October of 1965 Mike put on a second D-Town review, this
time at the plush 20 Grand. But his impressive roster of
artists were beginning to feel restless due to their lack of
chart success, and singer-songwriter Melvin Davis, who
recorded for Mike's Wheel City label, recalled the
Hanks was really a devoted person when it came to the music
industry. He loved the music business. He hated Berry Gordy.
He didn't want to give Berry the credit for being the
innovator and the visionary that he really was. Mike thought
he was just as good as Berry - which he wasn't. He was a
good guy; don't get me wrong. He was good for the music
business, he gave a lot of people a lot of opportunity. He
gave me an opportunity to develop. He had the biggest heart.
He'd let you come in and try to do what you could do, 'Man!
That sounds good, man. That sounds good! Berry Gordy - that
mother fu--er, he ain't shit, man. I can't stand that
mother fu--er.' He would cuss him out every single
day! He'd sneak all the Motown musicians in at night.
He'd say, 'That's
what it is! He's got all those damn musicians. If he
didn't have Jamerson, he wouldn't have shit.' He
refused to realize that this man (Berry) put together a
recording machine that was second to none. From the songs
themselves having such great content, to the melodies being
great, to the production being great, to the musicians being
great, to the promotion. He even had people tell you how to
walk, how to talk. he put the whole package together.
That's what Mike didn't understand. I think he
understood it, but I think he thought it was simpler than
what it was. But Mike's stuff was good too! But it
wasn't the calibre of Motown. But it didn't have to be!
Everything doesn't have to be Motown. I think that's
what kinda pissed him off."
well as running D-Town Mike also started other
subsidiary record labels, such as Wheel City, Wheelsville
USA, GIG, HOG and USD. None had any more luck than
prompted him to also start making gospel recordings, which
were released on a "Devotional Series" label. The
label's six releases include a couple by the Staple
Singers and two by The Meditations. And Mike also produced a
gospel LP by The Edward LaNier Gospel Singers, released on
the Hallelujah label.
by August of '66 D-Town had released the last of its
forty-three records, which left Wheelsville USA as
the main outlet for Mike's music.
Notes thanks to Graham
image must not be
reproduced, used or copied photograph
credits at end of webisode