Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

MC5 only released three albums, but they were ferocious, adventurous, and confrontational enough to secure the group’s place as one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands ever. Singer Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson came together as the MC5 in 1965. The band performed for several years before making its first record. This year is the 50th anniversary of the recording of the band’s incendiary debut, Kick Out The Jams, which was recorded live over two nights at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in October 1968.

To celebrate, MC5 release Total Assault: 50th Anniversary Collection, a limited-edition boxed set that features all three of the band’s albums pressed on coloured vinyl. It includes Kick Out The Jams (red vinyl), Back In The USA (white vinyl) and High Time (blue vinyl). The albums come in sleeves that faithfully re-create the original releases, including gatefolds for Kick Out The Jams and High Times. All three are housed in a hard slipcase with new art and previously unseen photographs by world renowned photographer Raeanne Rubenstein. The music on Total Assault shows why the MC5 is held is such high regard today with indelible tracks like Kick Out The Jams, Human Being Lawnmower and Sister Anne.

The set also includes a new essay by Creem magazine founding editor/writer and Uncut contributor Jaan Uhelszki, who writes: “Turned loose on a bare stage, the MC5 were among the most awe-inspiring perpetrators of sheer bombast and rock and roll brinkmanship alive… They tore through the stuff they heard on the radio with a fierce intensity that transcended the original artists’ intent. Tunes by James Brown, Chuck Berry, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones vibrated at a higher frequency when the Motor City Five tackled them.”

MC5 co-founder and guitarist Wayne Kramer will release his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities on August 14th before hitting the road with a new all-star line-up of MC5 called MC50. The group will perform Kick Out The Jams in its entirety, along with other MC5 classics.

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The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, The MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities by [Kramer, Wayne]

In the late 1960s, Wayne Kramer and his brothers in the radical Detroit punk group MC5 launched a heroic high energy rock and roll assault on US culture in an attempt to bring down the government with a gonzoid manifesto of ‘dope, rock and roll and fucking in the streets’ … Their revolution ended in chaos after being kicked off two record labels and culminating in the band breaking up, with members descending into heroin addiction and imprisonment. The MC5s never had a hit record, but the three classic albums that they made – and their impassioned philosophy and mythology – inspired bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, and Johnny Thunders, all the way through to Julian Cope, The Cult, and Primal Scream.

Here, for the first time ever on the page, is the inside story of one of the most chaotic and revered bands of all time: a band of brothers from Detroit who – like The Stooges – transformed the power of rock ‘n roll into a revolutionary force.

A rollicking account…from his rough upbringing in post-war Detroit, to his transformation from greaser guitarist to rock ‘n’ roll revolutionary.”–MOJO
“Relives those energising days of the late ’60s, when Detroit’s MC5 mixed rock and revolution with free jazz and exceptional hair…An inspiring and redemptive tale.”–UncutWayne Kramer’s story is an incredible tale of rock ‘n’ roll redemption. The MC5 crystallized the ’60s counterculture movement at its most volatile and basically invented punk rock music. But Wayne’s life proved to be as chaotic as his groundbreaking guitar playing. Rogue, rascal, rebel, revolutionary, artist, addict, inmate, poet, prisoner, and now proud papa, Brother Wayne Kramer is one of the wisest people I know, and he has earned that wisdom the hard way. The world needs to know this man’s story. Here it is.”–Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage

Wayne Kramer is the biggest badass in rock ‘n’ roll. Period. And The Hard Stuff proves it. Between these covers is a story of survival, talent, madness, dope, guts, and a sheer, fearless commitment to bringing straight-up enlightenment to this fascist, prison-happy nation we happen to inhabit–even if it meant putting his own freedom, and his own unbelievably epic life, on the line. This just may be the best memoir of the year.”–Jerry Stahl, author of I, Fatty and Permanent Midnight

MC5 fans will relish the opportunity to hear Kramer’s version of events from the band’s history...The Hard Stuff’s lesson is an inspirational one: no matter how far you fall, circumstances can arise which lead you to a better place. Plus it’s just wildly entertaining.”–Midnight to Six

“Often harrowing, sometimes hilarious and always compelling.”–Buffalo News

“The MC5 are the ultimate cult band: a rebellious group from late-1960s Detroit whose raw, proto-punk take on rock’n’roll influenced everyone from the Sex Pistols to Primal Scream. They never made it, though, and when you read this memoir by the guitarist and leader Wayne Kramer, you begin to see why. The Hard Stuff can be read as a manual of how not to become a rock star. Drugs, band feuds, jail and radical politics all combined to prevent stardom. This is a story of bad luck and bad behaviour in equal measure.”–Times of London

“There’s nothing like an autobiography when it comes to really digging deep. Kramer’s The Hard Stuff does exactly that. It’s simultaneously brutally honest, heartbreaking, hilarious, and life-affirming…It’s a frankly wonderful read.”–Detroit Metro Times

“A gritty rock memoir detailing a cult American band’s fall from grace and its subsequent determination not to get up…Gripping and sobering…A manual of how not to be in a band.”–Wanted Online

“He defied death, drugs and detention. Now MC5 legend Wayne Kramer has written an equally full-on memoir…Eye-opening…Wide-ranging…His journey from fatherless child to musical maverick to junkie to upstanding survivor reads like a history of the late 20th century.”–The Observer

Wayne Kramer, legendary guitarist and co-founder of quintessential Detroit proto-punk legends The MC5, tells his story in The Hard Stuff.

Image result for NEIL YOUNG - " Fox Theatre Detroit " 3rd July 2018

On July 3rd, Neil Young live-streamed a solo acoustic show from the Fox Theatre in Detroit that didn’t go completely as planned. Audience members, perhaps fueled by 4th of July celebrations, disrupted the performance, shouting at the 72-year-old singer as he played and spoke from the stage.

Neil Young brought his brief six-date solo acoustic tour to Detroit’s Fox Theatre , choosing the venue in part because of his love for the city and the venue.  He took the stage surrounded by a circle of guitars, a banjo, and a ukulele, and launched into a batch of primarily early ’70s chestnuts on string instruments. Then, atypically, he took a spin playing a number of songs on the three different pianos and pump organ on stage.

The Detroit News reported fans treated the “deeply personal and intimate” concert “like a rollicking Crazy Horse show in an arena or an amphitheater, yelling out for song titles … or just bellowing Young’s name so frequently that it ruined the vibe of the evening.”  Fans, however kept yelling out song titles (“HARVEST MOOOOOOOON!”) or bellowing Young’s name (“NEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLL!”) so frequently that it ruined the vibe of the evening.

The show brings up questions of concert etiquette and what kind of behavior is expected of concert audiences.

When it comes to concert couth, it’s usually younger audiences that are accused of being bad fans. They won’t put their phones away, they’re more concerned with being seen by their peers than living in the moment, etc. But those moments, though they may affect an individual’s participation, rarely disrupt from the overall experience of a concert.

The Neil Young situation was different. Very early in the evening, amid a flurry of song titles being shouted in his direction, Young shot back, “I hope you know I’m not keeping track of those.” That didn’t stop the fans from peppering him with requests. “CINNAMON GIRL!” “ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD!”

“You can keep shouting them, but I’m never going to play any of them,” Young is reported to have replied.

The incident seemed to rattle the usually impervious Young, who took to his blog on the Neil Young Archives website to discuss what he termed a “rough night.”

“It was the 4th of July holiday and some folks were celebrating, already high when they arrived at the show,” he wrote. “Because it was a holiday, I could see it coming. They were focused on their celebration, kind of like a festival. Any subtle solo performance of songs is very challenged under those conditions.”

It’s apparent that Young believes those in the Detroit audience who came to actually listen got a subpar performance from him. “I could slip deeply into a song if not distracted,” he noted, “but I am just relegated to the surface while fighting off distraction, and so is the rest of the audience. Likewise, I may have told a story that sets up the experience of listening to the song, if I was not interrupted while trying.”

He did, according manage to speak about playing Detroit’s Chess Mate coffeehouse, and writing songs in the White Castle restaurant across the street. He also played Buffalo Springfield’s classic “Broken Arrow” on piano, as well as “After the Goldrush” on pump organ and “I Am a Child” on his Martin D45 guitar — what Young called “some very fine and engaged moments.”

“There were some songs that shone through in spite of the obstacles and I am very happy they did,” Young noted, adding that he hoped to one day return to Detroit to a more receptive, less disruptive audience and give them a more fully engaged performance.

“Every time I got through this type of experience, part of me does not ever want to go through it again,” he wrote, “yet it is a risk taken every time I walk out to a solo stage.”

The Tuesday Young show at the FoxTheatre had been billed as “Neil Young Solo,” and found the 72-year-old to be performing by himself, mostly acoustic, in a deeply personal and intimate setting.

Very simply, it wasn’t that kind of show. The concert was a journey through Young’s career, and he told stories about his early days in Detroit and his memories of performing and recording in the city. But several times he wasn’t able to get through stories because fans were shouting and acting like jackasses. “Just pretend like I just told a story,” he said at one point midway through the concert, because by then he’d been shouted over so often that it was no longer worth trying.

I can’t recall attending another concert where the rowdy, unruly behavior of the crowd affected a show quite like the Neil Young crowd did, quoted local newsman.

It’s not just Neil Young, the same situation when Jackson Browne played Freedom Hill earlier this summer, Is there a generation gap when it comes to concert norms that leads to a feeling of entitlement by concertgoers of a certain age? That they paid their money and they can yell out whatever they want, whenever they want? Or is the bad behavior symptomatic of a larger breakdown of respect for others in today’s America?

To be fair, at Neil Young it was a case of a few ruining it for everyone, which is often the case in many disturbances, be it at a concert or a public gathering of any sort. And those few are either too ignorant, too belligerent or too male to empathize with others or realize the effect they’re having on everyone else. And too often it’s the few who dictate things for the many.

Neil Young knows his name, yelling “NEIL!” or “UNCLE NEIL!” isn’t going to cause any grand epiphany for him. He knows you love him, that’s why you paid to come see the show. And he knows his songs, shouting “MY MY, HEY HEYYY!” isn’t going to remind him that he sings a song called “My My, Hey Hey” and get him to play it for you.

So once that is established, what is the point of continuing to yell out? Is it the thirst for a reply? And is getting some acknowledgment worth ruining the experience for so many concertgoers around you?

Neil Young
2018-07-03
Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Solo

01. On The Way Home (acoustic guitar)
02. Homefires (acoustic guitar)
03. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (acoustic guitar)
04. Love Is A Rose (acoustic guitar)
05. Cowgirl In The Sand (acoustic guitar)
06. Mellow My Mind (banjo)
07. Ohio (electric guitar)
08. There’s A World (piano)
09. Broken Arrow (piano) [first solo piano version ever – stunning]
10. I Am A Child (acoustic guitar)
11. Are You Ready For The Country? (piano)
12. Tonight’s The Night (piano)
13. Speakin’ Out (piano)
14. After The Gold Rush (pump organ)
15. Angry World (electric guitar)
16. Love And War (acoustic guitar)
17. Peaceful Valley Boulevard (acoustic guitar)
18. Out On The Weekend (acoustic guitar)
19. The Needle And The Damage Done (acoustic guitar)
20. Heart Of Gold (acoustic guitar)

21. Tumbleweed (acoustic guitar)

By attending a concert, like any public gathering, you enter into a social contract. The same way you wouldn’t sit down at a restaurant and scream the chef’s name after biting into the pasta primavera, you shouldn’t shout out things at a concert if it’s not that kind of show. Read the room and act accordingly. At an arena rock concert, all bets are off, the louder you are the better. But if a concert is a quiet acoustic gathering, keep the loud comments to yourself for the sake of those around you.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting

Given their name, you might expect Bonny Doon to be a California band that smokes a lot of weed and stays in the garage writing Dick Dale rip-offs. But on the contrary, they’re from Detroit, and are behind one of the smartest and most poetic records of the year (not sure how much weed they smoke, though). Detroit does kind of make sense, anyway, as the Malkmus/Berman vibes of their debut album Longwave mostly fall in line with a working-class town sensibility—Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox’s shrugged lyrics are distinctly grounded in their casual interest in comprehending the absurdity of existence, even if they know you can’t really crack that topic while simultaneously working a nine-to-five.

Protomartyr – “You Always Win (feat. Kelley Deal)” taken from the new ‘Consolation E.P.’ out 15th June 2018 on Domino Record Co.

Following on from last year’s release of the critically acclaimed Domino debut, “Relatives In Descent”, PROTOMARTYR are happy to announce Consolation E.P., an EP of brand new material recorded in collaboration with Kelley Deal (The Breeders) and Mike Montgomery (R. RING, AMPLINE).
Recorded in Montgomery own studio, Candyland, the EP’s four songs capture the breadth of mood and stylistic variety of a full-length Protomartyr album – from the short sharp shock of the opener “Wait”, through the mutant pop of “Same Face In A Different Mirror”, the epic “Wheel of Fortune”, to the beautiful closer “You Always Win”. Add to this Montgomery’s  recording skill, and Kelley Deal’s unparalleled vocals, and their arrangements that see the inclusion of Jocelyn Hatch (viola), Evan Ziporyn (bass clarinet), and Lori Goldston (cello), and Consolation E.P. becomes a truly unique prospect in Protomartyr’s discography.
Released June 15th, 2018

Consolation EP

Detroit’s Protomartyr released yet another solid full-length in “Relatives In Descent”, just last year, but that doesn’t appear making the band interested in taking time off: The upcoming Consolation E.P. offers four new songs, and with a notable guest: Kelley Deal sings on two of them. Mike Montgomery, Deal’s R. Ring bandmate, recorded the EP, so enlisting the Breeders guitarist was an easy step. Her voice nicely counterbalances Joe Casey’s spoken-sung vocals, giving a little ray of lightness to Protomartyr’s frequently bleak, often discordant sound. So it’s settled: more Kelley Deal in everything.

Post-punks Protomartyr are following their acclaimed 2017 album Relatives In Descent with Consolation E.P., a new EP recorded in part with Kelley Deal of The Breeders and set for a June 15th release via Domino Recordings. Two of the EP’s four tracks feature Deal on vocals alongside Protomartyr lead singer Joe Casey, including the snarling track “Wheel of Fortune.”

Bonny Doon Share Pastoral Video for Their <i>Longwave</i> Title Track

Breezy Detroit rockers Bonny Doon, who will release their second full-length, Longwave, on March 23rd, make the sort of effortless, lo-fi indie that both you and your dad can love.

For their second full-length (and debut on Woodsist Records), the Detroit folk-rock quartet stopped thinking too much and just went to the beach instead. Last month, we dug their earnest “A Lotta Things” single, and now they’re sharing a pastoral new video for their record’s title track. When Bonny Doon began sketching out a strategy to follow up their self-titled debut, they knew they wanted to do things differently. “I think everything’s always a reaction to how you did it the last time and what’s exciting you at the moment,” says Bobby Colombo, who splits vocal and guitar duties in the band with Bill Lennox. While their first record was a strong arrival, Colombo and Lennox characterize its creation as long and arduous. So the band snuck away from their native Detroit and rented a house on the beach in Northern Michigan, recording their next album in just five days, aiming for a looser, more instinct-driven process. “We were just thinking, ‘First thought, best thought’ with this one,” Colombo explains.

The result is Longwave, an album Bonny Doon might still have made if they weren’t holed up on a beach house, but probably not. Delicate and contemplative, the ten new songs feel very much like a product of their recording process—while Bonny Doon weren’t necessarily intent on tearing up the playbook, this record is still a totally different beast from its predecessor. Longwave embraces the stylings of Bonny Doon folk rock with some alt-country sprinklings but the band’s more spontaneous approach lends it a scrappiness that feels fresh. Rather than rein these songs in to the point of suffocation, the band allows them to breathe, rambling and untangling themselves in unexpected ways.

The homemade, found-footage vibe of “Long Wave” is rustic, charming, and the perfect visual accompaniment for the track’s calming influence. BRB, finding a hilltop in nature to roll down this weekend. in fact, Bonny Doon sound like they’re gunning to be spiritual successors to Silver Jews and Neil Young, with a pinch of Summerteeth-era Wilco thrown in. It’s because of this mood that the record never comes across as overly self-serious. The title track, which opens the album, ends in a knowing refrain, zen-like in its conviction: “You are who you’re supposed to be.” It’s delivered with the confidence of a band that believes it, and is comfortable enough in their skin to act accordingly.

The paradigm of live music is so old and stagnant, Colombo laments. “We’re interested in and would like to figure out ways to push us further… We have sort of an unhinged live show sometimes. We play the songs almost like they’re falling apart, but they never really do.” Bonny Doon’s Longwave is out March 23 via Woodsist.

The Band:

Bobby Colombo (guitar/vocals), Bill Lennox (guitar/vocals), Joshua Brooks (bass), and Jake Kmiecik (drums)

Bonny Doon’s Longwave is out March 23rd via Woodsist Records.

This Saturday, April 21st is Record Store Day, a day that brings us back to a time when the only way you could hear your favorite artist’s new song was by purchasing it on seven inches of vinyl from your local record shop. That’s exactly how Detroit indie-rocker, Stef Chura, wants us to celebrate the annual homage to vinyl culture. Chura, who released her striking debut album Messes in 2017, is pressing a thousand copies of a new 7″ that includes two songs that didn’t make it onto the LP. Both of the songs – “Degrees” and “Sour Honey” – were produced by Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest and show Chura’s range in emotion, voice, and musicianship.

“Degrees” is a weighty, haunting rumination on mortality that shifts between delicate verses and a blazing refrain. Chura says that the song was originally a plucky folk song, but Toledo had the idea to take it in a Janis Joplin “Ball and Chain” direction, adding gritty layers of guitar that conjure up the image of towering flames.

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Falling on the opposite end of the spectrum sonically, “Sour Honey” is a stripped-down solo affair that features Chura’s flickering, elastic vocals accompanied by Toledo on piano. The bare, vulnerable sound is an appropriate match for the song’s subject matter – insecurity and hyper self-awareness.  “I wrote that song when I was working at a strip club in Detroit as a cocktail server,” says Chura. “It was about the visceral, super physical feeling of complete embarrassment and humiliation. I think I used to suffer from a lot of social anxiety and miscommunications, and it was just a very cat-fighty atmosphere.”

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The 7″ is a Record Store Day exclusive, which means you’ll only be able to pick it up at your local record store. Chura will perform at Detroit’s Third Man Records in tandem with the release,

“Personality Crisis: Live Recordings & Studio Demos 1972-1975”. A trio of pre-Mercury demo sessions – arguably as close as the Dolls ever got to nailing their sound in the cold austerity of the recording studio – are joined by a collection of incendiary live shows (including two American radio broadcasts)

Formed in 1971 in New York City, and originally classified as hard rock, the New York Dolls became one of the creators of punk rock before there was even a term for it. With a line-up of vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist Sylvain Sylvain and drummer Billy Murcia, the New York Dolls sported an androgynous wardrobe of high heels, eccentric hats, make-up and satin onstage, and in the words of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music were “one of the most influential rock bands of the last 20 years”, boasting such high profile fans as Morrissey, the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Kiss, Guns N’ Roses and The Damned.

It is commonly perceived that the essence of the New York Dolls was never satisfactorily captured by their two albums for the Mercury label, both of which many believe suffered from unsympathetic production. Fortunately for us all, the band’s untutored rawness, unencumbered strength of purpose and unique vision is better served by the recordings that are gathered together for the first time on Personality Crisis: Live Recordings & Studio Demos 1972-1975. A trio of pre-Mercury demo sessions – arguably as close as the Dolls ever got to nailing their sound in the cold austerity of the recording studio – are joined by a collection of incendiary live shows (including two American radio broadcasts) that, despite the variable sound quality, capture their unfettered outrageousness and life-affirming vitality. This package serves, then, as an alternative view of one of the few genuinely essential rock’n’roll bands to emerge from the early Seventies wastelands.

Includes early versions of acknowledged New York Dolls’ classics: ‘Jet Boy’, ‘Trash’, ‘Personality Crisis’, ‘Puss ‘n’ Boots’, ‘Stranded In The Jungle’, ‘Babylon’, ‘Who Are The Mystery Girls’, ‘Bad Girl’ and ‘Pills’.

Come in a beautifully designed clamshell box set containing its own booklet with full sleeve notes, plus individual card wallets for each of the discs. All material contained within this package has been specially remastered for this release.This package serves, then, as an alternative view of one of the few genuinely essential rock’n’roll bands to emerge from the early Seventies wastelands.

Released April 27th, 2018 via Cherry Red Records.

Arriving in the early months of 2017, Bonny Doon’s self-titled debut was a warm introduction to the Detroit quartet for many. Hazy and bright, the album’s woozy melodies and swirling webs of summery guitar textures were easily ingested as low-key slacker pop, blissfully awash in lo-fi sensibilities and dreamy ambiance. But the nonchalant breeziness belied a serious attention to songcraft that beckoned careful listening, and hinted at depths yet unexplored. Lo and behold, before the ink was even dry on the first record, work had already begun on its follow-up “Longwave,” a conscious about-face from the sonic experimentation of the first album, and a journey inward.

Opting for spontaneity and simplicity over the exploration of layers and textures that defined the first record, the band architected an incredibly intimate sound for these new songs. The album was tracked with minimal overdubs or production flourishes, constructing a frame that is spare and understated. The songs on Longwave amble through moonlit fields of melancholy guitar leads and self-reflection, the collection unfolding almost as one uninterrupted conversation with self. The session aimed to capture the band at their essence. With the superfluous stripped away, a gentle but steadfast spiritual core is revealed as the backbone of Bonny Doon’s cosmic American music

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Bill Lennox- vocals and guitar
Bobby Colombo- vocals and guitar
Jake Kmiecik- drums
Joshua Brooks- bass

Released March 23rd, 2018