I met Mike at ISU. I was interested in magic and he said if you are serious I will teach you.

I became very good but never as good as Mike. He was so generous with his time in teaching. I practiced so hard my fingers were raw. That was circa 1968.

About 15 years ago we had friends from Houston that came to visit us in Kansas. I did one of the card tricks Mike had taught me. Their son, Ben Jackson - 10 years old, thought that was fantastic and would I show him how I did it. I told Ben I had promised Mike Rasfeld I wouldn't break the magician's code. He promised to not tell anyone and he would practice and practice.

Ben is now one of the world's greatest close-up magicians in the world. He has won awards all over the world.

His website is - he is part of Mike's legacy. Mike's generosity to me was paid forward to Ben Jackson.

I found your site today. Ben sent me a note that he had now won every major magic award by 25. Never been done before. I said to myself I have to find Mike Rasfeld and let him know! I am saddened by your loss but Mike's memory lives on. Thank you for the Website.

Warmest Regards,

Blaine Sampson
Lawrence, KS





Hi there -

thanks for this site and all the sad and beautiful memories it brings to the surface of my old brain. No, that's not right - the memories are not sad, it's the feeling of missed opportunities that is.

I always thought it was around 1970 or '71 when I met Michael (though his biography says it must have been '72). There I was, a long haired, half drunk free rock bass player and incidental visitor of this party in the city of Cologne, Germany. I was about 22 years old, and already had developed a couple of routines to cope with the world and its strange inhabitants, so as usual, I decided for a corner to sit in - to stay there for the next twelve or twenty-four hours, smoking, drinking, watching and wondering about the people whirling around me, and listening to the music that came from the record player in the other corner.

After about eleven hours of suffering under a mix of Iron Butterfly, kraut rock, ABBA and the inevitable Leonard Cohen I definitely had enough of that, and assisted by some four or five bottles of red wine I managed to get out of the armchair I had seemed to have glued on, crossed the room, made an end to the probably fourteenth replay of Deep Purple's "Black Night", shuffled through the record rack and put on Ella Fitzgerald's "How High The Moon". A couple of other guests moaned in protest, but then, over from the old sofa, someone shouted "Hey, congratulations, man! At last there's someone playing real music!" A soul brother! In the middle of Cologne! At four in the morning! And he spoke English, too!
I was saved. I wandered over to the sofa: "Well, who are you? And where are you from?"
"Hi, I'm Michael, an' I'm from Chicago."
From that moment on, the party went on for fourteen days and nights (which luckily was no problem, because the owners of the flat were on holiday in Marocco). We had hilarious discussions about music, life, God, love, sex & drugs & rock'n'roll for hours and hours. We fooled around like we had been the closest friends since we been wearing pampers. We watched the German version of Sesame Street or a couple of Western movies, turned off the volume and had Michael do all the synchronisation and rolled around the floor giggling, squeeking and laughing our heads off.
On day four or five all the supplies were gone, so we went out to have something to eat (well, and drink, of course). After a couple of beers, Michael found out that if we all put all our cash together we could barely pay for the beer, let alone for some food. He ordered a deck of cards, wandered through the nicely packed bar, and did card tricks and funny bets - and after an hour or so he had enough money to pay the bill for the whole bunch of us five or six people. And he even managed to organize a couple of trips.
The next two days all were on a multi-coloured giggle trip. Except me. No, I was giggling as much as all the rest, but I never was into these kind of drugs - I always knew I was crazy enough without. So I just missed the colours. Maybe.
We watched movies, we danced, we jammed together. We sang, we drank, we slept together. We discussed the waves of energy going around the world and through every soul and mind, we shared our secret dreams, wishes and hopes, we were THERE and THEN.
For two wonderful weeks.
In the years after Michael's voyage back home we sent cassette tapes across the ocean - favorite songs, new found jewels, self-recorded stuff. I wrote twelve-page-letters, he sent me the liquorice papers I couldn't get over here, and kept writing funny picture postcards, every third of them regularly saying "Sorry it's only a postcard." "Next time you'll get a real long letter." and, of course "Come on over to Windy City, mate!"
I never managed to make it.
One of the very few things in my life I'll always regret.
And I still miss him.

I can never hear someone sing "Feelings" or "Spaghetti, Spaghetti" without feeling my eyes getting wet.
Or "How High The Moon".

Over the years, as people are, the intervals between letters and postcards became longer and longer, and eventually our correspondance dozed off. What a pity... Yes, I still miss him.

All the best -
and, again, thanks for the memorial site

Rich Schwab




this is a beautiful homepage. I was lucky to meet mike - together with detlef - in 1985. When we stayed about 3 weeks in mike's house in chicago.

I will send some old fotos from this time, but first I must scan it. Thanx for the info. ?

Ralf Muckel



Hi Jim,

First I want to thank you for a lovely tribute site to Michael. Last evening a thought of Mike came to my head, and it was great to know that his memory is captured on the internet, and available for us to share. My relationship with him was personal, not professional, and took place for the most part 1973-1975. I learned a lot on the site about his later development. But still your subtitle captures the Mike I got to know a bit-- Audio Engineer, Magician, Musician, Nice Guy.

I hadn't thought of Mike in many years. I left Chicago in 1989, a few months after Mike died. I remember having heard about his death and being saddened. My life in Chicago, however, was also coming to an end. I moved first to the west coast, and ten years ago to Europe where I now live.

Mike's memory bubbled up to the surface last night after a summertime grill evening at home on the terrace, a few glasses of wine, good talk with my partner, 70s music streaming on the internet radio. Perhaps it was hearing Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans" and all its 1970s Chicago connections that go me reminiscing about the Old Town School of Folk Music, the folk music scene in general, my early adult years in Chicago and eventually Mike, my connection to the music scene.

I can't remember exactly how and when I met Mike. We lived in the same neighborhood, frequented some places in common, knew people in the same social circles, and I was also performing, doing puppetry with The Puppet Place theatre. But we did hook up somehow, some place and spent a few months hanging out together, getting to know each other.

Although 30-some years have faded my memories of our times together quite a bit I remember spending quite some time in and around Acme where Mike let me play the piano when there was time available. It must have been in the early days of Acme's existence. I remember that the walls were covered in egg cartons to improve the acoustics. I remember having some dinners together at a Mexican restaurant he liked on Southport, somewhere just south of the Music Box, I believe. I remember going to see a jazz concert with him somewhere on Lincoln Ave.

The highlight of our short relationship together was going to the National Magician's Convention in Michigan with him one year. He arranged for us to fly there in a tiny four-seat plane from Meigs Field. I was so excited. I had five days with Michael, and a crowd of top-hatted and caped magicians, an uncountable number of caged doves and rabbits and I was enraptured by the magic shows from morning to night. I remember we also spent some time together paddle-boating on a little lake in the town on a beautiful hot summer day, and stopping at an Antique Mart on the way back to Chicago.

I remember also that the trip with him was overshadowed by his enthusiasm for a music track he had spent most of the night mixing the night before our trip, and which I heard many times over the course of the next few days. Fact is, his rendition of "Feelings" had so seared itself into my consciousness 35 years ago that I have never been able to listen to it again without having a reaction to it. Thank you Michael for this lasting memory. And thank you, Jim, for making it available on this site. It was almost unbelievable to hear it again last night. I thought I had almost escaped its hold on me, and now I can look forward to hearing it again whenever I want, and gladly.

I wonder how many other popular standards he could have made irreperably his own, had he had the time to do so?

Seeing pictures and videos of Mike, hearing the sound of his voice, brings back a lot of small memories of him-- his warm smile, his playful eyes, his devious sense of humour, his joy and enthusiasm for his work, his whistle.

I moved away from the Southport neighborhood in 1978, but we ran into each other occasionally. The last time I saw him was 1987-1989 about a year before he died.

Thanks, Jim, for helping keep Michael's memory alive.

Best regards,
Dan Simon
Dan's Blog:



Thanks for that, Jim. Those videos really capture the essence of Mike. Especially enjoyable was the part where he tried on the jacket that fit perfectly at his birthday party.

He always tried to keep the story moving while the camera was rolling....... but he was always like that in person, too. Mike interviewing the teenage popcorn girl is priceless.

I shore miss him and think of him...... a lot. I am eternally thankful to Mike and YOU for the opportunity to work and LEARN at Acme Recording. Thanks forever!

Blaise Barton


Hiya, Jim, and thanks for sending me the link. I was just looking through some old photos of me and Mike from different periods. He was such a wonderful person and a truly great friend who I miss very much and think about everyday. We were all so lucky to have known him.

Ol' George (Hansen)


I had an engineer who I worked with who would look forward to receiving my music tracks. Not because he necessarily wanted to hear them as much he knew he would not run into any technical problems when he put them in the show. I have Mike to thank for that. He always was the teacher and got us to open up our ears to the sounds out there. He busted up preconceptions about audio and took you to the next phase. He was also a kind soul who always had time for you.
I was glad to know him and miss him still. Thanks for the memories Jim. It was wild to see the old Acme and Mike again. Ah those simpler times! Why is it I don’t remember playing the guitar that night? Thank God for tapes or we’d never believe it. Man that control room was dark! Fortunately the lava lamp helped.

Bob Colton

3/19/09: It was 20 years ago today that Michael passed away. I can't help but wonder
what he would be into by now if his destiny would have instead allowed for
20 more years of development as a creative human being. The mind REELS ! (no
pun intended)

However, if the concept of reincarnation is valid then I am reassured
because by now Michael is right back in the game as a 20-year-old. And if even a smidgen of wisdom and experience carries over from life to life as a baseline then he/she is once
again operating on a highly inventive plane.

Don Budzinski


Great job Jim on the site for Mike. Acme was the little studio that made the biggest sonic footprint in Chicago in those days. The staff, vibe, gear, Neotek serial #0001 and Mike's golden ears and talent made that place an inspiration to many. Including me. I met Mike thru EARS that is still going today thanks to Mike's vision!

Mike Konopka
Thundertone Audio


I still miss Mike terribly! I don't think he ever knew how much he helped an emotionally messed-up kid to become a better adult. He taught me a lot about radio and audio, which -- for better or worse -- became my career. His loving advice, over the years, was priceless. Thanks, Jim, for this forum.



I did check out the Mike-Razz website. It does indeed bring back a lot of memories. I have such distinct recollections of so many episodes at Acme, and especially involving Mike. I think of him ala’ George Baily in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, post-revelation. Mike kept it local and didn’t seem to fret about the “scale” of things at Acme, and hence, had a profound effect on so many people. He taught me a number of valuable things by example, and without me even knowing it at the time.

Andrew Robb



I have tons of memories, and will post them soon. Thanks Jim!

Sue (sister)


I am one of Mike's sisters (Karen). He was 7 years older than me so I have several memories of him helping me out as my "older brother". One time, I went to go get out the bread that was stuck in the toaster by using a stainless steel knife. I was pretty young and didn't know that was not a good idea. Huh Somehow, Mike was right behind me, saying "Stop!" and grabbed my arm before I did it and then I think he explained to me why I shouldn't do it. Another time, when I was around 8 or 9, I had a birthday party and several of my friends from school came over. Mike did the entertainment by doing magic tricks for the crowd. I loved it when he did the trick of having milk come out someone's elbow. We never knew how he did that one. Anyway, I went into the walk-in closet of the bedroom. When I started to come out, I noticed Mike had started the magic show so I peeked out and discovered how he did one of his tricks. (Of course, I can't remember now.) My third memory is of getting up in the night to repeatedly get drinks of water. Mike noticed I was doing that and gave me a tip. He said that if I took a drink of water and swished it around in my mouth and held it there for several seconds, I wouldn't get so thirsty. You know, I think I still do that because it seems to work!



from Mike's sister, Marian. Seems odd that he was only 3 years older than me, because he seemed SO much older. I think of Michael around Grammy time every year. In February, 1989, he was visiting LA and I was going to go with him to a Grammy party he was invited to. But he wasn't feeling well, so we didn't go. I was having a hard time finding a job around that time, so I was able to spend some time with him while he was in LA. I remember sitting on the beach and talking. We went to a movie. "Wings of Desire". It's about angels. In the car driving back to my apartment, he told me that he was a little scared about his health. I think I tried to say something about understanding and staying positive. I just bought the "Wings of Desire" DVD. Will watch it this month. 19 years, geesh. And Mike always seemed to have the greatest knack for finding a parking space wherever he drove, no matter how impossible the area. Now, whenever I'm looking for a parking space and out of the blue, somewhere just ahead, a car magically pulls out, granting me their newly vacated spot... I know Michael's around. Michael the Park Angel.

Marian (sister)

Click here to E-mail me your thoughts and remembrances of Mike and I'll post them.

—Jim Rasfeld