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We Remember: A Tribute to Michael G. Nastos

A photo of Michael G. Nastos.

Last month, devoted music lover, sporting enthusiast, journalist, and WCBN deejay Michael G. Nastos passed away. Michael G’s influence and legacy cannot be appropriately summarized by one page; like a thread, he wove himself through the instrument keys of Eclipse Jazz, along vinyl grooves of Bonzo Dog Records, between the text of AllMusic, and of course, amongst the fibers of the carpeted Student Activities Building’s basement. Below are some words from Michael G’s many friends at CBN… all of whom miss him dearly and are thankful to have been graced by his presence. May he rest peacefully.


“It has been my pleasure to know MGN since I began at WCBN in 2016. He was the consummate professional both on the air and in his dealings promoting local concerts.

As I got to know him, I came to understand that his Holy Trinity was music (jazz, ambient and World Music of course, but even hard rock!), baseball, and drag racing. We developed a close friendship based upon these foundations.

As a deejay, MGN was unfailingly supportive of me and my work on the radio. We had many lengthy conversations about our personal lives, music, enjoyed meals together, traveled to Milan Dragway and Comerica Park, saw many of the local shows he promoted, and in some small way helped him out in these last few increasingly difficult years he endured.

His sudden passing has left a gap in my life. I will miss him greatly.”

-Robert Craig (Roberto)

“Michael Nastos was the most professional radio broadcaster I ever met.  He was unfailingly kind and considerate, and never lost his cool on the air.  He was able to keep talking to bridge gaps during many of the live broadcasts we were a part of, and he never talked about equipment in the studio or problems with it: he just kept his listeners feeling welcome and needed, and talked about the music.  May we all aspire to be as selfless and generous on the air as Michael G.”

Tom Bray

“He was a wonderful member of our community and someone who I felt so lucky to learn from. My first show on the station was on a Sunday, and it would always be a pleasure on the one Sunday he would come in to DJ Sounds of the Subcontinent. A massive loss for sure.”

-Lara Tobias-Tarsh (Lara)

“Michael was not only a great mentor, but one of my best friends. 

At one time, he and I lived at the same apartment complex. We would do errands as well as several shows together (Milkman’s Matinée, Jazz Till Midnight and others). He was, of course, an incomparable expert on jazz, but loved many other types of music as well. One of his favorite bands, among many, was King Crimson. 

In short, I am going to miss my dear friend enormously.”

-Alex M

“Michael was great! He appreciated everything from the most arcane forms of jazz and world music to the Milan Speedway. And he was a real asset to the station, always looking for things that would make it better. And it was great to see him throw himself into WCBN after leaving WEMU—I’m glad he was able to end his career with us. I always learned something when I heard his shows, not only about the music, but about how to do radio. He will really be missed.”

-Jim Manheim (Tex)

“I frequently listened to Michael’s evening show on WEMU, never imagining I would sit in the same studio with him years later. He didn’t just like music, he was immersed in it, promoting concerts for new and established artists, reviewing new releases for music publications, and sharing recordings with his listeners.

His recent reliance on a wheelchair wouldn’t interrupt his musical life, broadcasting from our studio as recently as October 30th. He would tell me stories from his days as a medical technician, track announcer at Milan Dragway, or broadcaster at several radio stations in the area. I’m happy that I got to know and learn from him.”

-Manos Demetris (Manos)

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Michael G. Nastos’ recent passing, but it made me pause and reflect on the influence he had on me and so many others through his deep dedication to music.

Michael was brilliant. I’m sure he could have had a successful career in just about anything he desired, but he chose to devote his life to sharing the music he loved with others, through radio and live performance.

I met Michael G. as a listener to WCBN, and my frequent calls to the station led to us becoming friends and going to countless live shows together (he did get the free tickets after all!). Eventually he got tired of listening to my suggestions and told me to get my own show. After some early reluctance to actually be on air I jumped in with both feet and made use of the musical knowledge I gleaned from being a WCBN listener almost from day 1.

It is impossible to count the obscure artists and new subgenres of music that Michael shared with me, and the years of enjoyment and exploration I got out of the time we shared. In his absence we can only make feeble attempts to come anywhere near what Michael has done for the musical community.

Michael has enlightened the musical world of literally thousands of others through his imaginative broadcasting, his tireless promotion of jazz and other neglected music, and his devotion to sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with both listeners and fledgling DJs.

WCBN and the Ann Arbor and Detroit communities of music lovers have lost a priceless advocate. Michael will be remembered by all of us for what he has shared.”

-Brian Tomsic

Shelley Salant, host of the Local Music Show, gives us…

An archived recording of Michael G. Nastos performing with the Jon Hassell Project II dated July 27, 2022…

Set 1: https://soundcloud.com/wcbnlms/2022-07-27-jon-hassell-1

Set 2: https://soundcloud.com/wcbnlms/2022-07-27-jon-hassell-project

IG: ttps://www.instagram.com/p/ClU5c3pDq3H/

In dealing with his feelings about the passage of his longtime friend and co-conspirator in creative broadcasting, Arwulf gives us…

The “profile” piece I wrote for Agenda, Ann Arbor’s (former) Alternative News Monthly, back in 1997…

A 1997 article portraying Michael Nastos written by arwulf Wrwulf titled, "Michael G. Nastos: Jazz, Baseballs & Funny Cars"

An hour of musical ruminations…

And finally, the words of Albert Ayler…

“The night and day will pass away, but love will always win.”

Theodore Grenier (arwulf arwulf)

Additional Michael G. tributes:

DownBeat’s: https://downbeat.com/news/detail/in-memoriam-dj-michael-g.-nastos

Christopher Porter’s: https://aadl.org/node/611645

A tribute to Michael G. Nastos will be held Friday, December 30, from 10:30 PM to 12:00 AM at The Blue Llama jazz club on 314 S. Main St. For those who wish to, but are unable to attend the December 30th local event, an outdoor music event in Spring or Summer 2023 will also be scheduled (likely at Silvio’s Trattoria e Pizzeria in Canton). Details pending.

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