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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Detroit's the Place

castle, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

I've been a regular visitor to Detroit since 1994, when I spent a week there while I was working with the Lollapalooza Festival. The Festival was at Pine Knob for a few days, and my friend, a cool DJ, vino afficionado and at the time co-worker, Taal Martin, hooked me up with some record stores and DJ's to visit while I was there.

One visit and I was hooked.

Detroit is a desolate place, even though it once was an industry capital. What that breeds is creativity among its denizens... along with crime, of course... but it makes for one of those "never a dull moment" life experiences.

Detroit and its environs (Ann Arbor, Lansing, etc) gave us most importantly in the 1960s, Iggy & the Stooges and the MC5.

Wayner Kramer
Wayne Kramer, 2005

Wayne Kramer of the MC5 is one of my life long anti-heroes. He's a guy who always stood up for what he believed in and paid the consequences. A survivor, he continues to do things his way. A revived and reunited iteration of the surviving members of the MC5 have been touring the world for the past year, and they've never been better.

Wayner Kramer Central Park

Just last weekend, I saw them perform in Central Park, NYC at Summerstage for free. They fill in the gaps left by Rob Tyner and Fred Sonic Smith with several guest vocalists such as Lisa Kekaula the amazing soul belter from the Bellrays, Mudhoney's Mark Arm and the King of All Men, New York City's own Handsome Dick Manitoba of Dictators fame. On guitar, this time around Gilby Clarke from Guns n Roses.

Considering I saw their opening US date in Detroit in 2004, I feel qualified to say that a year on the road has polished this gritty organization into a diamond.

Detroiters rise to the occasion. Amidst a true no-future landscape, they continue to make amazing music with no regard to whether or not anyone is gonna buy it. It is art for art's sake and the musicians keep it real and don't sell out.

That's why I love them.

Here are some of my Detroit super heroes that you haven't already met:

Michael Davis / MC5
Michael Davis of the MC5, posing for my Bass Gallery

Soul Man
Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs and the Gories, a seminal influence on contemporary punk and garage rock

Troy or Jimmy Page?
Troy Gregory, the man who can play any instrument, leads the Witches and can talk to animals and puppets

Girls & Prunes
Gore Gore Girls, seen here with members of the Electic Prunes. These ladies have no fear or inhibitions

Johnny Hentch
Johnny Hentch, nicest guy in the world

Tom Potter
Tom Potter, bad ass at large. Most fun guy I've ever met

and because we just love Iggy



detroit72 said...

You'll have to let us local folk know when you're coming back, I'd love to hear some of your stories in person.

I LOVE that green shot of Iggy.

Mike said...

Love that shot of the boarded-up castle! St. Louis has many blocks like that (especially around where I go to school) - formerly wealthy/affluent blocks, now humble and crumbling.