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Mick Marsh, NYC DJ & nightlife promoter, RIP

photo: Louise Fenton
photo: Louise Fenton

Mick Marsh, a regular fixture in the Lower East Side and Williamsburg nightlife scene and DJ at Motor City, Pianos, Enid’s, and more, has died. Details are scarce but tributes have been pouring in. Having grown up in California, Mick was a walking music encyclopedia, having been a mod in the ’80s and, on moving to London, put his deep knowledge and good taste to use and quickly became an in-demand soul DJ, spinning at Erol Alkan’s “Trash” night and more. (This was well before Jonathan Toubin did similar things in NYC.) Mick moved to NYC in the early ’00s, where he soon found himself part the LES scene, spinning records at many spots on Ludlow St (Motor City in particular) and creating his own DJ nights.

While Mick wasn’t in bands, he might as well have been; he was tight with the psych/shoegaze scene and counted The Warlocks, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and others as friends. He had moved back to California and was most recently living in San Francisco.

“Any day you saw Mick Marsh was automatically a better day for it,” said Mick’s sometimes DJ partner, writer and music supervisor Greg Caz. “He made you love life. Truly one of a kind.” Friend and fellow DJ Jonathan Toubin wrote a particularly beautiful tribute to Mick and you can read that, along with tributes from BJM’s Anton Newcombe, Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin, Jason’ ‘Plucky’ Anchondo from The Warlocks, Dion Lunadon of A Place to Bury Strangers, and others, below.

Rest in peace, Mick.

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so sad to learn about the passing of my old friend MICK MARSH. mick was a sweet and adventurous man with boundless enthusiasm and many interests and was way ahead of the curve with so many things. he got into soul records and mod culture in the 1980s (he even did a xerox soul zine in high school!) and it became a major part of his life and identity. by the earlier 2000s he was living in london and djing mod parties with his heroes. i met him in the mid-2000s at MOTOR CITY BAR where we spent countless nights partying ‘til late and laughing and talking and appreciating records. it took us a minute to get to know and like one another. and he was unimpressed when he heard me moving from punk to my initial attempts at (poorly) spinning soul vinyl. and he wasn’t afraid to tell me! but we became friends regardless and i got better at it and we became occasional dj partners and he wound up a big supporter of my work when not a lot of people from his end of culture were open minded about me and what i was trying to do. i also hooked him up with a number of gigs and he always did a great job. like a lot of folks who shared our dedicated nightly early morning party lifestyle, mick had his struggles and i was really proud of him for his heroism when it became time to fight his demons. he wound up moving out west and, while he’d pop out every now and then to say hi, i regret we gradually lost touch. i wish i had a chance to spend more time with him in recent years. the first pic is from when he surprised me in SAN FRANCISCO at my monthly at 111 MINNA, the next two are flyers from the THURSDAY THUMP party i curated for ENID’s for a couple of years. he supplied both pictures and was particularly fond of the 1st photo from the salad days in london he loved to reminisce about. the next is a flyer from his SOUL POWER party. the final one is from one of the legendary MOTOR CITY anniversary blowouts in the aughts with me and his fab partner in crime DION… MICK wherever you are right now i hope it looks like the london streets of your dreams and you’re all modded out and your favorite soul records keep spinning forever.

A post shared by JONATHAN TOUBIN (@jonathantoubin) on

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“Mick was more than my friend. He was my brother. For over 25 years we had been through almost everything together. He had turned me on to so much music. Was with me through the worse part of my life and made sure I was ok and wouldn’t do anything stupid and through the best parts of my life. Mick was one of the best parts of my life and I never thought I’d be writing about this anytime soon. Mick you were and will always be my brother. Thank you for all the things you thought me and all the music you turned me on to. We were proper MODS back then. You’ll always be ACE. Love you Mick” – Jason ‘Plucky’ Anchondo (The Warlocks)

photo: Louise Fenton
photo: Louise Fenton

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“I didn’t know Mick well. We just met two or three times in a little period of time in NYC and really got on well and had a laugh and I thought he was a great guy. It’s a mark of the man how bummed out I was to hear the news, considering we had only met a handful of times” – Adam Franklin (Swervedriver)

photo via @jadeannahughes
photo via @jadeannahughes

“Mick and I had a night at Motor City called Exile On Ludlow. He was one of the first people to really help me get on my feet when I moved to NYC. I will miss him dearly. He was a true, whole hearted music lover and always supported what I was trying to do of which I’ll be eternally grateful” – Dion Lunadon (A Place to Bury Strangers)


Thanks to Jo Murray for help with this.

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