Mike Park is nothing short of a ska punk legend. Beyond being an activist and a touring musician with more than 30 years of onstage experience, Park is best-known for his work with Asian Man Records. The label’s founder/owner/pretty much everything else started Asian Man in his parent’s house in 1996. In the 24 years since that humble beginning, Park’s venture has managed more than 300 releases, helped introduce the world to bands like Less Than Jake and Alkaline Trio, and has outlasted many of its—oftentimes much larger—record label counterparts as the music industry experienced immense change around him…all while staying true its D.I.Y. ethics and without moving to a larger office.
Recently, with most of the country under quarantine, My First Band host Tyler Maas took a shot in the dark and asked Park if he wanted to be a guest on the podcast. He said yes! After Maas fanned out for a few minutes, the seasoned ska punk and longtime label owner opened up about his high school hardcore band, his time with Skankin’ Pickle, the start and the philosophy of Asian Man Records, his current artistic endeavors like Bruce Lee Band and Kitty Kat Fan Club, and why staying small and specialized has translated to label longevity. Over the course of the hour-plus conversation, Park also talked about giving RoboCop star Peter Weller a ride to the airport, signing a major label deal in Korea, and striking up a friendship with Biz Markie while they were part of a nationwide Yo Gabba Gabba theater tour.
My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Bruce Lee Band (“If I Could Only Listen To My Heart”). If you like My First Band and/or Milwaukee Record, please consider supporting the site by donating to our GoFundMe relief fund.