On The Record: Be Like Mik

Ever wonder how someone goes about becoming a legend? Whatever you do, don’t ask Mik Davis.  

Because he won’t have an answer for you. Like most truly influential people, the longtime manager at Hattiesburg’s T-Bones Records and Cafe is far too modest to accept the much-deserved praise he deserves for his efforts to make T-Bones a local landmark and cultural point of interest for the musically and artistically inclined.
However, it’s in his actions, where we find his path to renown.

Since 2008, Davis has quietly gone about his way to help create a library of mainstream, underground, and local music while simultaneously preaching the gospel of vinyl and its peripheral accoutrements. 

Under his direction, T-Bones has become not only both a beacon for exploration of music and its related technology, but also a platform of opportunity for burgeoning musicians to market the art that endows its soul to Mississippi.

Prior to joining the T-Bones team, Davis was the station manager at WUSM, the popular college radio station broadcast from the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Looking back, it was during his time at WUSM that a pattern of dedication and compassion for all things music began to emerge.

Naturally, a collegiate radio station like WUSM relies heavily on the support of volunteers, and it was in that role on July 14, 1989, where Mik began his career in radio. 

Climbing the ladder from a simple volunteer to program director and ultimately to general manager,  Davis was a firm believer that WUSM should “give something to everyone.”

Still today, the station plays music from a variety of musical genres and even allows listeners to take direct control of the music through its “Southern Miss Radio Juke Box” where they can request the type of music you might expect to hear in faraway places like Seattle and Austin.

Originally from Jackson, Mik often refers to Mississippi as the “cradle of {American} culture,” and it’s easy to see why in the state’s remarkable history and wealth of talented musicians, authors, and artists. 

What isn't so obvious – although equally true – is the hand that people like Mik play in the propagation of our culture. 

Without those who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of spreading culture – as well as helping others do the same – we would be a proverbial band without a gig. 
Sir Mik has been a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to lots of people – including us at District Sound Wave. 

Always a fan of the arts, Mik has expressed admiration for podcasts saying they “expose personality without schedule or interruption” by avoiding the trappings of commercial radio while giving a nearly “unlimited voice to people that otherwise wouldn't be heard.”

First and foremost, Mik Davis is a musician and it's from the days in bands like 7 Tongues Spoke, and later 13, that we see the foundation for the work in music that has encompassed his life. 

From his days of playing his guitar through headphones and using his bedpost as a microphone stand to his early influences from bands like R.E.M., Mik has come a long way. 

In fact, he has done what a countless number of others aspire to do themselves: to build a life from art.

Mik’s influence during the course of the last 30 years has no doubt shaped significant pieces of Hattiesburg culture.

If we learn nothing else from him, it should be that with enough passion and resolve, you can affect your own community far more than you might ever be willing to admit.

But whatever you do, don’t ask him how to go about becoming a legend.

Because he won’t have an answer for you.

Jake Stevens, a native of Puckett, lives his daily life cultivating and contributing to the Hattiesburg music scene. When he isn’t performing with his band, Shagnolia, he can be found producing the District Sound Wave podcast. Listen to the latest episode featuring Davis on Spotify and also online at district.libsyn.com