The Detroit area is getting desperately short of places for rock bands to play. Three months ago things looked really good with the Grande, the Hideouts, and the Crow’s Nests all doing well; the Eastown getting ready to open, and at least eight smaller clubs rumored to be opening by early summer.
But in the last month the prevailing winds seem to have shifted in the other direction. The Clawson Hideout was forced to close down because the city fathers and the Knights of Columbus (who own the hall) limited the capacity to 350, hardly enough to break even. The Crow’s Nest West has closed to remodel right at the start of the Summer.
None of the new clubs, including one that was supposed to occupy an old dancing studio on Mack near Grosse Pointe and Barry Kramer’s coffeehouse behind Alvin’s, seem any closer to opening now than they did on May 1.
The Eastown has been plagued since its opening with booking hassles and has had a lot of trouble drawing large enough crowds. And some of the club owners seem to be content with booking only bands that they know about from past experience.
It’s a lot harder for unknown and new bands to get jobs in Detroit than it has been for almost two years. The bands need more clubs to play in, and the clubs need the support of the people to stay open.
Two weeks ago about 6,000 people from the Detroit area journeyed to Toronto to be taken by a couple of slick New York Promo men as the Pop Festival season began. This weekend as many, if not more, Detroit and Ann Arbor people, headed off to Saugatuck for what promised to be (based on past performance by SRC productions and Mike Quatro at the Detroit Pop Festival) one of the best run festivals of the summer.
But, while the N.Y. slickies got nothing but cooperation from the local government in Toronto, the “people” of Saugatuck were literally up in arms over the influx of “hippies.”
In this “quiet arts and crafts community” (to quote the Detroit Free Press) where every year thousands of clean cut kids journey forth to drink and fuck, one local resident, whose property borders on the beach where the festival was being held, started shooting at anyone who got too close with a shotgun. 10 people reportedly were hit.
Meanwhile, back at the beach, 150 people were busted Friday night, mostly for being drunk and disorderly, the Savage Grace didn’t arrive, one member of the WABX staff and one member of Creem Magazine staff were busted. To add to this, pigs in Jackson were reported to be stopping cars with freaks in them and conducting spot searches. Fifteen people were reportedly busted for dope.
The rain forced the postponement of the Rock & Roll Revival No. 2 at Mt. Clemens from Friday to Sunday; the Ann Arbor pigs have seen to it that there will be no free music in their town Sundays; the Eastown is closed all weekend due to a booking mixup, and Mike Gormely took a shower in Atlanta before he called Dan Carlisle to tell him he hadn’t seen any of the festival yet. Independence day weekend in Rock & Roll Detroit.
In case you wondered, the Tony Reay mentioned on the back of the new Tee-garden and Van Winkle album is actually Ice Alexander.
Groups to watch this summer:
Locally: The Gold Brothers, led by singer harpist John Angelos and guitarist Larry Carsman; the Gold Brothers play powerful Rock & Roll with a strong blues influence.
Singer John has a powerful voice capable of projecting any type of material from hard blues to ballads. He can also blow harp as well as anyone I’ve heard around the Detroit rock scene.
Larry is an accomplished guitarist who can play any type of music on his ax, though most of his playing with the Gold Brothers is in a strong blues style that few guitarists, white or black, can match.
John was the leader of both the Back and Back Boo Funny Music Band, and the Pink Peech Mob, while Larry was guitarist with the Back and Back Boo.
Elsewhere: Humble Pie, headed by ex-Small Faces leader and lead guitarist and singer Steve Marriott and ex-Herd guitarist Peter Framton, has yet to play publicly anywhere, yet the British rock press has given them more raves than any group since the early Beatles and Stones, even more than Blind Faith. People who have been invited up to hear them practice have called them the most exciting new group in England in five years. Watch for their record in the late summer or early fall and possible a U.S. tour in the winter.
Meanwhile, the Small Faces, one of the most underrated groups ever, have replaced Marriott with Ron Wood and will continue to play and record. The Herd have continued as a trio.
Much praise to Dan Carlisle for his work in organizing both the WABX free concerts this summer and the rock concert for inmates of Jackson Prison July 13.
Support your local Rock and Roll Band.