What's the deal with Duque?

What's the deal with Duque?

So how did we get here anyway? Who is this guy who writes about extremely specific pop cultural things?

Mike Duquette has written about pop culture - specifically, how things like movies and music are made and why they remain interesting to generations who didn't experience it firsthand - for more than a decade. A New Jersey native and graduate of Seton Hall University with a degree in journalism and a music business internship he found too fun to let go of, Duque weathered postgrad economic collapse, founding The Second Disc, a website devoted to news and views about catalog music (reissues, compilations, box sets). Since 2010, the site has covered releases from major and independent labels around the world, with an average of more than 500,000 unique visitors per year. In 2015, the site partnered with reissue licensor Real Gone Music for its Second Disc Records imprint, releasing rare and out-of-print works by such luminaries as The Supremes, Meat Loaf, Wilson Pickett, Johnny Mathis, Sylvester, Liza Minnelli and Laura Nyro.

The Second Disc became a terrific calling card for Duque, who parlayed the site into consulting and full-time work in the catalog music business. From 2014 to 2020, he handled editorial affairs for Sony Music's Legacy Recordings, poring over social posts, product descriptions, date research, press releases and anything that needed wordsmithing. Highlights include a conceiving a bestselling vinyl reissue of Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" for the film franchise's 30th anniversary in 2014, and editorial direction on the career-spanning box set Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of "Weird Al" Yankovic, a Grammy Award winner for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package in 2019. (He remains the only person in the world where knowing the difference between a photo of Weird Al in 1985 versus 1993 is a marketable skill.) From 2020 to 2022, Duque worked with the team at Warner Music Group's Rhino Records to assist editorial and marketing responsibilities on their high-quality reissues.

As a journalist, Duque has contributed material to Allmusic, Ultimate Classic Rock, Discogs, Observer, City Pages and Polygon. In 2018, he started the newsletter Hollywood & Spine, devoted to the art and craft of movie novelizations (where the book comes after the film instead of the other way around). In 2022, he wrote his first liner notes for Mondo Records' 40th anniversary vinyl reissue of John Williams' Oscar-winning score to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial - incidentally, his favorite film and piece of music ever - and in 2023, he co-produced and wrote liner notes for SoulMusic Records/Cherry Red's State of the Heart: The Columbia Recordings 1983-1988, a compilation celebrating the solo work of Earth, Wind & Fire singer Philip Bailey.

Duque lives in New York City with his wife, actress Nicole Spiezio, their twin daughters, and a beautiful grey cat named Ravioli.

And here are some links to writing I'm really proud of!

The Second Disc: "The Grease Megamix" is the Word - Inside An Unlikely International Hit (2016)

MichaelJackson.com: "Black or White" Short Film Behind the Scenes (2018)

Discogs: 'Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic': How Prince Partied When It Was Actually 1999 (2019)

Observer: 'Sign O' the Times' is the Best Prince Film You've Never Seen (2022)

Ultimate Classic Rock: How "Weird Al" Yankovic Inspired a Scene in 'E.T.' (2022)

Mondo Records: John Williams, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2022, liner notes)

Ultimate Classic Rock: All 70 Police Songs, Ranked Worst to Best (2023)

SoulMusic Records: Philip Bailey, State of the Heart: The Columbia Recordings (1983-1988) (2023, liner notes)

Allmusic: Hidden Hits in Plain Sight (2023)

The Second Disc: Mixing It Up with John Luongo (2024, interview)