Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-v

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vi-ix

read more

Foreword

Dave Marsh

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. x-xiii

The ores came from West Virginia, Bolivia, Asia. The rubber from Africa, then Akron. The men who made the steel and aluminum were from Eastern Europe, China, Mexico, Tennessee, and Alabama, not to mention most of the places in between. Sometimes, the fathers of the men who assembled the finished parts were men whose own fathers (or grandfathers, or both) had done the same. Sometimes they were newly arrived from Lebanon, Oklahoma, Latvia, or Louisiana. Sometimes their families had come many generations past from Scotland or the west coast of Africa or Central America. Ships, trains, and trucks moved the raw materials, down...

read more

Introduction

M. L. Liebler

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xiv-xvii

"Heaven was Detroit!” This a line from a faux letter sent to Detroit music journalist Dave Marsh from the legendary rock writer Lester Bangs in 1986. The slight problem was that Bangs had passed away four years earlier, so who actually wrote the letter is something of a mystery. Lester Bangs was one of the best-known and most iconic American rock writers of his generation (as portrayed in the film Almost Famous), and he cut his teeth right here in Detroit writing for Creem magazine. Bangs’s letter to Marsh arrived from heaven on Lester’s own “cloud stationery,” and I swear...

1. Detroıt Jazz

read more

A Top-Down Motown Bebop Pubescence: Twelve Takes

Al Young

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-7

1/

For any instrument that rose to my ear, I’d mastered my deft air versions. Hand jive. Except for some real-life trumpet or piano now and again, I conducted my imaginary concert-listening sessions with creative gusto. Saxophones, trombone, French horn, oboe, harp, harpsichord, guitar, clarinet, flute, violin, bass, drums—I had it covered. All I had to do then was blow the dust off my sapphire or diamond stylus, set the needled tone arm down in the groove, and let the vinyl whirl.

2/

With the friendliest of crackles, universes floated, coating my brain and heart, kicking...

read more

Bebop in Detroit: Nights at the Blue Bird Inn

Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 8-12

In the jazz world, one sure sign of veneration is having tunes named for you. By that measure, Detroit’s Blue Bird Inn has made it. At least two prominent Motor City jazz stars have honored the legendary jazz nightclub—their old stomping ground—with tune titles in recent years.

First there was trumpeter Thad Jones’s composition “5021.” It refers to the Blue Bird’s address on Tireman, on the city’s near west side. Then there’s pianist Tommy Flanagan’s “Beyond the Bluebird,” the title track of his acclaimed 1990 recording with his former bandmate, guitarist...

read more

The Donald Byrd–Pepper Adams Quintet: Jazz in Detroit, 1958–61

Gary Carner

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 13-19

Although they seldom performed together in Detroit as teenagers, trumpeter Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams established an enduring musical partnership in their late twenties that coalesced a few years after both had moved to New York City. Their first New York gig was probably at the Cafe Bohemia in early February 1958. Later that month, they were paired as the front line for a Thelonious Monk studio recording, just as they began a residency at the Five Spot that lasted until June. Already in demand as a dynamic front-line duo, their four-month run...

read more

Teddy Harris: A Jazz Man in Motown

Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 20-26

Few Detroit musicians illustrate the link between jazz and Motown music better than Theodore Edward Harris Jr. (1934–2005). He boxed with Berry Gordy, sang with Jackie Wilson, and was a Motown road-band conductor/arranger. He was also the Supremes’ music director for over a decade.

His jazz roots are deep, too. His father worked for decades as a bandleader, pianist, and organist. Harris was a central figure in Detroit’s informal “jazz academy,” and he exemplifies the “Detroit way”—older musicians helping younger...

read more

Rebirth of Tribe

Larry Gabriel

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 27-38

Tribe was a labor of love, learning, and kindred spirits. Tribe was about cool grooves and creative music, but it was also about community, rebellion, and black self-determination.

Those were edgy days. The civil rights movement had passed its peak and black power brought a more assertive attitude to many African American enterprises—including jazz. An indefatigable curiosity gripped musicians of all stripes. The doors of creativity and experience were wide open, and funky soul-rock had entered the jazz pantheon along with the swing, bebop, postbop, and avant-garde...

read more

Strata Records

John Sinclair

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 39-44

In the fall of 1964, cornetist Charles Moore; photographer Magdalene Arndt; artists Larry Weiner, Howard Weingarden, and Ellen Phelan; poets George Tysh, Robin Eichele, Jim Semark, and myself; and several of our friends in the neighborhood around Wayne State University founded an artists’ collective called the Detroit Artists Workshop.

The Artists Workshop served as an important meeting ground for resident artists, like musicians Charles Moore and saxophonist Larry Nozero, with outstate natives like Lyman Woodard from the Flint area, John Dana from Mt. Pleasant, and Ron...

read more

Roy Brooks: Detroit Downbeat

Bill Harris

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 45-46

To appreciate and understand Roy Brooks, listen for his message when he speaks and works. Schooled by the bebop drummers who stretched beyond merely keeping time, Brooks has progressed even further, adding his own verbal and performing vocabulary.

“I am a drumist,” he says. “That’s like a pianist or bassist....The word ‘drumist’ is a name that implies I am a drummer and I am a percussionist.”

Drumist Brooks resides in Detroit, where he was born fifty-odd years ago. He attended Northwestern High School at a time when music education was not only available...

read more

Musician Interrupted: Faruq Z. Bey

W. Kim Heron

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 47-59

He’d gone to see saxophonists John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders the year before at a place on Dexter called the Drome Lounge, and their wail was like nothing he’d ever experienced before: magnificent, powerful, polyrhythmic, polytonal, polychromatic, emotional, form-shattering—the purest music he’d ever experienced before or since.

And when the word went out that Coltrane had died on a Monday in July—or gotten so heavy he’d fallen off the planet, as some wags would have it—it was only fitting to call for a memorial party. A dozen or so fans worshipfully played records...

2. Detroit Blues

read more

Alberta, Alberta: The Alberta Adams Story

R. J. Spangler

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 63-66

I first saw Alberta Adams in 1979 in a live blues revue my friend Ron Alpern produced. It was part of a series at what some folks call Lakewood Park, along the Detroit River where it meets Lake St. Clair. The official name of the place is Alfred Brush Ford Park. Those early concerts in the late 1970s were incredibly well attended. Playing in that series with our band Kuumba and, later, joining the Sun Messengers on that same stage for their official unveiling were important gigs in my fledgling career.

Rick Steiger was my musical partner back then, and we still chuckle about hearing Alberta calling out from...

read more

John Lee Hooker and Joe Von Battle: No Magic, Just Men

Marsha Music

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 67-69

I was interviewed in 2001 by a young man who was writing about Detroit blues. As he researched this seminal music of the city, his work increasingly focused on my late father, Joe Von Battle. From the mid-’40s until 1967, my father recorded dozens of blues and gospel artists, most in the recording studio in the back of his record store, Joe’s Record Shop, and on location in churches and clubs.

He recorded Little Sonny, Johnnie Bassett, Sonny Boy Williamson II, the Meditation Singers (with Della Reese), the Violinaires, Bro. Will Hairston, and the list goes on and on; artists famous and artists unknown...

read more

Searching for the Son: Delta Blues Legend Son House in Detroit

Rev. Robert B. Jones Sr.

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 70-78

I grew up in Detroit with a grandmother who loved all kinds of music. She loved gospel, and when she cranked up the old Magnavox console you could hear the sounds of Rev. James Cleveland, or the Soul Stirrers, or the Harmonizing Four all over the house. She also loved R&B and soul music. But perhaps more than any style, she loved the blues. I grew up listening to the likes of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins, B. B. King, and Slim Harpo. Somewhere along the line, I came to love blues as well. When I went to college at Wayne State University in the mid-’70s I found...

read more

Johnnie Bassett: Cadillac Bluesman from the Motor City

John Sinclair

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 79-91

The blues has always been a big part of life in the Motor City, but it’s been a long time since Detroit’s musically fertile blues community has seen one of its own citizens go on to national and international success. Not since Little Sonny landed a contract with Stax Records and issued a series of excellent albums on the Enterprise label in the 1970s, in fact, has a Motor City bluesman raised much of a ruckus in the blues industry.

The scene changed with the reemergence of veteran Detroit bluesmen like Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones, winner of a Handy Award for Best New Blues Performer in 1997 on the...

read more

Motor City Blues through the Ages

John Sinclair

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 92-95

Except for a couple of raggedy blocks straggling south from East Grand Boulevard, Detroit’s Hastings Street is gone now. The Motor City’s major African American entertainment thoroughfare was gouged out in the late 1950s to make way for the Walter P. Chrysler Freeway, a federally subsidized fast track laid down to facilitate the flight of the city’s white population to the northeastern suburbs of Hazel Park, Warren, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Madison Heights, and points north.

But for twenty years before that, Hastings Street swung all the way from Paradise Valley downtown for fifty...

3. Early Detroit Soul: The Pre-Motown Sounds

read more

Fortune Records for Truly Great Music

S. R. Boland

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 98-112

It was the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” of Detroit record companies. It should have achieved the iconic status of a Chess Records, or a Specialty, or a King—but it didn’t. It would have had better success if it had secured national distribution—but it didn’t. And it could have had that distribution,and sold millions upon millions of records, if only the owners had had more foresight and vision—but they didn’t.

The contender in question is Fortune Records, Detroit’s influential independent label of the ’50s and ’60s. At its worst, Fortune’s approach to recording was amateurish and clichéd. At its...

read more

Nathaniel Mayer in the Twenty-First Century

Matthew Smith

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 113-116

Nathaniel Mayer’s house on Detroit’s east side, on Burns Street between I-94 and Van Dyke, was an oasis of seminormalcy in the middle of a war zone. Most of the houses on his street looked like they’d been blown up. The remaining houses were mostly crack houses. Nathaniel’s place was a nice, old house that made you feel comfortable enough to forget you were living in the twenty-first century. The house looked like it hadn’t changed much since 1960, which is about the time Nate’s musical career began.

One night Nate’s bass player and I were at the house celebrating Nate’s birthday, hanging out and...

read more

Back in Detroit City with Andre Williams

Matthew Smith

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 117-121

The phone rang.

“Andre Williams is looking for you. He wants to work with the guys who were working with Nathaniel Mayer. Here’s his number.” I call Andre. Andre immediately says, “What kind of record do you think I ought to make?” Without hesitating, I blurted out, “Well, Mick Jagger’s been trying to sound like you for a long time now. Maybe you ought to do something with a Stones kind of feel.” Andre’s deep baritone, or bass voice, or whatever it actually is, quickly replied, “We will have to pay close attention to what the Rolling Stones have...

read more

Jack Scott: Detroit’s Unsung Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer

S. R. Boland

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 122-128

Intense. Sincere. Energetic. A little dangerous. That’s the image of Jack Scott, the first rock ’n’ roll star to be popularly identified with the city of Detroit. Scott, born Giovanni Dominico Scafone Jr. on January 24, 1936, grew up a Hank Williams acolyte but later infused the Detroit rock ’n’ roll attitude into his shows and records. He was a dominant force on the radio and on pop music charts from 1958 through 1961, placing nineteen songs in the Billboard magazine Hot 100. Unlike many rock ’n’ roll and pop music stars of his era, Jack Scott wrote the vast majority...

read more

Two Detroit Music Icons and Two Classic Theaters: Artie Fields and Harry Balk

Joel Martin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 129-131

In 1973 I was a sixteen-year-old kid from Oak Park, and I had just managed to score an internship as an apprentice at Artie Fields Productions in Detroit. This was my entree into a business and profession that I would become immersed in and forever identified with for the rest of my life. My career all started with Artie Fields, and that eventually would lead me to a friendship with the great Harry Balk.

At the time I started interning for Mr. Fields, he was already a giant in the music jingle business, producing over ten thousand spots for the biggest ad agencies in the country, and he already had...

read more

Nine Times out of Ten: The Clix Records Story

Michael Hurtt

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 132-139

Buried next to I-75 in Troy, Michigan, just south of the Big Beaver Road exit, they sit, surrounded by strip malls, corporate high-rises, and recently constructed apartment complexes: a smattering of old farmhouses—some still heated by oil furnaces and kerosene heaters—on a two-block stretch of dirt and gravel road accessible only through an abutting parking lot.

One has the eerie feeling that this rural enclave, standing in stark opposition to its overly developed surroundings, won't be here long. But even after the last old homestead has been mercilessly...

4. Motown: The Sound of Young America

read more

The Story of Hitsville: Motown Days

Gary Graff

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 142-156

It was called Hitsville U.S.A. for good reason.

The company that Berry Gordy Jr. started with an $800 loan from his family did indeed please the world. The largest black-owned company of its time produced fifty-three number 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and another 138 that topped various other charts. It was a success story of massive proportions, showcasing artistry that helped unite a racially divided country and establishing itself as a symbol and a cultural icon whose impact remains an inspiration around the world....

For Beans: Written on the Occasion of the Funeral Service for Dr. Thomas “Beans” Bowles Sr., February 5, 2000, at Central United Methodist Church

Bill Harris

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 157-159

read more

Half a Mile from Heaven: The Love Songs of Motown

Herb Jordan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 160-167

Detroit in the 1960s was an unlikely stage for a production that featured some of the most inspirational love songs ever written. It may seem equally unlikely that most of those songs were written by young black men. Default notions of romance are an awkward overlay to the reality of this city of steel and sweat, Joe Louis, and Jimmy Hoffa. Rough? Tanks that rolled off Detroit’s assembly lines and onto Europe’s beaches as liberators returned home twenty years later to quell urban rebellion. But there was no simple way to quiet the musical movement that was surging in the basements...

read more

Waiting for Smokey Robinson

Melba Joyce Boyd

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 168-176

"Are you sure he’s coming?”

“Yeah,” my cousin Hayward said with clear conviction.

“How do you know that? Just ’cause you saw him the other day doesn’t mean he’s gonna show up today,” I contested.

We were sitting on the sidewalk of Belmont Street, directly across from the home of Smokey Robinson. It had only been about fifteen minutes, but it felt like forever, and I was bored waiting for the famous Motown artist to appear. Besides, it was summertime in Detroit—hot, humid—and Hayward, who was seven years old and four years my junior, was notorious for engaging...

read more

Flo Ballard: The Love Supreme

Peter Benjaminson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 177-182

Florence Glenda Ballard, who died in 1975, was the founding member of the Supremes, the most successful female singing group in history. An international singing star by age twenty-one, she performed with the other two original Supremes, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross, before and during their glory years, 1964–67. Of the fourteen records they recorded during those years, five in a row and ten altogether rose to number 1 on the pop charts. In 1965 and 1966, five of the nine singles they recorded hit number 1.

Only the Beatles, the world’s other top group at that time, would exceed the Supremes’ record, but to...

read more

Mary Wells, “My Guy,” and the Queen of Motown

Peter Benjaminson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 183-190

Years before Diana Ross, Mary Wells was the first Motown superstar, the internationally popular songstress who sang the megahit “My Guy.” Her songs crossed the color line and reached huge white (and black) audiences in America and England consistently, repeatedly, and seemingly miraculously.

Wells achieved star status with her very first song, which she wrote herself, without any musical training, and sold directly to Motown. It soon became a hit, as did almost every one of the succeeding songs she recorded for Motown and many of the songs she recorded for other companies. She set the tone...

read more

An Elegant Equation: Changing World, Changing Motown

Herb Jordan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-196

In 1967 it was clear that nothing would be as it was.

The ’60s were in full swing. Televised reports of war in Vietnam and the Middle East and the emergence of China as a nuclear power gave distant events an unsettling immediacy. The fragile façade of domestic tranquility cultivated in the 1950s dissolved into public protests for equality, against the war, and to save the planet. The image of heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, the archetypical genial gladiator, had been supplanted by that of a defiant Muhammad Ali, a black Muslim who was stripped of his title for refusing induction into the military. In 1967, a dozen...

read more

The Revolution Will Be Recorded: Black Forum Records: Detroit Rarity of the Revolution

Pat Thomas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 197-200

Even among diehard collectors of Motown’s vast output, Motown’s subsidiary Black Forum label remains obscure. It is overlooked in most Motown biographies, and no Black Forum recordings have ever been included in any Motown label anthology.

Even the thirty-song double-CD released by Motown in 2007 titled Power to the People: Civil Rights Anthems and Political Soul 1968–1975 does not include Black Forum artists or mention the label in the booklet’s overview of Motown during the black power era. And yet, the cover features a clenched-fist salute, and there’s a photograph...

read more

Excerpt from What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye and the Last Days of the Motown Sound

Ben Edmonds

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 201-208

June 28, 1990. In the cruel light of day, Tiger Stadium looks as beat up and run down as the dilapidated Detroit neighborhood it sits in. But tonight, with an overflow crowd well above the official estimate of fifty thousand, there is an electric buzz of anticipation in the air that threatens to levitate the old ballpark. Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Frankie Beverly will perform, but this is not a concert, and they are no more than supporting players.

A sleek town car glides across the field to the stage, and the throng erupts at the sight of its passenger, a dignified black man with...

read more

The Motortown Revues: An Edited Excerpt from The Story of Motown

Peter Benjaminson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 209-214

Motown was starting to roll forward. Among its hits recorded in 1960 and 1961 were “Money” by Barrett Strong, “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes, and “Shop Around” by the Miracles. “Shop” reached number 2 on the charts, becoming the company’s first Top 10 hit. But real success in the music industry cannot be based on recordings alone, for tunes become really popular only when the performers who record them go on tour.

But touring is expensive, and Motown had very little money. When early Motown acts toured, they couldn’t afford airplanes or hotel rooms. Often they’d travel by...

read more

Detroit, My Detroit

Susan Whitall

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 215-219

"How do you feel about never leaving Detroit?”

The question is sometimes friendly; at other times, it’s weighted with a slight sneer.

Oh, right. I’ve been chained to a rusty Impala parked on Woodward Avenue for decades, while my friends jet back and forth from California to the pleasure domes of Brixton and Berlin.

“Never left,” of course, is inaccurate. I’d already made one gut-wrenching move at the age of ten, when my engineer father got a better offer in the automotive industry and we moved from Philadelphia to Detroit. I missed four years of Detroit rock ’n’ roll...

5. Detroit Rocks: The ’60s: Kick Out the Jams

read more

DKT/MC5: The Truest Possible Testimonial

John Sinclair

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 222-232

It’s been more than ten years since Wayne Kramer, Michael Davis, and Dennis Thompson took the stage together in Detroit at Rob Tyner’s memorial concert at the State Theatre, and more than thirty years since they lurched their way through their final performance as members of the MC5 at the Grande Ballroom on New Year’s Eve 1972.

Thirty years is a long time in anyone’s life, especially when most of those years are spent mired in frustration, poverty, and despair. But once in a while a small miracle occurs, and all of a sudden everything is right back on the beam and the future...

read more

Robin Tyner: Early Days/Final Days

Rebecca “Tyner” Derminer

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-240

When first presented with the idea to write a narrative of my life with the MC5, I was very honored but also intimidated. Over the years, there have been so many articles, interviews, and interpretations, as well as different histories and events depending upon who was telling the story and how it related to their own personal agenda. How could I capture and share with others my experiences and how it felt to be involved in such a special time that had so many aspects of hopefulness, dreams, visions, despair, disappointments, success, conflict, and darkness?...

read more

Amboy Duke

Gary Graff

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 241-243

Revenge can be a powerful motivator.

And it’s certainly why the Amboy Dukes came into existence and took us on a “Journey to the Center of the Mind”—and beyond.

The Dukes were the unintended result of an adolescent trauma for guitarist Ted Nugent, who in 1964 was a happy Detroit boy, soaking up the early Motown and British Invasion sounds and playing his guitar in a band called the Lords. Then, his world was upended; his father, a former army drill sergeant, was moving the family to Chicago after receiving a promotion from Uddeholm Steel, and...

read more

The Story of Detroit’s Third Power Band

Willy Wilson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 244-248

L ike a meteor shooting across the horizon, the Third Power lit up the Detroit music scene with a ferocious roar like no other group before them. Like all meteors, they burned brightly for just a short while, leaving only one 45 and one full-length album but a lasting legacy.

BEGINNINGS

The Third Power was born at Oakland Community College in 1965 in a study class, when a student named Jem Targal started talking music with a teacher’s assistant named Drew Abbott. Originally, Jem was a violinist and Drew was a...

read more

Bob Seger: The Early Years

Gary Graff

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 249-252

Bob Seger clearly recalls the first inkling that music might be his life’s pursuit—as we’d expect from the guy who sings that rock ’n’ roll never forgets.

“My dad made a big deal when I was, like, four years old about the fact that I sang, ‘I’m Looking over a Four-Leaf Clover’ in the back of his ’49 Buick,” Seger remembers. “He just went nuts over that. I think that was maybe the very first inclination for me.”

Sixty-six years later, that’s proven to be a sage revelation. Seger has carved out a four-decades-plus recording career in which he’s sold more than 50 million albums and launched...

read more

Seger Unsettled

John G. Rodwan Jr.

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 253-256

When “Old Time Rock and Roll” came on the radio in the back of the bike shop, one repairman jokingly asked the others, “OK, who’s the Bob Seger fan?” I’d previously witnessed a similar scene in a bar. When Seger started playing, someone wondered who’d made the laughably unhip jukebox selection. The song title precisely fits the musician’s work. He set out not to reinvent his genre but to glory in its power to affect listeners and in its legacy leading up to the 1970s, the period of his most muscular work. The bard of deracination, who had his first major hit with...

read more

The Rationals

Scott Morgan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 257-266

Steve Correll had called me and asked me to play something over the phone. I knew two songs, so I played those into the mouthpiece. We had a band. We tried to back up Bob Seger, but everyone knew it would end up two different groups. Too much talent. We knew he worked at Wild’s Men’s Wear, so we went there and introduced ourselves. He invited us to join him and Tom Ralston, Ann Arbor’s version of Mitch Mitchell. Bob was into Bobby Jameson and how he was such a big star he got a ticker-tape parade down Broadway. His eye was on the prize and he had the chops...

read more

Strange Früt: An East-Side Story of the Früt

George Moseman, a.k.a. “Moseley the Punk”

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 267-268

First, let me pay homage to some of the people I see appearing with the Früt in this examination of the really fun part of Detroit culture. From John Sinclair to Jarrett Koral, with Lester Bangs, Jaan Uhelszki, Barry Kramer, Cary Loren, Becky Tyner, Greil Marcus, and Jesus H. Christ, along with all of the other towering icons of our civilization thrown in for good measure.

In the beginning, the musically gifted Früt of the Loom made a name for themselves as an acid rock band. They played the Chessmate, the Crow’s Nest, and later the occasional pop fest, and were managed by the irrepressible Mike Quatro. The face...

read more

Strange Mysterious Sounds: The Demise of Ted Lucas and the Spike-Drivers

Mike Dutkewych

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 269-281

"I’m not working for any fucking Turk.”

That single sentence was one of the most damaging acts of self-sabotage in a music career of otherwise unlimited potential—the music career of Ted Lucas, Detroit’s long-forgotten psychedelic folk pioneer and perhaps the most underappreciated of its countless guitar virtuosos.

Ted Lucas made records for only a decade, between 1966 and 1976. Five singles, a full-length album, and a compilation appearance—that was the sum of his musical output as a member of four bands and as a solo artist. At least one single and...

6. Detroit Rocks into the ’70s and Beyond: From Everyone Loves Alice to Cass Corridor Punk to Death

read more

Alice Cooper All American: A Horatio Alger Story for the ’70s

Lester Bangs

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 284-288

“Return of the Spiders” is playing, and here stand these two stooges in the old sense, not like guitar hoodlumps cut from Ig-patterns, but just old- time disgraced schmozoes, except that these two schmozoes are listenin’ to this here rabid, highballed motherrhinofuck of a record. And one stooge looks at the other one with a pained expression on his face and sez: “Ugh, what loud unnerving shit! I couldn’t stand to be around music like that for more’n a couple of minutes before my nerves ’d come unstrung! And not only that, but you actually tell me it’s the first thing you like to play...

read more

Twenty-Five Years of Creem: Kiss and Not Tell, or Confessions of One of the Film Foxes

Jaan Uhelszki

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 289-298

Working at Creem was very nearly the perfect job. I say “nearly” because the pay was poor—if there was a payday that particular week. I started working for Creem in mid-1971 but never even received a paycheck until January 1972, on the occasion of my birthday. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that I finally got paid on that day, but then again you never knew with publisher Barry Kramer, who was very big on symbolic gestures. But if the truth be told, I would probably have paid Kramer to let me work there. Our fearless leader counted on that kind of altruistic sentiment and...

read more

Who Is the Sugar Man?

Howard A. Dewitt

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 299-305

When I walked into the Harkins Camelview 7 Theater to see Searching for Sugar Man, I had no idea who Sixto Rodriguez was or why he was important. I was in for a shock. The documentary by Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul analyzed everything that was wrong with the music business and everything that was right with Rodriguez. This documentary presented a person who is truly amazed at his success. His entire seventy-year life has been about music. Along the way, myth and reality clashed in such a way that ended up with his records, within the United States, confined to...

read more

Dangerous Diane: Detroit Art Rock and Punk in the Late ’70s

Diane Spodarek

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 306-309

I wrote those lyrics about Detroit. My identity as an artist came out of growing up in the Motor City. From preadolescence, when I would fall asleep with a red transistor radio on my pillow and sing Motown out my bedroom window hoping Smokey Robinson would hear me; it was always about Detroit.

In 1976, everything happened fast. We lived on the Southfield Road service drive in Northwest Detroit, two blocks from Grand River Avenue. After an MFA from Eastern Michigan University and after our daughter was born, Randy Delbeke and I founded two arts...

read more

A Band Called Death

Ben Blackwell

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 310-314

R ecord collectors are usually portrayed as a paramecium-like scum, petty, unshaven, un- sharing, socially crippled wastes. But sometimes, when everything aligns just right, they have the ability to do something small that ultimately leads to benefiting the greater good.

In the fall of 2007, I came in for one of my infrequent shifts at Car City Records in St. Clair Shores and found an interesting CD-R behind the counter. The only person who had any info on the disc was my coworker Matt Smith. He said there was a customer, a guy he called Das (given name...

read more

How the Gories Ruined Music

Danny Kroha

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 315-320

At first, the Gories were more purveyors of ideas and attitude rather than music. We could loosely be called musicians, but at the beginning we were more like an art project, a noise band, a cartoon of a band. We were trying to play music, and we knew we sucked at it, but sucking never stopped us, we sucked with attitude. We didn’t wait till we were “good enough” to get on a stage, we just did it. We were a statement, and our statement was, “fuck you.” Fuck you and your giant drum kit, fuck you and your splash cymbal, fuck you and your electronic drums, your shitty synth, your stupid hair cut, fuck you and...

read more

Kid Rock before the Fame: The Definitive Oral History

Brian McCollum

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 321-333

Why is Kid Rock so big in Detroit?

Because Kid Rock got a head start in Detroit: a decade of building his name, grooming his sound, and reinventing his persona from scrappy hip-hop street kid to swaggering rock-rap showman.

In 2015, Rock’s album First Kiss marked his departure from Atlantic Records, the company that launched him into the national spotlight with 1998’s ten-million-copy-selling Devil Without a Cause.

Getting to that point wasn’t without struggle. The teenage Kid Rock had been dropped by his first label, and he returned to Detroit in the early ’90s disillusioned...

read more

Kid Rock: From Apple Orchards to the World

Gary Graff

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 334-337

Kid Rock may not have been born to perform, but he was certainly bred for it.

Growing up in Romeo, Michigan—closer to apple orchards than the trailer park of his early image—a young Bob Ritchie would often be called upon by his parents to entertain their friends at parties with a pantomime of Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” That planted a seed that later grew into hot DJ sets at basement parties in Mount Clemens and Detroit, club shows at the Ritz and the Palladium, and ultimately to festivals such as Woodstock ’99 and headlining arenas and stadiums around...

read more

Cathouse: The Cass Corridor’s Last Great Band

Thomas Trimble

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 338-345

Like any music scene, Detroit has a long list of bands who almost made it. If you spend any time at all flipping through back issues of Detroit’s alternative weekly, the Metro Times, you’ll see profiles of long-forgotten bands described as “having what it takes.” It’s a familiar trope, but one that’s less and less newsworthy as the whole notion of success in the music business is transformed by the collapse of the record industry and the eclipse of rock ’n’ roll as pop culture’s primary medium.

Every city has its own unwritten encyclopedia of genuinely gifted, exciting artists and bands who never made it but...

7. Hip-Hop, Ghettotech, Donuts, and Techno Dreams

read more

Frankly Speaking: Awesome Dre’s Outspoken Detroit

Matt Deapo

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 348-350

Hip-hop’s golden age was an era of incalculable ingenuity and indeterminate length. Arguably born with Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell and buried with Biggie and 2Pac, it was broad enough to employ the entire recorded canon as its source material but petty enough to fracture in relation to substance and locality. Sticking to its guns, quite literally, California married itself to the eternal quest for “bitches and money,” riding high on a wave of syrupy ’70s massage-parlor funk. Alternately, New York waxed philosophical, mining jazz for its bountiful cache of sample material and incorporating Afrocentrism...

read more

Eminem in 2002

Greil Marcus

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 351-352

Last year, the great basketball player and famed uncensored mouth Charles Barkley addressed himself to the Eminem question. “You know this world is fucked up when the best rapper’s white and the best golfer’s black,” he said. Unless he said, as another of the countless printed versions of his statement had it, “America is crazy. The best...” You could just as well claim that if lines meant to keep certain people in their places have not only been crossed but erased, it’s proof that America is anything but crazy—and it’s intresting that Eminem, another famed uncensored mouth, has never made...

read more

Eminem: A Detroit Story

Bill Holdship

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 353-364

When it comes to Eminem, a lot of backstory probably isn’t necessary, especially in Detroit. But, really, that’s pretty much true anywhere in the civilized Western world (and I’d be surprised if he hasn’t been used by al-Qaeda or some organization like that somewhere along the way as a symbol of Western decadence; God knows he’s been used as a symbol and example of such in his own country enough times since he became a pop superstar and phenomenon).

But, I mean, hell, my mom knows who Eminem is. Five years away from the spotlight is a long time, sometimes...

read more

Inner-City Blues: The Story of Detroit Techno

Hobey Echlin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 365-368

From Motown and the MC5 to the White Stripes and Eminem, Detroit’s musical exports have always been breech-birthed products of the city that inspired them. Self-made and independent, Detroit’s musical legacy is a story of success in spite of—and more often than not because of—adversity. No Detroit-bred sound exemplifies this complicated love-hate relationship with its origins more than techno. A sound coldly abstract but somehow soulful, Detroit techno represents a convergence of the city’s deteriorating economic landscape in the ’80s, bored black middle-class...

read more

For Dilla’s Sake and the Love of Donuts

Shane M. Liebler

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 369-370

With his legacy complete, and that smile just a memory that beams from the cover of Donuts, we can now exhaustively examine J Dilla’s catalog, attempt to categorize the rhythms, and confidently assess his value to this art form. It’s not so much about what J did for hip-hop as it is what Dilla did for music—and not just modern music, I’m talking centuries’ worth of sound.

You see, you only get one of each individual human being: one me, one you. There’s only one of each of us, whether we seize the days of our lives or not. Nobody’s normal. You only...

read more

Ghettotech: Detroit Is Just Here to Party

Daniel Jones

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 371-376

Smoke swirled around the small group of people at Recycle Here Detroit. The DJ had his turn after hours of hallucinatory rock and noise had finally subsided. Grinding, fast paced, and, above all, grimy, Detroit’s own ghettotech assaulted our ears.

Among others, DJ Godfather and DJ Assault are the ghettotech ambassadors of the city, showing the world their unique Detroit sound. This fast and obscene movement could be nothing else and could have come from nowhere else.

Finding traction at the nexus of ’80s-throwback techno and dirty club hip-hop, ghettotech...

read more

Champ’s Town

Brian Smith

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 377-389

It’s a Tuesday night at Bev’s Backstreet topless bar, a dim, living-room-warm east-side den. The handful of house girls are bored and sitting at the bar chatting up a few middle-age gents nursing sour marriages or holiday cheerlessness—the kind accustomed to walking out of places like this alone, down a C-note, and smelling like vanilla. There’s a couple bikers in boots and denim.

A sylphlike white dancer in crack-revealing lavender hot pants moves across the small kidney-shaped stage slowly, languidly. She caresses the center pole with bored...

8. Sounds of Detroit: Country York Brothers and Latin Musica

read more

Mellow Milestone

Craig Maki

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 392-398

Leslie York liked to craft songs alone with his guitar when Detroit’s midnight din dropped to a hushed echo of yesterday’s busy streets blended with a suggestion of tomorrow. Working in a factory imposed an unwelcome schedule, and he balanced monotonous days by performing hillbilly music most evenings with his older brother George as the York Brothers in taverns near east-side factories, in neighborhoods of people who, like George and Les, left the South for steady employment in Detroit. When the York Brothers’ first record, “Hamtramck Mama,” appeared in 1939, subsequent publicity,...

read more

The Big Three: Contemporary Roots of Latin Sounds in Detroit—The Cruz Brothers, Ozzie Rivera, and Luis Resto

Rhonda Welsh

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 399-403

Many young people dream of having a career in music. As a teenager, Benny Cruz of Southwest Detroit was one of them. So, in 1976, he formed a band with his sister Rose and his brother Mauro. They learned a few songs, and they got their first gig at a graduation party in Detroit. Things were going well, but after a short time onstage, they found that they’d played through their entire repertoire. When they admitted this to the crowd and tried to step down, the people shouted out, “That’s OK, play them again!” This led to a career for Benny and Mauro that lasted...

9. Detroit Music Miscellanea

read more

Freeform Radio Master: Dave Dixon on WABX

Chris Morton

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 406-407

It was 1967 and, if we were lucky, once in a great while we might hear something cool on AM radio—Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” being a harbinger of what was to come. In the autumn of that year, Detroit’s WABX-FM began broadcasting The Troubador, an experimental show, for an hour each week.

For the first time we could listen to an eclectic mix of blues, rock, folk, and jazz all within the same program. And in stereo, no less. Within six months the X, as the station was known, was broadcasting similar programming for most of each...

read more

The Day I Saved WABX

Dan Carlisle

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 408-409

I am not sure of the date of this event, but I think it is 1968. There was so much social and personal change in my life from 1966 to 1970 that exact times are a bit gray or foggy in my memory. However, the details of the event I am going to tell you about are still sharp and clear in my mind.

I am in the little WABX production room with another staff member and I am voicing a spot for a Donovan album. At this point in the tale I need to add some background information on what was happening at this crazy little radio station located on the thirty-third floor of the...

read more

Lee Abrams and the Cold-Blooded, Calculated Assassination of Detroit Radio: An Eyewitness Account

Rick Allen

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 410-412

In 1972 nineteen-year-old Lee Abrams was hired as program director (PD) at WRIF-FM radio in Detroit. In less than two years, he changed the sound and, most important, the face of FM rock and roll radio.

The recommendation of a friend, writer and jazz expert Geoffrey Jacques, my Creem credentials, and the need to meet minority-hiring requirements had gotten me a part-time on-air shift at WYSP in the fall of 1971. I went full time a few months later, working overnights (i.e., the black-guy shift). When Abrams came to WRIF I was cut back to part-time work, and all personal appearances, emceeing...

read more

Gary Grimshaw: Poster Child

L. E. Grimshaw

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 413-416

If there ever was a synchronistic circumstance of vocation paired with innate talent, appropriate personality, and work ethic, it was the career that began when Gary Grimshaw was first handed over the phone call from Russ Gibb asking for “some of those posters like they have in San Francisco.” The call had come in to Rob Tyner, artist in his own right and lead singer of the newly organized band the MC5. Tyner’s band had been asked to open the club that Russ Gibb wanted to operate in Detroit fashioned after those he saw on a visit to the West Coast. The club was called...

read more

Grande Daze, Bubble Puppies, and Suburban Hippie Rock

Dr. Herman Daldin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 417-420

The 1960s was a magical and hope-filled era, especially for an adolescent. Adolescents are dreamers, and the dream that the world was becoming more accepting of creativity and individuality seemed almost tangible. In Detroit, we had Plum Street, love-ins, protests, and music. Music, especially, was changing and growing, allowing for more freedom and accessibility. Creative groups were forming, and the demand for venues in which to share and demonstrate the new sounds, sights, and ideas of the period was growing as well. I was enamored and seduced by the music...

read more

Random Thoughts: A Brief History of WSU’s Legendary Zoot’s Coffee

Aaron Anderson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 421-422

From the first time I stepped into Zoot’s I knew it was a special place. Tired of the downtown bar scene, a friend of mine had convinced me to check out the new coffeehouse a few blocks from our place on Alexandrine. Coffeehouses were a rare sight in the ’90s and even more uncommon in the Cass Corridor. But there it was, brightly lit and welcoming in the bleak landscape of after-dark Corridor life. Located in the first floor of a Victorian home and sandwiched in between a transient hotel and a locals-only dive bar, it was a strange and beautiful sight. At the time, Zoot’s was still trying to be a traditional...

read more

Rarities of the Revolution: Archie Shepp, the MC5, and John Sinclair

Pat Thomas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 423-425

Saxophonist Archie Shepp got his start playing with avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor. He participated in the 1965 sessions for John Coltrane’s seminal album A Love Supreme, but his contributions were left off of the original release— later appearing as bonus tracks on the 2002 expanded edition.

Also in 1965, Shepp released Fire Music for Impulse!, which included a spoken elegy called “Malcolm, Malcolm Semper Malcolm.” The MC5 adapted “Hambone” from Fire Music with words by Rob Tyner, retitled it “Ice Pick Slim,” and added it to their repertoire. Tyner’s lyrics were a nod...

read more

Detroit’s Historical Archer Records from the Inside-Outside

Ben Blackwell

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 426-428

Records have been pressed in Detroit and the southeastern Michigan area by numerous outfits for quite some time. Sav-Way Industries churned out untold quantities of Vogue picture discs from 1946 through 1947, all of which are still collected and sought out today. Vargo started out pressing 78s in Detroit in 1950 and later ended up as American Record Pressing in Owosso, handling the earliest Motown pressings as well as work for Vee Jay, Cameo-Parkway, and countless other small local outfits. While that plant burned down in 1972, its memory still lives on in the...

read more

Majesty Crush Lurking in the Shadows of Motown and Detroit Techno

Hobey Echlin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 429-432

Not so much standing, more like lurking in the shadows of Detroit’s more heralded musical legacies of Motown, techno, garage rock, and hip-hop was a band conceived in the city’s bored middle-class suburbs, birthed in its inner city, and doomed to a quasi-cult status as an unlikely footnote to the British shoegazer subgenre of grunge-era alternative rock.

Joshua Glazer, writing for the acclaimed and respected music website allmusic.com, offered this wistful eulogy:

Detroit’s only contenders in the UK’s shoegazer scene, Majesty Crush combined the effects-laden guitar work and dreamy vocals of British groups...

read more

A View of Third Man Records from the Inside

Ben Blackwell

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 433-436

Third Man Records is an anomaly. When it started in 2001, it existed solely on paper, as a sort of insurance policy for the White Stripes. When the band began signing deals with larger record labels like V2 and XL, the idea was that the larger record labels would license albums from the Third Man Records entity, and, once the licensing period was up, the rights of the material would revert to the band through Third Man.

Come 2008, those deals were mostly expired and the rights to the vinyl catalog remained solely with the phantom entity of Third Man Records. At that same time, White Stripes...

read more

Future Now: Detroit’s Twenty-First-Century Record Label Jett Plastic

Jarrett Koral

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 437-439

Having collected records for as long as I can remember, it only seemed like a logical next step to form my own record label. Sure, there were risks involved, one of which was losing thousands upon thousands of dollars in initial-investment cash (something that I, luckily, was able to avoid), but Detroit has an enormous share of musical talent, most of which is going unheard. Is it because of the public’s unwillingness to listen?—er, no. Working musicians are trying every day to get their music to new and welcoming audiences, but, as usual, there’s a hitch. I like to believe...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 440-443

There are many kind, generous, and wonderful friends to thank for making this incredible life-long dream of mine to forever preserve in a book some important Detroit music history. I think it is only proper to thank my beloved late grandmother, who raised me, for giving me my first Elvis Presley album at age four. Grandma continued to nurture me on the Ink Spots, Sophie Tucker, and Pearl Bailey in my early elementary school years, and she later weaned me on Dion’s “Ruby Baby,” which was the first 45 rpm record I ever bought with my own pennies at S. S. Kresge’s. So, Grandma—this is...

Further Reading

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 444-447

Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 448-459

Credits

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 460-465

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 466-486