
needed to do something with all these ideas. I had done a few extended
versions of songs back when I was a college radio DJ by re-editing various
existing remixes together or sometimes taking a short song and extending
the parts that were already instrumental. But I had never attempted
something of this scale before.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: What kind of thought process did you have for mixing
the song. In other words, you might have said, "I think it would
be cool to extend the drums...and hey, it would be cool to overlap the
two versions of the song...and samples." Was there any ideas that
you wanted to do for the mix, but couldn't do it technology-wise at that
point in time (since you didn't edit on comnputer).
DM: I was production manager of my college radio station,
and I learned to make due with what I had. When I made the mix I
was working at a company that did production for adult phone services.
We had an 8-track studio where I would record and mix the phone fantasies
(would you expect something borne out of Rocky Horror to have a less glamourous
beginning? LOL). I knew I wanted to mix Richard's and Nell's
vocals in the third verse, and to somehow use a few sections of that strange
instrumental mix I mentioned earlier. I also had my friend record
the entire movie onto cassette from his stereo VCR so I would have a clean
source for the samples. I started with some experiments, like the
drum loop. I really liked the way that turned out so I used it for
different parts of the remix. There is only one thing that I wanted
to do that didn't work out. There's a really neat little guitar riff
that comes during the line "open your heart to a smooth operator" which
I always thought was really cool. I wanted to do something with it
but just didn't have any room in the mix. It does jump out (if you
listen for it) in my mix becuase it appeared in both the movie mix and
the single one, and since I played both of them together it gave that little
riff a really nice thick sound. So I sort of got what I wanted.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: What type of equipment did you mix it with and describe
the remixing process.
DM: I started by making the drum loop by recording the
drum intro over and over and then editing them all together (this was the
early 90's, before digital loops were something you could easily do at
home). I then dumped that to the 8-track recorder so I could layer
in the samples for the beginning and the end of the mix. I also used
an echo effect on the drum loop so that it almost has a techno feel to
it (which was just getting popular at that time). I actually recorded
it two times, once for the intro to the mix and once for the ending, since
there were so many samples. I wanted to make sure the samples were
placed all over the stereo field so if you listen to the mix with headphones
the samples jump all around you and don't just stay in the center.
I had originally called it "Shock Treatment (Janet's mix)" because almost
all the samples center around Janet. That was sort of planned, just
because I love the fact that the name "Janet" is said so many times in
the movie. You could make a drinking game out of it. Next I
recorded the single version, that instrumental I mentioned earlier and
the movie versions all side by side on the 8-track. This way I could
mix in and out of them as I needed. I had to change the tape speed
to synch up the movie and single versions because they both run at different
speeds. I settled somewhere in the middle of the two for my mix.
Finally, I mixed all the parts separately onto a 1/4 inch reel to reel
and then edited all the parts together. Part 1 is the drum loop with
the opening samples (notice the intro to the "Overture" just before the
drums start?). Part 2 is the first half of the song with the movie
and single versions mixed together. Part 3 is what I call the
psychedelic section. I got this by screwing around with the guitar
solo in the single version, putting it through some wild echo filters and
fading it in and out while the instrumental version kept the beat going.
And truth be told, the "real live wire" sample here was totally an accident
and it really ended up being one of the best parts. Part 4 is the
chorous exactly as it is in the instrumental only with a little chorus
filter and the Farley sample (which I had to put in there somewhere).
Part 5 is the drum loop again with the famous "mexicans" speech. This came
out of either the intro or the ending (I don't remember) where I had too
many samples and not enough room to stick them in. I decided to stick
this little gem right in the middle of the song and it worked much better
that way. Here's a nifty bit of trivia for you. Have you ever
noticed the little orchestra hit that plays under Janet and Emily during
this part? It's the very last note of "Anyhow, Anyhow" played on
a sampler. I wanted to include the very first and very last musical
pieces from the movie in the remix. I'm such a nerd. Part 6
is the actual guitar solo and ending of the single version. And finally,
Part 7 is the ending tape loop. When I added this to the 8-track
I had it start shortly before the single version ends so that it would
sound like the song is just supposed to keep on going and not stop there.
The part about the bird that ends the mix was the suggestion of a friend
of mine. I'm glad she suggested it because I think it wraps up the
whole thing nicely.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: How long did it take you to make it?
DM: The acutal dubbing and mixing took three days to do.
Luckily, my job was really easy and there was a lot of downtime, so I was
able to spend big chunks of my day working just on this. I think
it's funny that I did the whole thing on the clock. The company has
since gone under so I can say that now, LOL.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: Were you initially happy with the outcome? Are you
still happy? (Artists are their own worst critics).
DM: Honestly, I love it. I worked very hard on it
and did several mixes to the 1/4 inch tape before making the final edit.
I didn't consider it to be finished until I was 100% satisfied. I
didn't make it for anybody else, I made it for me because there wasn't
a Shock Treatment remix and I wanted to hear one. I gave it to people
because I enjoyed it so much and was very proud of it. And the friends
I played it for enjoyed it. So I felt that I had done a good job.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: How many copies did you send out? How did it
end up being in so many other peoples hands and how do you feel
DM: I gave a handfull of copies out to friends.
I think it went on a bootleg compiliation somewhere. I remember giving
some to cast members at a special performance my friend Matt put together
at a theater in Michagan. I would guess the biggest culprit
is my friend Betty [Thomas]. Everyone who is anyone in the cult of
Rocky Horror knows Betty so I'm sure she had a hand in spreading it around
somehow. I'm thrilled that so many people have heard it. I
like to share the things I have so I was always happy to make a copy for
anyone who asked for it.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: Over the years, have you heard about the rumours
and curiousity of your mix? If so, why haven't you stepped forward?
DM: I had no idea. This is the first time I've heard
anything about this. It's kind of overwhelming.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: What year did you make the mix?
DM: It was sometime during 1993. Our cast was performing
Shock Treatment for Halloween and I know it was done around the time of
the show because we were all really into the movie at the time.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: Do you still have the first original copy of? Most
fans have are generation copies that have poor sound quality usually, from
being a "copy of a copy of a copy..."
DM: You know, I had made a compilation CD of Rocky Related
stuff for myself and a few friends by sending a tape to a service that
made CDs to preserve old records and such. Of all the things on that
compilation, I made it a point to put the ST remix on a cassette directly
from the 1/4 inch tape and that cassette went into making the CD so it
is the cleanest version possible. I'll be more than happy to burn
you a copy.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: Did you remix any other Shock Treatment or Rocky
DM: I did a remix of Little Nell's Beauty Queen which
came out really nice but sadly I only made myself one copy that is really
worn now. I'm going to make a wav file out of it and do my best to
clean it up. I would like to totally redo it on my computer now that
I can, but I need a good digital copy of the original 45, because the vocals
and the music are in separate channels. I have the 45, but I don't
have a turntable right now. My other mixes include a stereo mix of
"Sword of Damocles" that features an instrumental break in the middle,
a stereo mix of "Planet, Schmanet, Janet", and a version of "Once
in a While" with Janet's dialogue in the empty spaces between verses.
They were fun but not anywhere near as involved as the Shock Treatment
theshocktreatmentnetwork: Now that computer technology has advanced for fans
to remix on computer, do you currently mix songs (Shock Treatment, Rocky
Horror, or anything!) on the computer? If so, I'd love to compile
a CD of Don Mike Mixes and offer it exclusively at The Shock Treatment
DM: I just recently did a few mixes of the Suzanne Vega
song "Tom's Diner". I would love to do a brand new remix of Beauty
Queen in addition to the one I mentioned earlier, with just Nell's vocals
put to modern club dance music. I would also like to do something with
"The Time Warp" and incorporate the "Transylvanian Jam" from the end of
the movie into the mix. I'll be happy to send you copies of everything
I have. These days I've been acutally scoring adult films.
I've written original music for "G-String Vampire", "Vampire Obsession"
and "Witches of Sappho Salon", all from Seducion Cinema. And most
recently I've been working with the Tom of Finland Foundation on an animated
safe-sex PSA that will bring Tom's art to life. We are hoping to
eventually turn this into a full-length animated feature film. I
also sing and write songs and want to start a gay punk band.
theshocktreatmentnetwork: Well, Don, that's all the questions I have.
As Betty Hapschatt would say, "Thank you so much, Don Mike, for a wonderful
DM: This has been an absolute pleasure (hee hee)!!!
The one thing I love to do the most, next to writing and mixing songs,
is to talk about writing and mixing songs, LOL. Take care and please
keep in touch. Keep Groovin'. Don Mike.
NOTE: You can hear Don Mike's remix of Shock Treatment when
you become a member of The Shock Treatment Network by clicking HERE!
HERE ARE TWO MORE PICS OF DON MIKE!