As a musician, Kelley was involved with the impro­vi­sa­tion­al noise band Destroy All Monsters (with Cary Loren, Jim Shaw and Niagara) since the early 1970’s. The band performed inter­na­tion­al­ly and the visual art wing of the group, The Destroy All Monsters Collective (featuring artists Cary Loren and Jim Shaw), was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. 

Other exhibitions included Strange Früt, at Magasin Center for Contemporary Art, Grenoble, France, 2006; Theater without Theater, at MACBA, Barcelona, Spain, 2007; and Hungry for Death, at Printed Matter Bookstore, New York, 2009, with the accompanying release of a 1975 recording Double Sextet as a vinyl album and the re-release of Destroy All Monsters: 1974 — 1976 compilation in limited edition. 

Kelley also performed with the art bands Gobbler, Extended Organ, and The Poetics — a joint project with artist Tony Oursler. He collaborated with Paul McCarthy and Japanese noise musician Violent Onsen Geisha, as well as Scanner, Jean Baudrillard, Sonic Youth and others. Recordings of these projects were released on Kelley’s own Compound Annex record label. 

Colleagues and students of Kelley’s have often commented on his encyclopedic knowledge of music ranging from obscure psychedelia to experimental jazz and modern composers. 

Explore the wide range of Mike Kelley’s music in the Store.

Photo by: Cary Loren

Compound Annex

Kelley created the label, Compound Annex, in 1997 as a means to distribute solo and collaborative audio works and projects. The name refers to the jam space and recording studio set up at his Highland Park, Los Angeles residence or compound” ( two small houses and a garage studio) where Kelley lived and worked. With the ability to record, mix and cheaply produce vinyl and the then new CD format, Kelley’s label released over twenty-five titles.

View a discography including releases from Compound Annex in the Bibliography.