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House & garden > Motor City Cribs and Rides

Motor City Cribs

Johnny Headband's Ferndale bungalow

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Published 8/19/2009

Much like Andrew "Party Hard" W.K., Detroit geeks Johnny Headband mix metal, dance and an unabashed sense of frolic in a highly choreographed and aerobic workout on stage — with no hipster sense of sarcasm or irony about it. And much like Andrew W.K., Johnny Headband leaves a physically drained yet emotionally rejuvenated audience in its wake.

The heart of Johnny Headband is brothers Chad and Keith Thompson. Keyboardist-vocalist Chad tends to bring the more "planned" part of the Headband assault, while guitarist-bass player Keith kicks up the more crazed moments. But like any close brothers or friends, you can find parts of these traits in both of them. Chad says, "Keith will start moving a certain way and I just know what he's doing next."

So, not surprisingly, Keith's home is effectively a tour van while Chad holds down the Headband HQ. Keith has been on the road much of the last two years since taking over as bassist for the well-oiled Electric Six machine (which drops its sixth album Hell this October). To achieve his rock 'n' roll sartorial splendor, Keith appears to have a full dresser's worth of outrageous thrift-store threads at his disposal, no matter where he is.

Chad's Ferndale bungalow (which happens to sit next door to author Michael Zadoorian) serves as the band's rehearsal spot and studio. Here Chad and Keith along with drummer RGS and guitarist PAN!C (of Pas/Cal fame) have put together Headband's hiatus-breaking release — the Phase 3 EP due next month.

Given that both brothers are Michigan State media arts majors (Chad does animation and commercial motion design for a living) there is, of course, a ridiculous and outstanding making-of video to be released along with the record. Indeed, Chad and Keith's love of video has always been a big part of the Headband formula for fun. "We were making videos before we played shows. We're kind of like an improv avant-garde theater troupe."

For more info, see myspace.com/johnnyheadband. See the band perform at Ferndale's DIY Fair on Saturday, Sept. 19.

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