There are plenty of similarities between Mike "Mighty Mike" Murga and Joel Zimmerman. Both men frequently DJ wearing spherical LED-lit mouse heads, have performed with members of Motley Crue, and called southern Ontario home at one point in their lives. One big difference between Deadmau5 and Murga? About 18 inches in height.
Murga, who bills himself as the entertainment industry's most in-demand little person, is a fire breather, juggler, wrestler, strongman, emcee, and, of course, DJ. The performer started picking up a variety of talents from a young age, including learning acoustic guitar from his father, and later taking up bodybuilding in high school. "I was eager about everything," he says of his diverse interests in the arts that began in childhood. But he insists it's his work as a DJ and celebrity impersonator that has carried him to some of the world's most exciting events, like a residency at Bally's Casino in Atlantic City.
More recently, he's been performing as Mini Deadmau5, a live DJ show that includes many of the same songs and costumes that are featured in an authentic Deadmau5 performance. "Sometimes when you create a character, it takes two, three, or four years to develop," explains Murga, who also impersonates Elvis, Eminem, and Kid Rock. "Deadmau5 just worked right away."
The 4 foot 3 inch performer's connection to the "Strobe" producer began well before either of them had ever donned the iconic mouse head. "I knew Joel before Deadmau5 even existed," says Murga, reflecting on their first meeting in 2005. "I met him when he was giving [Motley Crue drummer] Tommy Lee a CD. I was like 'who is this kid?' Then I took care of him for a couple days when Tommy was doing his thing. We shared the tour bus. We partied."
However his relationship with Zimmerman has been rocky since he started his Mini Deadmau5 performances. While the tiny performer considers his act to be a tribute to the artist, the feeling isn't mutual. "He's not a fan of what I'm doing," says Murga. "He feels it's making a joke out of him."
Yet Murga is adamant that his shows are not a mockery. "I'm an artist and a DJ. I'm not a joke," he says. According to Murga, a lack of artistry and skill is a common issue amongst little people in the entertainment industry. "They sell themselves out as spectacles. They dress up in a costume, they take pictures, and that's about it." His knowledge of electronic music production ensures that, unlike many of his peers, he is not defined solely by his size.
An audit of his production set-up would be exhausting, and his capacity to spit out random facts about obscure DJs is intimidating. He produces his own songs as a side project, and directs and stars in the accompanying music videos. Perhaps even more impressive, however, is his self- proclaimed current status as the only little person to ever embark on a world tour.
"I DJ'd for three hours, four days a week for Britney Spears," he says of her 2009 Circus tour. Spanning over eight months, Murga claims this was one of his most challenging gigs to date. "We were drug tested three days a week—no partying. There's 180 people touring, there's no room for mistakes. In pop, every show has to be identical to the next."
It's clear that his unapologetic nature continues to push him to do more than most men of his size—hell, there are hardly any men (or women for that matter) of any size with a resume quite as extensive. But regardless of his unique portfolio of talents, there is one request that Mighty Mike will always refuse.
"I don't put on novelty penis items," he states. "I don't care how much money they pay me. I don't touch that."
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