If you want the best seat in Mike Boulan's basement recording studio, you'll have to move the cat! That's the message on a painted wooden plaque there, and it's absolutely true. Buster, a big orange and white tom cat, is an omnipresent entity in the recording studio from which Mike has, so far, turned out 52 CD's by a multitude of different metro-Detroit blues artists.
As a guy who spent almost ten years prior to the formation of No Cover doing live recordings for local bands, it is likely he was building towards a record company ownership without even knowing it. Mike says that in the course of doing his live recordings, he came so outraged by the tremendous costs of putting out a CD that he decided to take some classes at the Recording Institute of Detroit to see if he could do better. Studying under the legendary Motown Sound Engineer, Bob Dennis, Mike says he wound up graduating at the top of his class.
Meanwhile, Mike hooked up with an outfit interested in recording local blues artists for sale in Japan. Realizing that Mike knew most of the local blues bands, the company sought his help as a liaison between them and the various groups. The first artist he brought to them was James Glass. When this opportunity failed to work out, Mike decided to form his own record label,to put out the cd on his own.
He wanted his new company to be different from other record companies. He wanted the artists to have more freedom to create better music. He spent another year talking to musicians about what they would want from a record company. He took all the information he had; and on November 13, 1994, at the age of 30, he formed No Cover Productions.
Friends and family were quick to offer their help. Equipment was purchased and a studio was built at Mike's house in Oak Park, Michigan.
In January, 1995 an opportunity arose to record James Glass & The Get To Gettin' Band live. On January 14, 1995, the material for the "Get This" album was recorded.
In February, 1995 the Detroit Blues Band was discussing the fact that they did not have the money to release their album. Since Mike had worked with the Band for over four years as their sound engineer, he felt confident enough to approach them with his recording contract. They immediately accepted; and on June 28, 1995, the Detroit Blues Band's album became No Cover Production's first release.
At that time, Mike realized that No Cover was going to be too big for one person to operate. His mother, Joyce Boulan, had already set up a small home business; and was looking to expand. It appeared to be the perfect opportunity for both of them. So Joyce took over much of the business end, so Mike could concentrate on the music. Mike's girlfriend, Beth Groh, also contributes her time and support to the business. It's obvious that, in his studio, Mike is right where he belongs, and there are at least a few metro-Detroit bands who hope he's there to stay. Even if they do have to move the cat! (Check out the Picture Page for a picture of Buster)
No Cover released three other cd's in '95 the "Get This" cd from James Glass the studio cd "The Cutting Edge" (also from James Glass) and the first ever full-length cd featuring living legend Johnnie Bassett & The Blues Insurgents titled "Live At The Montreux -Detroit Jazz Festival".
The company stayed busy in '96 releasing a cd by newcomers the "Blues Crusaders" and also releasing the first Motor City Josh & The Big Three cd,"Living Like A King In The Ghetto"
'97 saw releases from "The Godfather of the Blues" Tony Valentino (backed by Motor City Josh & the Big Three) and the award winning debut of Detroit legend Willie "D" Warren backed by Jim McCarty and Mystery Train.
As No Cover entered its fourth year (1998) we were re-visited by some artists for second releases. Motor City Josh released "Going To The Country". The Detrot Blues Band came back and did "Playin' It Cool" also we debuted a new band....Blue Spirit Tribe with the release titled "Down There Underneath It All"
The last year of the century was a good one for No Cover Bobby Murray, Guitarist for Etta James,moved to detroit and recorded a cd with us right away! we also released the compilation "Blues At Midnight" recorded on new years eve '98-'99 and featuring most of the old-school players who frequent the Attic bar in Hamtramck including Willie "D" Warren, The Butler Twins, Johnny "Yarddog" Jones, "Uncle" Jessie White, "Miss Cathy Davis, and Odell "Blues Boy D"with Louisiana Heat.
2000 was a semi-quiet year with only 1 cd "Sensational Rhythms"released by the Motor City Sheiks we were just gearing up for '01 though!
'01 saw a flood of releases starting with the re-issue of the entire "Blues From The Heart" series (4 discs including "Live At Lou's" and Vol. 1-2 & 3 of "Blues From The Heart") Followed by the Curtis Sumter Project with "Trials and Tribulations" Motor City Josh had two cd's come out in '01...."Live in Atlanta"...and the solo effort titled "Acousticaly Sound"
2002 was a rebuilding year with only 1 release a re-issue of the Motor City Josh cd titled "Living Like A KIng In The Ghetto" (digitally re-mastered with three new tracks added)
2003 and beyond is looking good -we have nine cd projects in the works and we are hoping to release several of them this year! including projects from Motor City Josh, Buck"N"The System, Bobby Murray, R.J.'s Rhythm Rockers, Best of the Flatrock Riverfest compilation, Johnnie Bassett, "Blues all over MI Compilation (4 cd set), Best of No Cover Compilation (2 cd set) and The best of Heatstock compilation.
Fast forward to April 2005. We have 47 Cd's out, Including several reissues of Cd's released by Detroit area artists which were out of print. Significant new releases between 2003 and now include The Billy Davis Rhythm Machine "Blue Teardrops" The Rick Stel Band "Straight from the Soul", Jeff Maylin's "Satori In Blue", Jeff Grand's "Therapy", The Whoodoo Band's "Bringin' Home The Blues", Little Jr. Cannaday's "I've Been Misused" and the first 4 volumes of the Best Of Heatstock series