Music News

Mickey Clean, Fort Lauderdale's Favorite Beach Bum, in an Old Episode of TV Party

The cover story in this week's print product chronicles the life of one of Fort Lauderdale's favorite characters: Mickey Clean, the man who has drawn crayon caricatures of tourists and locals by the beach for the past ten years.

Among the many things most people don't know about Mickey -- born Michael Cleanthes 60 years ago in New York -- is that he was actually in one of the formative punk bands in the country. It was Boston, in the early 1970s, and his band was called Mickey Clean and the Mezz. (He also went to one of the best art schools in the nation and briefly taught art at Harvard.)

Below is video evidence of his punk exploits from TV Party, a New York public-access show hosted by Glenn O'Brien.

The show, popular among retro-crazed scenesters, is known for introducing the world to new-wave icons like Mick Jones (the Clash), David Byrne (Talking Heads), and Debbie Harry (Blondie). This episode, which aired February 17, 1981, less than a month after Ronald Reagan took office, had a "Crusades" theme and featured a man dressed as a monk playing the accordion and another man dressed as an Arthurian knight playing the drums.

As Mickey says, "
Heroin was getting real big back then."

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Michael J. Mooney