|Pertinent Praise and Prose
"A talented guy, a very funny man, and a wonderful friend. His song parodies were remarkable. I miss him very much."
Bill "Wallace" Thompson
"He was my little brother. He was my biggest musical inspiration, and he's the one I miss the most. "In My Life"... I'll never know another Mike Condello."
Pat McMahon (Hub Kapp)
"Michael, you left too soon, unfinished works of music and thought. We wanted more from you, damn buddy, you conditioned us all to love you in so many ways, in laughter, in song, in melody and music and most of all as a person, and then you jump ship. I know it was not really you that left, I will never really believe that, you’re still here, I hear you in a note that sounds right, a guitar string that rings as if you’d touched it, in a calm and introspective look on a strangers face. I’ve only been able to cope knowing that one day we will be doing a set together, some place, somewhere. Love you bud!"
Rich Post (Stage 7 Combo, Mike Condello Combo, Hub Kapp & The Wheels, Commodore Condello's...)
"In the early years of the Dr. Demento Show, I became aware of some very neat comedy music that came from Phoenix in the 1960s and '70s -- "Obese Man" and "Soggy Cereal" in particular. Various names were attached to the recordings, but gradually I realized that much of it sprang from the talents of one man, Mike Condello. Jon Schwartz hipped me to more of Mike's work, and eventually I got to meet the man himself, all too briefly. He had an amazing if underappreciated talent for words and music, humorous and otherwise. He might have been the best rock parodist of the whole pre-Yankovic era. I wish he were still around, and I'm proud to have my words on this website. Thanks, Jon."
Dr. Demento (syndicated radio host and musicologist)
Memo to Mike Condello:
We had some great times working (no, having fun) with Wallace, Ladmo and Pat on the TV show. Your musical achievements contributed to a lot of the success of that show as well as our "traveling Wallace and Ladmo road show" when we hit the streets of the state of Arizona to put on our skits, sing our songs and make the young kids happy.
One of my most memorable moments was when Wallace suggested that I sing a Beatles song with you on the road show. I still remember it well. "I should have known better with a girl like you..." Remember it, Mike? You had to punch me in the ribs most times because I was singing louder that you. God, what fun it was. You left us much to early, Mike. But there are always the memories.
Tony Evans (KRIZ-AM Radio Personality, Top DJ in Phoenix during the '60s)
When I was 15 years old I was looking for a guitar teacher. I used to see the Stage 7 Combo at the fair and different public gatherings. I looked in the Yellow pages under Music and saw Stage 7 Prods. listed. I called and Mike answered. I asked if he gave guitar lessons and said that it wasn't something he'd thought of doing but "Hey, what the heck, sure." I went to the office every Wed at 6 with my favorite Ventures record. He'd take it home and then the next week teach me the songs that I wanted to learn. When the Beatles first record came out I brought it in and he wrote out the charts right then..It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted until his surprise demise...a beautiful man. I think of him whenever I am playing and looking for inspiration.
Mick Mashbir (Jaguars, Thackery Rocke, Alice Cooper, Flo 'n' Eddie, Turtles)
Mike was one of the world's funniest people. He was as playful as any 6 year old child. He was a poet, a philosopher, a scientist, a dedicated, loving father, and a courageous person who was often overcome by fits of cowardliness. About a year after he died, I had a dream that Mike was in. He was smiling and waving. He got onto the back of a trolly car and smiled and waved till he was gone. When I woke up, I wasn't mad at him any more for killing himself.
Doug Haywood (Session bass player, friend and colleague of Mike)
"My first computer was this ridiculous outdated thing a friend gave me - I don't remember what it was called, but you had to type in DOS commands to get it to work, and printing something used to take about half an hour for a single page. Dagmar (then my girlfriend, now my wife)and I had no manual for it, but with Dag's little bit of computer experience we tried to figure it out. It was very frustrating. It probably didn't help that it was downstairs in the garage, beneath a hanging bare light bulb. I mentioned this computer to Mike, and it turned out he had the exact same dinosaur machine, and was really into getting it to work! He even had a manual, which he lent me. I used to make tech calls to him all the time, and he would try to walk me through something like setting up a database for a mailing list. He used to tell me that computers were very, very "unforgiving", meaning you couldn't leave off a letter or decimal point or anything from a command and expect it to work. This sort of thing pissed him off, but he was also fascinated with the computer. Once he showed me a list of band names he'd made up from word combinations his ancient spell checker had come up with when it couldn't understand someone's name or something in whatever he was typing. The names were pretty funny. It was during this time when he began calling his music production company "Unlikely Entertainment", a name I first saw on some stationery he'd designed and printed out using the computer. I still think that's an absoutely brilliant name for a company..."
Andy Robinson (Elton Duck, The Questionaires)
"We used to have a party after the Ladmo Jets or KRIZ Whizbangs games, usually at Ladmo's or Pat McMahon's house. Pizza would be the only item on the menu and we would watch old B-movies and relax. On several occasions, Mike would be in another room with his guitar and start composing songs that would later be performed by his group at the various W & L functions. Mike was very talented and was gifted in that he could compose very good material at a moment's notice. He was a well-liked and fun to be with, although at times he could be rather moody."
Ron Edwards (KRIZ Radio Personality)
"The Wallace and Ladmo Show made milk spray out of my nose as a kid, and I found myself tuning in (and giggling) way beyond the normal cartoon viewing age. But I wasn't alone, every toddler and College student within viewing range was doing the same thing. This phenomena was greatly enhanced by the neverending creative support from Pat and Mike with whom Wallace and Ladmo were always generous to share the spotlight. We found comfort in them being there, and they always were. Captain Super and Hubcap and the Wheels are as memorable to me as Yosemite Sam and Taz.
When Mike performed his original songs, it became a serious interlude. That special mix of sincere musical dedication in the midst of all the off-the-cuff silliness made an endearing impression on me as well as the other members of The Earwigs, and Alice Cooper. It really meant something to us, we incorporated it, it kept us smiling."
Dennis Dunaway (The Earwigs, The Spiders, The Alice Cooper Band)
"Mostly knew him from working on the Jetzon record. Can't remember how we met exactly but somehow he wound up producing it. Every now and then you run into someone who seems to have evolved upwards from the eat, meet girls and make money cycle and Mike was one of those few. He really worked hard on that record and if it has any merit it is in no small part due to his efforts. He was a funny cat, too. I remember during a particularly tension filled session he grabbed a round mike windscreen and put it on his nose, you had to be there. It was hysterical. I suppose like many Phoenicians in my age bracket "Wallace and Ladmo" was a huge part of my life. I was more impressed at meeting Mike Condello than any subsequent celebrity I've crossed paths with over the years. By the same token, I'm extremely glad that I got to know him and just hang out. At any rate, my life got a little more complicated and weird after that and we just lost touch for the most part. The next thing I knew he had taken his life. I'm still shaking my head over that one and to be honest, I sincerely miss the guy."
Bruce Connole (The Jetzons)
"What I remember about Mike was that he was so humble, nice, non-pretentious, never lost his temper, cool, he fit in. One of those perfect human beings where you can't find anything wrong with them. Me and Bruce [Connole] always had this sort of mutual respect for each other - a chemistry - Mike fit right into all of this and to this day was probably one of the most talented and appealing personalities I've ever worked with. Everyone in the band liked working with this guy."
Brad Buxer (The Jetzons, Michael Jackson's Musical Director since 1990)
"I met Mike in 1965 or 1966 at JD's, a two level night club, located on Scottsdale Road and the River Bottom. He was playing downstairs while W. Jennings was playing upstairs. I was a cowboy with horses at the time but didn't care for Western music and was a rock and roll type of guy. The first thing that drew me to Mike was his humor and soon became his Uncle Slagge. He had a infectious smile and laugh that made me happy. We used to have the best of times joking and laughing for hours. I miss the laughter and the great mind behind it all."
Slagge T. Pyle (A Slagge T. Pyle Production)
"As the leader of his own combo, plus Hub Kapp and the Wheels, Commodore Condello's Salt River Navy Band and the Ladmo Trio, Condello unarguably influenced more future Valley musicians than anyone else. Ho Ho, Ha Ha, Hee Hee, Ha Ha remains, to this day, the most beloved song in Arizona history."
Earl Searleman (Staff Writer, The Arizona Republic)
"I grew up in Phoenix in the '60s and was hooked on Wallace & Ladmo and of course, Mike’s music. Years later in California, I found a 12” acetate with some familiar titles typed on the label, and recognized an obvious Condello project. I introduced myself to Mike at an Elton Duck show in L.A. and, when I learned that he didn't have a copy of some of that material, arranged to give him the acetate. It turned out those were the tracks for an unreleased ‘comedy album’ by Commodore Condello’s Salt River Navy Band. We struck up a friendship that lasted until his unfortunate death. I hope our paths cross again 'out there', that would be nice. It has been nice."
Bermuda Schwartz (The “Weird Al” Yankovic Band)