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306 I’ve been around the world You know I’ve seen it twice But my own backyard It’s twice as nice ı 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 organizations: the Detroit Artists Monthly, a visual-arts magazine, and the Alternative Space Detroit, a floating space for exhibitions and events for artists and bands. I transcribed interviews with artists on a portable typewriter in the kitchen, and Randy laid type and put together the look of the magazine in the basement. In terms of technology, it was the Stone Age; we didn’t even have an answering machine on our one phone. No one did. I was a video and performance artist experimenting with sound on a reel-to-reel Akai tape recorder. I wanted to transmute the sound into something more permanent. Vinyl was the logical step to reach a larger audience. I made my first 45 RPM record, about child abuse. As a new parent, I was consumed with what I believed was a universal truth: the most dangerous person in the room for a Dangerous Diane Detroit Art Rock and Punk in the Late ’70s Diane Spodarek Dangerous Diane. Photo courtesy of Diane Spodarek. 307 Dıane Spodarek newborn baby is its own mother. I recorded a confessional -style narrative with drums and backup singers called “Potentially Dangerous” by Dangerous Diane and the Dinettes. No one knows that once, just once, I had the urge to put my baby in the clothes dryer . . . No one knows that once, just once, I had the urge to leave my baby in the car after taking the groceries into the house . . . No one knows that once, just once, I had the urge to kiss my baby where I shouldn’t. For the B side, traditionally the throwaway side, I asked friends to play an offbeat version of Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy (to Fall in Love).”In a deadpan voice, I sang the lyrics, changing love to art: People tell me art is for fools Here I go breaking all the rules It’s so easy . . . We recorded at United Sound and seven hundred copies were pressed.“It’So”(instead of “It’s So”) was printed on the sleeve and record label, a fortuitous error by the printer, which underscored the song’s irony. I took the photo for the record sleeve on the steps of the Detroit Institute of Arts. In the picture are: the late Keith Aoki (violin and guitar), Jim Hart (drums and Stroh’s beer can), Tom Bloomer (piano), Dwain Bacon (bass), and the late Randy Delbeke (backup vocals). Dana, our daughter, is in the foreground looking up at her father. Our lips look slashed because we wore white lipstick. The original record is now a collector’s item that pops up on auction sites. In 1978, I performed “It’s So Easy” at the DIA for the New Video and Performance Art exhibition curated by John Neff and Mary Jane Jacobs. The standout performance was by Jay Yager, a sculptor and at the time a professor of art at Eastern Michigan University. He mopped the floor in the marbled North Court wearing a black graduate cap and gown. For my performance, I sang the lyrics live with the recorded music fed through tall speakers. Each time I sang “easy,” I threw my record like a Frisbee into the audience. In 1979, I sang a punk-rock song in the recital hall at the DIA as part of my acceptance speech for an award from the Michigan Foundation for the Arts. Helen Milliken, the wife of the Michigan governor, presented the awards to five artists in different disciplines. I wrote “All I Want” for Mrs. Milliken and the arts foundation patrons, many of whom were wearing pearls and furs, because they may not have another opportunity to experience a live punk-rock performance. (They were trapped.) I was standing at a podium onstage, and when I...


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MARC Record
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