That's Mike Carden. Happy 25th birthday Mike! I'm celebrating by talking about you on the internet.
Many people dislike Carden. I find him kind of fascinating. People who dislike him either dislike him because they like Tom or because they think he looks creepy. When I was first getting into bandom, one of the lectures I got about not liking William Beckett was from a friend who grudgingly allowed that I could like Bill as long as I didn't like Mike. I have a strong rebellious streak when it comes to fandom, so that probably contributed to my interest in Mike.
This was originally going to be a more general Mike Carden primer, but the reality is that there's a perfectly good, if older, one here (as of this moment, the pictures are no longer there, but the information is) and riorhapsody has written an excellent and excellently well sourced TAI primer. So this is going to be three things: interesting facts about Mike Carden, pictures I feel are worth sharing, and information about Mike Carden pairings. Enjoy!
In high school, Mike was on the swim team. He worked as a lifeguard during the summers. He was also captain of the debate team. (source, source)
Scurrilous internet gossip holds that Mike quit smoking in 2008 or so. (source)
Mike himself has said other things about living a healthier life these days:
Like Chislett, Carden also calls Los Angeles home when the band are off the road. He relocated from the Chicago suburbs to L.A. this past November, and has since taken to hiking, eating healthier and reading Nick Hornby novels. He also took some much-needed time away from his guitar. "There was a point where I probably put the guitar down for about two months, and I didn't want to see it and didn't have any interest," Carden says, having traded places with Bicket in the bus' lounge. "Then one day it just hit me. I'm like, 'I need to keep learning because that's part of it.' I think when you stop you kind of get uninspired and it's hard to move. It's like exercising the first few days - most people quit. So I think with guitar, it's breaking through that." (source)People who met Mike on the AP Fall Ball tour described him as "chatty" and "quite the chatter box." (one source)
The Real Life Girlfriend
In about February of this year, someone or someones started posting anonymously that Mike is dating Jared Leto's assistant. (source) Her name is Emma Ludbrook. She was his date to Bob McLynn's wedding.
She's the woman on the far right. The woman she's sitting on is Michael Guy Chislett's wife Naomi.
For those of you upset about privacy things, I am sympathetic. At the same time, Emma is a public enough figure that there is a magazine article about her:
Emma's Twitter is protected, but she approved my appropriate for talking to celebrities account, so my guess is that she does it just to avoid spammers. It's not overly interesting. She does occasionally mention Mike, but mostly in the context of saying things to other people who clearly know Mike. I did learn from her Twitter that she's Australian. (source - protected) This makes me laugh because now I imagine Mike and Emma double dating or having dinner parties with Michael and Naomi and Mike being the only non-Australian in the bunch. I also learned that she's a vegetarian, which supports my theory that she's the reason behind Mike moving to L.A. and leading a healthier life. (source - protected)
Let's start with a review of some of Mike's t-shirts. This might be an odd thing to fixate on, but I'm alternately baffled and intrigued. I can't figure out if these are things he chose for a reason, or if they're just shit he picked up at a thrift store.
Oliver! is a musical. This is not what I expect from Carden.
This appears to be a shirt full of text styles. It seems like there should be a Nick Scimeca joke in here somewhere.
This shirt is a lie. He wasn't even born in 1981.
This is the front of the shirt he wore on the AP Fall Ball Tour.
This is the back. It says, "YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE". Anyone know what the heck this shirt is? Is it animal, mineral, or vegetable related?
This is also here for Tom Conrad's ridiculous pose.
Next, we move on to the section I like to call, "Bill likes to lean on people, including Mike."
Okay, not quite leaning on him, but it fits best in this category.
Now let's take a look at Mike in his younger days.
When I said "younger," I really meant it. Sisky said of this, "A photo of my friend Mike Carden as a young little bastard.
This photo captures the essence of the man, the myth, the maniac.
I really wish I could have known Mike Carden at the time this photo was taken, I know we would have caused much mischief together.
We probably would have ding dong ditched your house somewhere along the way." (source)
Mike playing chess. I love kid pics where you can see the adult in them. I will ignore the part where he kind of looks like one of my cousins.
Babies on stage. Look at Bill already doing that leaning thing. I debated putting this up with Mike's t-shirts, but felt it fit better here.
Young Mike Carden molests young Bill Beckett in his sleep.
Young Mike Carden molests a sofa.
This is the young Mike Carden who looks like he could fit right in with baby!Panic.
Mike Carden is a giant dork. This may or may not be a known fact. When I saw TAI on the Fall Ball tour, Mike waved at the crowd (and let me note that he waves like a little kid - that grasping kind of wave), then gave us a thumbs up, then waved again with both hands. At least one scurrilous internet gossip thread has a lot of conversation about him being awkward and/or thanking people a million times. (source)
I can't lie: I love how fierce the girl in front is.
Poor Mike ended up in the back of all of these kids on their bus pictures. I don't know why Sisky's dressed as the devil.
This is really more about the Butcher being a dork, but Mike is taking the brunt of it.
This section is for pictures that didn't fit anywhere else. It includes Mike in bed, Mike in bathtubs, Mike on couches, Mike in a hat, Mike cuddling up to other people, Mike on stage, Mike being hot, and some other stuff.
Mike in bed with a girl. (source)
With a stuffed animal?
Mike in a quilt. This is kind of like Mike in bed.
missmollyetc says, "Fandom law requires that at least two pictures of Mike Carden, naked and smoking in an anonymous hotel bathtub be posted in every TAI picspam." (source)
Mike is very surprised to have his picture taken.
Mike is an actual guy.
I'm mostly sure that's a couch and not a bed. That's also an inexplicable t-shirt, and a weird look on his face.
This is also the picture that most says girl!Carden to me.
He's so happy!
Mike on a couch and in a hat.
Mike in a hat sleeping.
Mike in a hat with fangs.
Mike cuddling up to a koala.
Mike and Sisky in New York City. Picture by Michael Guy Chislett. (source)
Mike with a girl. And wearing the font style shirt again. (source)
With his band, parts of Panic, and Pete.
With his band, Panic, and Pete.
On TV with his band. Michael Guy Chislett looks really good in these pictures.
With his band.
Perched on the chair like a maiden aunt.
I love that Mike and Bill are the center of this picture. Even if Bill's wearing one of his ridiculous sweaters.
With the Butcher.
Again with the Butcher.
Playing to Sisky.
Cuddled up to Sisky.
With a dog. From what I can remember from captions I've seen on this picture, the dog is Millie, who belong(ed?) to Bill.
I don't know who most of the people in this picture are, but it's adorable.
Playing to Bill.
On TV with Pete.
With his band.
On TV with Bill and Pete.
On stage. The picture that makes people say, "HIS ARMS."
I like the composition of this one.
I found this set entertaining because of Mike's feet. Somehow this was one of the best photos the photographer took and decided to upload.
Japan. Mike on a curb.
Birthday party! With Rob Hitt. (source)
And slightly more serious.
Blowing out the candles.
This is mostly here so you can drool over the shape of Mike's mouth.
With just one slice of cake.
He's so happy!
Does he actually play the piano, or is he just mugging for the camera?
The obligatory creepy Carden picture. Taken by Sisky and captioned, "Never pick the bunk directly under Mike Carden..." (source)
Adorable with a plant background.
This makes me laugh.
Being adorable with Bill.
Smoking is bad for you. But this picture is hot.
What is he doing with his mouth?
I find this picture so hot.
The font styles shirt again.
As far as anyone can tell, Mike was the only member of TAI to go to Michael Guy Chislett's wedding. If you google the wedding, you can find pictures of the best man, who appears to be wearing the same suit Mike's wearing, which makes me think Mike was actually in the wedding party.
And now the part you're probably actually here for: pairings involving Mike Carden.
Let's be honest: there's a good chance you've wandered over here thinking, "What the hell is up with this Jonas Brothers nonsense?" Well, let me tell you.
Mike/Kevin can be wholly credited to (or blamed on, depending on your perspective) skoosiepants.
rsadelle: Now, see, my theory has always been that you wanted to add the JoBros to the Supersaturation verse and then wondered, "Who would be the funniest possible person to pair with Kevin?" and that was the beginning of Kevin/Mike.After that first story, Skoosie started writing more Mike/Kevin, and she and starflowers started sodamnskippy, which only encouraged more of us to write it.
skoosiepants: it was kind of like that!! I wanted a badass to balance out Kevin's ridiculousness and Mike just happened to fit the bill :) (source)
Answers to frequently asked questions:
- Yes, this is a pairing made almost entirely of crack.
- No, they have not (as far as we know) ever met in real life.
- Yes, we realize this means we're writing fic about a Jonas brother.
- No, we are not ashamed of this.
Most of the Mike/Kevin fic is comprised of AUs and things where they just happen to meet.
In reality, they have a couple of good six degrees of separation connections:
- Mike is in TAI with Bill who co-wrote a song with Demi Lovato who has written music with/is friends with/is in the Camp Rock movies with the Jonas Brothers.
- The Jonas Brothers have met Pete on at least two occasions. (Fandom additionally seems to have great faith in Pete's ability to meet whomever he wants.)
- Tony Marino has been TAI's tour manager for years and years. Earlier this year, he left TAI's tour to go work for the JoBros. (source)
If you need to know more about Kevin, I can't recommend the Jonas University Lecture Series highly enough. Even if you don't need to know more, I recommend reading it just for the amazing writing. Start with JNS 101 and work your way through the series.
This is still a fairly small fandom, and the reality is that while some fic is better than others (as in all fandoms), I've yet to find anything that was completely unreadable. sodamnskippy has a masterlist, and Mike/Kevin is showing up pretty regularly on anon_lovefest.
Five stories I like (this is not an exhaustive list, just a place to get started):
Dancing Without Warning by skoosiepants - Reality-based love story.
Three days later, Kevin’s enjoying some anonymity in a bookstore – which probably isn’t true anonymity, but he’s there without his brothers, The Jerry graciously agreed to wait by the door, and it’s an adult enough atmosphere that he really thinks the cap and sunglasses are working for him - Kevin gets a text from an unfamiliar number. It reads: wtf are u wearingGood Boys Gone Bad by starflowers - Everything you could want in an FBI AU.
"Why would you think that, anyway?" Carden asked, after a long moment.Skeptics and Lovebugs by bergann - Pretending to be together plots rock my world.
Kevin took a shaky breath and then said with a weak grin, "In the books, it’s always the scary looking, hot guy that you think's the bad guy who ends up secretly being the hero."
"Would anyone care to explain how I got engaged to a Jonas brother overnight without even having the benefit of being drunk in Vegas?" Mike throws the door open, something Kevin would normally protest at, but the words die on his tongue. "I didn't even know any of them were legal."Breathing's Just a Rhythm by mywholecry - High school AU mpreg.
There a few plans that Kevin could follow right now, other than the one he's currently following, which involves lying prostrate on his bed in the dark and not calling Mike. He had been lying on his stomach on the floor and not calling Mike, but then he was afraid that the tiny, tiny person that is apparently living inside of him might get crushed by his rib cage or something. He doesn't really know how these things work.Accidentally I Do by laniew1 - Accidental marriage fic.
Apparently pretty purple drinks make him kind of slutty. That's the only explanation he can come up with. He'll never be able to drink another purple drink, ever.Feel free to add your favorites in the comments!
Which is kind of sad because they were kind of awesome; of course they also made him forget half the night and made him get married to Mike Carden.
I don't read Tom Conrad fic (I know someone who knows him, so in my head, he's a friend of a friend, not a random guy in a band), so I don't actually have any recs for this. You might try the delicious tom/mike tag (read carefully; that's as likely to be Tom Welling/Mike Rosenbaum as it is Tom Conrad/Mike Carden), or perhaps someone who does read it will leave some recs in the comments.
If you don't know why you might want Tom/Mike, I recommend reading riorhapsody's TAI primer for more on their history. I will leave you with some pictures, though:
You might be wondering why Tom isn't in this picture. It's because he took the picture.
Another of Tom's photos.
One of Tom's photos.
Again, one Tom took.
Another one Tom took.
Maybe I should have made a threesome section for this one.
Remember that whole section up above where William was leaning on Mike? Why isn't there more fic about them?
In the early days of the band, they shared a bedroom in an apartment. They apparently both worked at the Gap. (source) Think of all the fic you could write about that.
Mike in the old apartment - I think. It's certainly what Bill implies. (source)
Tom said, "The dynamics between Bill and Mike makes things very hard. One almost has to take sides to get anything done, which is something that I did not do while in the band." (source) That seems like something you could write about.
Rock Star by morganya - Melancholy but lovely.
It was easier with girls, William told him once. If it was a lady asking the questions, he had a better sense of what he wanted to say, how he wanted to put things. "I don't know what it is with guys," he'd told Mike. "I look at them asking me stuff and I keep thinking of every asshole who called me a faggot back in school."Married to the Road by morganya - Also melancholy but lovely.
Privately Mike thought that it had a lot to do with how girls reacted to William. They all wanted to either sleep with him or mother him. He kept that particular thought to himself.
Sometimes in interviews, they ask him to describe his life, the way he lives now as opposed to the way he lived before. Mike always gets tripped up by that question, because no one ever seems satisfied when he says, "It's cool," or "It's different." He really doesn't know how to sum up his life, how to describe everything so it all makes sense and doesn't come out in some disjointed ramble. If he was more comfortable with words, he might be able to give the best answer. But he's not, really.not what you wanted by blurredidolatry - Angsty sex.
Words are more Bill's thing, anyway.
Mike's not going to take advantage, he tells himself, digging his thumbs into soft hip and sharp bone.
William pants into his collarbone and presses harder against him. His fingers, heavy with Jack Daniels, fumble through Mike's hair, trying to pull him down for a kiss. Mike turns his head away.
"Bill," he breaths and William mumbles something, presses his lips under Mike's jaw.
Why would I tell you about this when dandylionsgirl has written a perfectly good primer? You should go read that.
Today there's this:
siskybusiness: I would like to take this time to wish a happy Birthday to my main man Mike Carden. I love you Santi. You are my worst best friend! Muah (source)Then, if you want to read fic, you can browse through the delicious mike/sisky tag. There isn't that much there; you can read it all in an afternoon or so.
Mike/Michael Guy Chislett
Mike fell in mad guitar love with Michael the first time they met:
But, see, I knew Michael (Guy Chislett, Conrad's replacement), and Michael played with Butch, and I met Michael at the "Slow Down" video that we did for Almost Here. I sat down with the dude, we just talked about music, we played guitar. It's funny. I was with a friend that night, and I go back, we're shooting this video, and I go, "Dude, that dude Michael is awesome. I know I'm gonna play guitar with him someday. I just don't know when it's going to be." (source)
Playing Guitars by savvygambols - Adorable guitar love story.
Michael opens the door all the way and leans against the frame. Behind him, Mike is sitting on the wrong bed. He is also only wearing jeans, is barefooted and shirtless, a cup of coffee within reach. He has a guitar in his lap and he smiles at Brendon.Boy meets boy (the robot remix) by littlerhymes - Michael's a robot. Mike loves him anyway.
"Thanks, Mike Carden!" the MGC says. "However, my present attire is engineered for complete thermodynamic-"And starring Mike Carden as himself. by jamjar - TAI TV as matchmaking.
"It makes you look like an alien," Mike says. "Look, man, I can't take you to school if you're wearing a silver jumpsuit. People are gonna freak. Just. Get changed, okay?"
"So are we doing classic love scenes? Like, recreating them from the movies?" Michael says, leaning in across Mike. "'Play it again, Sam.'" Dropping his voice and sounding like Humphrey Bogart would if he was Australian, and maybe drunk.
"Humphrey Bogart never actually said that," Mike points out, shifting so he's got more space. They've got to work on a rota, some kind of way of stacking themselves in on the seats so it's not the skinny guys all on one side, average on the other.
For whatever reason, there isn't much in the way of TAI gsf. I don't know why not; they're just as gay as any other band.
There's one here: Two boots and a spur on by modillian. I don't think I've read it, although I have read other things by her that were good.
They're the three original members of the band. They used to go out for midnight pancakes together:
There is one excellent William/Mike/Sisky story: Three Cheers by an anonymous author. (As far as I know, it's the only William/Mike/Sisky story.)
Except Sisky's got his tongue down Bill's throat and one hand on Mike's thigh. Bill's got one arm around Sisky's shoulders and his other hand between Sisky's legs, rubbing him through his sweatpants, and Sisky’s got one hand on Mike's thigh. Bill does something, either with his tongue or his hand (or possibly both at the same time) and Sisky gasps, squeezing Mike's thigh tightly, and Mike can't help but to gasp as well, because fuck.
TAI went on tour with Midtown (Gabe's previous band) early in their career. Gabe was also at Mike's 23rd birthday party in Las Vegas. It's entirely possible this was because it was also Rob Hitt's 30th birthday party (Rob was also in Midtown), but Gabe and Mike clearly hung out together:
The card says "Don't be a faggot." Classy, Gabe. (source)
GabrielSaporta: Mike carden just sent me this : "hahahah your friend SANTI is back!" so scary... (source)
You may remember from up above that Mike was at Bob McLynn's wedding. So was Gabe:
GabrielSaporta: Sometimes u don't realize how much u miss someone till u get to see them again. It was great hangin w/our boys in The Academy tonight! (source)
Bill and Sisky, at least, flew home the next day, but Mike stayed in New York for at least another day and hung out with Gabe:
GabrielSaporta: ok g2g. mike carden is coming over. we're gonna go have a shvitz & talk about the dire state of the music industry w/a bunch of old russians (source)As far as I know, there's only one Mike/Gabe story out there: An Isolated Moment of Life by morganya, which takes place the day after Mike's birthday party. Like her other stuff, it has a lovely, melancholy feel to it.
Mike thinks it's been this way since the beginning. When he first met Gabe, he wasn't too far beyond being the kid who'd put In The Songs on every mix CD. He and William had talked about it before that particular tour had even started, that the only band rule, until they came off the road, had to be "Act cool in front of Midtown." Then they actually started the tour and it took about a week before both he and Bill were stupid in love with Gabe.
Neither of them knew what to do with it, except try to pretend it wasn't happening. Sometimes Bill would come back from drinking with Gabe and clamber into Mike's bunk, unless it was a day when they were fighting, and they'd whisper about what Gabe said before falling asleep.
Things haven't really changed in three years.
I have no idea what the basis for this pairing is. My best guess is that it's because they're both musicians from Chicago and when you need a girl, your choices in bandom are relatively limited. That doesn't stop it from being adorable.
icanbreakthesky appears to be the main Mike/Greta writer. You should become LJ friends with her so you can read her locked entry with bits of a lovely Mike/Greta story in progress.
Kiss the Sky - Mike and Greta in space. Greta's pregnant. Lovely.
Finally Mike spoke. "Please let me do this."Puppy Love - Mike and Greta have sex, then start dating. Adorable.
She closed her eyes as if to block his words, but the arm around her shoulders tightened and the motion of his palm on her belly seemed all that much more noticeable. She dropped her hand from her own skin to his, stilling the movement as though it was unbearable. "Mike."
"We're partners," she whispered. "I'm not letting you go up there without me."
She straightened her skirt around her knees again and gave herself a minute for the flush to die down from her cheeks. "I don't suppose you saw where my underpants went?" she asked.
"I think," Mike said. "Oh, here." Mike stood up from the equipment he was leaning over with his shirt and her underwear dangling from each of his hands.
"Thanks." She took them and stepped into them delicately.
"So, hey, do you want to. I don't know, maybe get dinner sometime?" Mike asked with his shirt covering his head. When he pulled it on properly, Greta thought he seemed redder than before.
We've now come to the section of pairings that I think there should be fic about but isn't, at least to my knowledge.
This does not just come from a limited choices in girls place. They clearly know each other - TAI and Cobra love to tour together - and there are a couple of pictures they're in together (and I swear there's one more out there that I can't find again:
I really want fic where they're not romantically involved, but they are friends and the sex is good, so they hook up when they're on tour together.
Mike/someone in Panic
They toured together. They're in pictures together.
Mike said, "I like listening to Panic every night." (source) That's more than enough for their to be fic about them.
Mike/someone in Fall Out Boy
Did you know that Mike could have been a member of FOB?
BE: So I went and checked out your Wikipedia entry, and it says that you once turned down an offer to join Fall Out Boy. True?I could totally go for some fic where he did join or where he didn't because one of them was an ex or where he hooked up with one (or more) of them.
MC: Well, I mean, "turned down"? (scoffs) I grew up with those dudes! I had another year of high school left, and they were talking about it, and Patrick used to just sing, and I knew Joe and Pete, and we joked about it, but I don't know that I really "turned it down." I guess the cards just didn't fall in the right place at the time. Which is totally cool. (laughs) (source)
Other Mike Recs
I have two other stories to rec to you that don't fit into any of the categories above.
Five times Mike Carden realized he really was the only straight boy on FBR. by icanbreakthesky - Hilarious.
What does surprise him is when he's standing in his shorts drinking orange juice from the carton in the five minutes before everyone has to get up, when Bill opens his bedroom door and Mike turns to say "good morning," he sees past Bill's elbow that Adam is naked on the bed.Mike Carden jerking off, thinking about Ray Toro. - Hot and amusing.
It's not gay if it's just an exception.
That's all it is really. Ray Toro is just Mike's exception. Mike likes girls. He likes pussy. And boobs. Boobs are fucking great. So logically, he's gotta be allowed one stupid exception to all that. It's just one guy. And it's not like it's some random guy, it's Ray fucking Toro.