New York, NY (August 17, 2018)—A noted monitor engineer who worked with dozens of top acts across a nearly 40-year career, Michael P. Mule died in his sleep on August 16 in Las Vegas, having returned just days earlier from working on Iron Maiden’s summer European tour, which ended last Saturday in London. He was 57.
Born May 21, 1961, Mule (pronounced Mu-lay) grew up in Flushing, Queens in New York City, where he started working with friends’ bands while attending Bayside High School, and later while at New York University. As those groups began to land gigs in Manhattan, he made inroads into the city’s audio scene.
“I used to bug the hell out of the house engineers,” he told Pro Sound News in 2003, “and eventually my first real, sort of paying sound gig was doing audition nights at CBGB in the late Seventies…It was 10 bands a night, no waiting. All the knobs you could twist, with no consequences of twisting the wrong one!”
Eventually Mule hit the road in 1982, landing his first touring gig mixing front-of-house for Iggy Pop. “I was 21 years old and it was pretty interesting,” he recalled with a laugh. “He had a great band—Carlos Alomar on guitar, and from Blondie, Gary Valentine and Clem Burke playing drums. Great band, good experience for a 21-year-old.”
From there, Mule went on to make his mark in the touring world, mixing monitors over the years for artists in pop, rock, metal and R&B, including Guns N’ Roses, Cyndi Lauper, Nickelback, The Roots, A Perfect Circle, Alice In Chains, Bel Biv DeVoe, Van Halen, Boz Scaggs, Engelbert Humperdinck, Rush, Macy Gray, Richard Marx, The Alarm, Adam Ant, Anita Baker, Adam Sandler, New Edition, ELP, The The, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Donna Summer, Boyz II Men, Peter Murphy, Dashboard Confessional, Whitesnake, Paula Cole, Brandy, Was (Not Was), Pat Benatar, Blondie, Freddie Jackson and Julio Iglesias, to name only a few.
“The way I did it was perseverance, hard work, patience and listening to the people who have been doing it a long time,” he said. “Listening to the experienced people until you’ve formed your own basic way of doing things, because obviously nothing is set in stone in the audio industry—there’s 1,000 ways to do the same thing, as far as I’m concerned.”
Over the years, Mule lived in California, Tennessee, Colorado and Arizona, but in recent times, had settled in Las Vegas. His girlfriend, Judy Meyer, announced his passing on Facebook, writing, “I will miss him more than words can express. I know he was loved deeply by many. We will all miss him. He was truly unique. His sister Emily, best friend Juanita and I will have a memorial at some point. Our hearts are broken.”