MAHOPAC, N.Y. - It’s all part of his rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.
“Literally, at the age of 45, I am making my rock ‘n’ roll dreams come true,” said Mahopac resident Mike Muldoon.
Muldoon, who once aspired to be a rock guitarist but wound up with a career as an IT specialist, now has his own podcast and YouTube talk show. And while his guests come from varied backgrounds, the main focus has been chatting with veterans of the Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Muldoon, a 1993 graduate of Carmel High School, is married and has two children. His 15-year-old daughter attends Mahopac High School.
Muldoon’s musical aspirations go back to second grade when he got his first guitar. He and some friends played “Stairway to Heaven” in the school talent show when he was in eighth grade and he played guitar in the church choir.
“I played in bands all through high school and then I got a job working in a record store, Mad Platters in Putnam Plaza,” Muldoon recalled last week as he was preparing to go on the air. “My boss there, Joel Huemann, was my [musical] Yoda. He turned me on to all kinds of music.”
Frank Zappa became his hero and he played in a Zappa cover band, though he freely admits, “Frank would never have us in his band.”
Muldoon has put together an impressive collection of vinyl, boasting over 3,000 albums and some 1,500 singles on 45-rpm discs.
“My wife is threatening kill me,” he said with a laugh.
How Muldoon came upon those 45s is an interesting story. They are mostly punk recordings done on an indie label known as Nose Hair Records, owned by the late Alan Mack of Patterson, a friend of Muldoon’s and a former high school bandmate. When Mack passed away, he left not only the 45s to Muldoon, but the record label as well.
“I’m keeping his legacy alive,” said Muldoon, who plans to write and record his own music and put it out on Nose Hair Records. He’ll do it with his guitar, which goes by the name of Charlene.
Muldoon has attended more than 400 concerts, including 141 of the iconic jam band Phish.
He attended SUNY New Paltz, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and met his wife. After getting married and starting a family, his rock ‘n’ roll dreams were moved to the back shelf.
Then, this past March, as the COVID pandemic was taking hold, Muldoon had a “spiritual awakening.”
“Everything in my life made sense and I needed to share,” he said.
Muldoon, who is a yoga aficionado and meditates regularly, said the change came to him gradually. At one point, he removed a bunch of self-help and inspirational books from his bookshelf and lined them up next to his yoga mat. As he stared at what he had done, he tried to make sense of it. He decided to start a podcast/talk show.
“On April 8, I did my first show,” he said. “I was guided by spirits. I just started writing things. I just hit ‘record’ on the Mac and talked for 10 minutes. I picked up my guitar and played ‘What I Got’ by Sublime.”
He brought in his cousin to co-host the third show. His fourth show he interviewed a woman with whom he had run a charity event.
But it was the fifth show that was the game-changer. Ike Willis, a longtime member of Frank Zappa’s band—vocals and guitar—had a book out. Muldoon reached out to the publisher to see if Willis would be willing to come on his show and promote his book. The publisher said he would.
“That’s what really changed it,” he said. “That gave me some credibility.”
That helped him book Liberty DeVito, Billy Joel’s longtime drummer, who also had a book out.
“He was awesome,” Muldoon said. “He opened up about what it was like recording with Paul McCartney.”
Muldoon said he doesn’t think of himself as a journalist and doesn’t try to contain his enthusiasm when he’s chatting with some of his musical heroes.
“I don’t think about that for a second,” he said. “I can be all the fanboy that I want to be. I can ask pointed questions. But I try to balance my enthusiasm because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable. I am not making a dime with this.”
Muldoon’s nickname is Dooner, so the show has been dubbed “Dooner’s World.”
“When I first started, it was called ‘Dooner’s Guide Through Mirkwood,’” he said. “That was the mythical forest in ‘The Hobbit.’ When we were young, my cousin and his family would come spend Thanksgiving weekend with us and he and I would play in the swamp out by our backyard and he would call it Mirkwood.”
But Muldoon realized the moniker could be confusing.
“My friend said, what the hell is this?” he laughed. “Dooner’s World is more natural and it’s kind of like ‘Wayne’s World.’’’
Meanwhile, Dooner’s World’s guest list has grown more and more impressive. He has interviewed Arthur Barrow (who played with Zappa and Robby Krieger of The Doors), Prescott Niles (The Knack), Roger Capps (Pat Benatar’s bass player), Bobbie Figueroa (Beach Boys drummer) and Chris Franz (drummer for Talking Heads).
Meanwhile, Muldoon continues working full time at his IT job.
“I’m still working it,” he said. “It’s really hard to balance it all. I start around 5 in the morning.”
And when it comes to those rock ‘n’ roll fantasies, his wife has been nothing but supportive.
“She has been a saint, dealing with more than anyone else should have to deal with,” he said with a chuckle.
To check out Muldoon’s show, go to YouTube and search, “Dooner’s World.”