Michael Alago – Who The F*ck Is That Guy?

Michael Alago is a former rock & roll A&R Executive whose life story is the subject of the Netflix documentary “Who The Fuck Is That Guy?”.

He grew up in New York City during the 1970s and 80s, surrounded by artists like David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and the Cro-Mags.

His obsession with music lead to a 25-year career in the industry, during which time he managed artists like Metallica, Cindi Lauper and Nina Simone.

After contracting AIDS and surviving substance abuse, he is now sober and healthy.


00:00 Trailer.

02:33 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.

03:24 Brian’s introduction.

04:04 Enjoying being back in London.

05:12 Love of music from birth leads to a job at The Ritz rock club,

07:11 What Michael and other people love about music.

08:23 The importance of the A&R department in a record company and the famous artists he worked with.

17:09 How he was able to find new bands and artists with great potential.

20:07 Hearing heavy metal band Metallica and knowing he had to have them in his life.

24:18 How that signing changed everything for them until the present day.

31:15 The vibrant New York City club scene when he was young.

32:43 East Village life and burgeoning art scene in the early 80s.

35:12 Crossover between music, art and the theatre.

41:46 The scary arrival of AIDs from which almost everyone he knew died and which he also contracted.

54:26 Michael’s part in the 1980s and ‘90s years of drug and alcohol excess until he knew he had to stop.

1:02:03 ‘What the Fuck is That Guy’ would not have been made if Michael had not changed his life.

1:08:30 The beauty of being able to show up every day, thriving and having a great life.

1:13:24 Michael continues to be involved in the music business, but now it’s about streaming and numbers.

1:19:15 The joy of the record album and vinyl.

1:21:33 Success secrets for young musicians.

1:22:02 What is Michael’s superpower.

1:22:52 His advice from what he learnt in business

1:23:39 What makes a good producer.

1:24:52 Doing service in the world, one person at a time: we hope the world feels that.

1:28:49 What scares Michael now.

1:30:33 What he might be doing in ten years.

1:31:45 Phone call to the twenty-year old Michael Alago.

1:32:56 Best advice he ever received.

1:33:42 Advice to the young person listening.

1:35:26 Brian’s summing up.

Who the Fuck is That Guy? The Fabulous Journey of Michael Alago

Who the Fuck is That Guy? The Fabulous Journey of Michael Alago on Faccebook

Michael Alago on Twitter

Michael Alago on Instagram



I Am Michael Alago: Breathing Music.  Signing Metallica. Beating Death.

Beautiful Imperfections

Brutal Truth


Topics discussed:

Kill ‘Em All




Marquee Club

100 Club

Garrick Theatre

Bitter Wheat by David Mamet

Pure Evil Gallery

American Bandstand

In Concert (TV show)

Soul Train

The Electric Circus (nightclub)

The Ritz (rock club)

Artists and Repertoire department (A&R)

Elektra Records

History of the Eagles (documentary)

The Defiant Ones (TV series about Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre.

Hi Rhythm Section

Terrorizer (magazine)


Heavy Metal music

Roseland Ballroom

LGBTQ Centre, New York City

CBGB music club New York

Mineshaft (gay club)

The Anvil (gay club)

St Vincent Hospital

Management of HIV/AIDS

Old Town Road


People mentioned in this episode:


Cyndi Lauper

John Lydon (Johnny Rotten)

John Joseph

Nina Simone

Andy Warhol

David Bowie

Sex Pistols

Keith Haring

The Exploited

Gene Loves Jezebel

Jerry Brandt

Bruce Springsteen

Tracy Chapman

Bob Krasnow

Scott Bomar

Jonny Lang

Charlie Musselwhite

Ann Peebles

Bon Scott

Paul Rodgers

Raven (British band)

Anthrax (American band)


Sharon Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Richard Hambleton

Blue Man Group

Robert Mapplethorpe

Barbara Starrett MD

Drew Stone

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ether Coven

Jo Stafford

Mahalia Jackson

Billie Holiday

Bad Brains


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Carolyn Williams

Happy Wednesday Brian

I loved this very open chat with Michael Alago. How do I contact him? Carthage Carroll, a senior Emergency Registrar in Dublin is also a songwriter/singer. He is looking for a publisher after producing his third Indie Rock album.

Much Love, Carolyn xx

Carolyn Williams

A great helpful insight into addictive habits and the way forward for anyone wanting to change and get a new life. Thank you Brian for this Live with Michael Alago. A new introduction for me. Faith and Hope and Glory were the names of the RAF aeroplanes that helped save Malta from the bombardment. It’s true also of transformation tags. Carolyn x

Carolyn Williams

A great helpful insight into addictive habits and the way forward for anyone wanting to change and get a new life. Thank you Brian for this Live with Michael Alago