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Motor City Five (10/6/2010)
For this 25th anniversary issue, we decided to glance backward and uncover just few of many artists-bands who are, or likely will be, forgotten in Detroits ever-deepening well of musical history; those who were, in some way, integral to shaping local musics future, beginning in 1980. We focused on the 25 years that Metro Times has been publishing, and dug through our archives to find most of their stories.
A few of these people were hard to hunt down; others, we simply couldnt find. We wrote about one DJ (Rotator), who appears to have vanished, even after we learned that hes alive and well in Detroit.
We also learned one not-so-obvious absolute: The artists here some whose music might not have aged as well as others had at least some odd, Detroit-specific purity in their craft, whose phrases and images construct their own time and place but with the eerie timelessness and unchanging scent of factory exhale, scorched motor oil and blue collar fret.
Boom and the Legion of Doom
Smoking pig heads, Mexican wrestler thrash, and postindustrial-strength animal-tossing
Who: Boom, vocals, drums; Toxic Matt, vocals; Tony Fish Only, guitar; Smelly, bass; J.D., guitar; Safety, drums. The band refused to use their given names, which they called slave names.
What: Battle Creek- and Lansing-area punks attracted to the postindustrial grit of Detroit, playing punk rock thrash influenced by everything from horror movies and hunting to wrestling, with some literally gutsy antics namely tossing animal parts into the audience. Pig and goat heads were fair game.
Where: Graystone Hall, the Hungry Brain, Falcon Lounge and house parties in Lansing, Battle Creek and Muskegon, with jaunts into Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, before moving to California in 1988-89 and playing there.
What Happened: Boom did a zine called Anti Social in Lansing, and met his bandmates at punk shows. As for the animal parts thrown out at shows, Boom says, We had a cooler in the van for our beer and wed put road kill in there. The smellier, grosser stuff was the stuff that got thrown out. We had classic pig heads; youd put a cigarette in its mouth and throw it out.
Id come onstage sometimes wearing a fawn skin. I can remember Kevin Seconds [of 7Seconds] and Youth of Today getting really bummed about that. I thought I was punk rock! But we didnt understand the whole straight-edge scene or any of that crap.
When we got to California, we went for more of a Mexican wrestler look. We didnt have money to buy punk gear, and a lot of people thought we were skinheads, but we werent we were rednecks into hunting and fishing.
Where they are now:Safety and Fish Only (whos a pro fisherman) live in Battle Creek. Smelly sells real estate in Hawaii, and Matts locked down in Mississippi. Hes in prison for domestic assault, Boom says. He had a marriage gone bad. J.D. is MIA. The last time I saw J.D. was in San Francisco. He was barefoot, wearing camo pants and his old Boom & the Legion of Doom leather jacket. He looked pretty torn up. The bands old manager, Cary Safarian, who also managed the Graystone, is in jail for life.
Boom lives in San Francisco, has a band called the Jaded Fucks, and DJs at college station KUSF, where hes on a show called Rampage Radio (rampageradio.com). Its like Howard Stern meets metal; five guys, four of them from Michigan, Boom says. For money, Boom works in clubs. For the last 10 years Ive been a sound guy. I work five nights a week at the Cherry Bar, where Bob Madigan from Slaughterhouse works. Hes on the radio show too.
How a partners double-murder rap killed a crooners stab at the charts.
Who: Delbert Michael Greer, better known as the singer Dale.
What: A smooth voice falls between DAngelo, and Walter Scott and Wallace Scotty Scotty of the Whispers, and his penchant for the debonair (suits and Detroit-classic Dobbs hats) worked to panty-tossing perfection. But one might call Dale either a made man or the unluckiest soul singer on the planet, just on the strength of his Soulful Moaning. That single cracked Detroit and Midwestern soul radio at a time when there was absolutely no cracking Detroit or Midwestern radio unless you had lots of coin. The side sold 20,000 copies, a huge number for an indie label, and the air was filled with promise. Until a double murder charge reared.
What Happened: Before Dale, there was the duo Sean & Dale, who did the Soulful Moaning single. But Sean got popped and convicted on a double-murder rap just as Moaning was set to blow nationwide. Dale soldiered on solo, only to be pursued by his ex-partners kin, who were keen on getting the Soulful royalties. Because things were, for many reasons, getting ugly all around, Dale who never saw a royalty himself had his label kill the record. The single died on the vine. Dale got a fresh start. Or did he?
Where they are now: The 38-year-old recorded the Dr. Feel Good album in 1998, and Cadillac Dale in 2001, both noteworthy but poorly distributed releases that tanked. Now hes considering combining songs from both records, and rereleasing them as one package. In the meantime, the Detroiter makes money as a property manager, and is the voice on rap group Black Lagoons 2004 club hit, Star. Hes also got an eye on the land of love. Im currently working on taking my show to France. Matter of fact, Im not opposed to moving there.
Take-no-prisoners techno pioneers rewrote the drug, death and jail song
Who: Original lineup: Gregory Itchy McCormick, screamer, co-founder; Keith Jackson, guitar; Bill Shepherd, drums; Thomas Buckley, keyboards.
Many local musicians passed through Shock Therapy ranks, including, but not limited to, Cliff Hill, Richard Tex Newman and Bill McNeil (Almighty Lumberjacks of Death and/or Country Bob and the Blood Farmers), Chris Connolly (Pub Life), Dean Hamlin (Betty Fords) and ex-Plasmatic Wes Beech. Other notables include Dustin Aller, Eric Hoskins (RIP), Ted Meeks (RIP) and Joe Santori II.
What: Frontline vendor of industrial and techno-punk that began as a reaction against much of Detroits early 80s rock scene, particularly, Jackson says, mainstream bands like Figures on a Beach and Rhythm Corps. Largely ignored at home, and fueled by Itchys bizarre conduct, the bands initial attitude was more fuck-you punk than it was German urbanity, but they became iconic in Germany. Insane and genius are descriptors ex-members often use in the same breath to describe the singer.
Where: Shock Therapy debuted in 1982 at Bookies. They opened many shows at St. Andrews Hall for mid-80s heavyweights including Gang of Four and Jesus & Mary Chain and played often at the Free Style Lounge, the Red Carpet, Bookies, Todds and others. They headlined theater tours in Germany (in a haze of drugs and booze, Jackson says) before frenzied fans.
When: 1982-2001. Jackson and Itchy, two disenfranchised suburban kids from Farmington Hills, formed the Gerbils in 1981. Informed by technology, the band ditched the punk formula, adding keyboards and sequencers. They became DaDa, then Shock Therapy. By 1984, Shock Therapys industrial faceblast had blossomed.
What Happened: Group signed to local Metro America, which Jackson says was a coke-funded label nightmare, and recorded their debut in Nashville with programming-whiz producer Jimmy Hotz (Fleetwood Mac). The label bankrupted, and the band signed to Chicagos Fundamental (and later, Berlin-based Dossier Records), who reissued the debut in Europe, where the band took off.
But Itchys stunts were legendary, and frustrated members often quit. Jackson says, Itchy would tape acid and coke inside the synthesizers to get it through customs.
Their tale is littered with nervous breakdowns, rampant alcoholism, coke-induced heart attacks and near-death experiences. Theres sooooo many of those stories, says Cliff Hill, Shock Therapys drummer from 1990 to 1995.
One late-80s episode in Germany saw a spun-out Itchy nearly cash it in. The singer was balanced atop the steep roof of a youth hostel dressed only in his underwear. He was screaming bloody murder. Then he slipped from his perch and headed for the concrete five stories below. But by some fluke, he managed to catch the buildings exterior eave gutter just as he started to freefall. He hung on with one hand, still screaming with legs kicking and free arm waving. Band members formed a human chain down from an open window, one grabbed Hill by the ankles and he was yanked up to safety.
Where they are now: Itchys doing six to 20 for arson in Michigans Parr Highway Correctional Facility. He was sentenced in early 2001. German fans launched a Take Action for Itchy campaign (shock-therapy.de.ki) to get him out of jail. Jackson lives in Phoenix, and manages a pub and plays in two bands, the Glass Heroes and the Busted Hearts. Buckley lives in Austin and works a successful corporate gig. Shepherd died, reportedly from natural causes. The bands Hate is a 4-Letter Word is a cult classic and club favorite in Germany.
Did faggy dream pop kill the majestic shoegaze?
Who: Dave Stroughter, vocals, guitar; Michael Segal, guitar; Hobey Echlin, bass (1990-1994); Craig Thornton, bass (1994-1995); Odell Nails, drums.
What: Detroit-area band that sounded unapologetically British. Poppy and spacey were not mutually exclusive in the hands of Majesty Crush. Frontman Stroughter refused to take a backseat to atmosphere; Nails and Echlins rhythmic sense skillfully supported Segals shimmering guitar work. See also 4AD, Creation and shoegaze before that term became pejorative.
Where: Downtown scene St. Andrews Hall, 89X parties at the State Theatre, supporting such national touring shows as Mazzy Star, Julian Cope and Jesus Jones.
What Happened: Formed in singer Stroughters Indian Village basement after jamming on New Orders Ceremony one night, Majesty Crush was an anomaly on the rock-centric Detroit scene of the time.
The term, I believe back then, was The Post-Nirvana Signing Frenzy, Segal says now. At the time, Majesty Crush was certainly the least Detroit-sounding band among local headlining peers that included ska band Gangster Fun, token grunge band Big Chief, and goofball country pranksters Goober & the Peas.
Grunge was happening, Segal says. Faggy dream pop was not.
MC developed a loyal and growing local following, played out of town shows and fests like CMJ in New York. It inked a deal with Elektra subsidiary Dali Records for its debut, Love Fifteen. The band was poised and ready for its shot. A couple of months later, the label folded.
After releasing the promising EP, Sans Muscles, and the single, If JFA Were Still Together, the band folded as a result of what Segal describes as a dysfunctional, volatile inner-band dynamic.
Where they are now: Michael Segal is a graphic and fine artist in Detroit; Odell Nails is a lawyer in New York City; Dave Stroughter is an Los Anegeles musician performing as PS I Love You; Hobey Echlin is an Los Angeles-based freelance writer (and occasional Metro Times contributor) and yoga instructor.
Keyboards slay early MTV power-pop faves
Who: Dave Edwards, vocals; Sam Warren, guitar; Randy Volin, guitar; Rich Cochran, bass; John Sarkisian, drums.
What: Motor City hard rock cloaked in pop, mining a Pretty Things, Cheap Trick, Detective and Sonics Rendezvous Band mother lode.
The Look was the first Detroit band on MTV with its Were Gonna Rock clip in 1981. MTV rotated the bands 1982 follow-up video of the single, You Cant Sit Down, a cover of the Dovells R&B-dance hit. The song made American Bandstands rate-a-record that year, netting a better-than-respectable score of 94. The Look got much FM love in days when Detroit radio wasnt so afraid of local music. All this for a band on a tiny Detroit indie. (In Canada, it had a major Canadian record deal with A&M.) We were getting massive airplay, but you couldnt find our records, says band songwriter Dave Edwards.
In 1983, The Look signed with Fantasy Records (and Fantasy/A&M in Europe), the house that Creedence Clearwater Revival built.
Where: The Roostertail, Harpos, Center Stage, the Music Box, and Cobo Hall with the Romantics, Rhythm Corps, Adrenaline, Toby Red, Strut, Bittersweet Alley (a huge girl band, Edwards says) and others. It did a five-night stand supporting the J. Geils Band at Pine Knob, and extensively toured the United States and Canada.
When: Officially began in 1977, when four-sets-a-night, five-nights-a-week cover bands roamed the suburbs. Hit a stride in 1980 and split in 1985.
What Happened: With the MTV exposure, Fantasy Records bet on The Look to be the new Creedence. But the in-house producer, Phil Kaffel, diluted the bands Detroit guitar rock with silly keyboards, and fans and radio stayed away. The record was the bands death knell. That and inexperienced management, Edwards says. We toured behind the LP, but the original drummer quit in 1984. Fantasy wouldnt do videos and dropped the band.
Where They Are Now: The original members all live in metro Detroit. Sarkisian is a mortgage broker, Warren is a computer programmer, and Cochran is retired with a medical disability. Volin does solo records and showcases as Randy Volin and the Sonic Blues. Edwards continues to lead a version of The Look, with a pair of albums recorded in recent years. His first solo album, Take Another Look, came out last year on the local Scorpion/Hanzie label.
Protest punk that died before it got old
Who: Original lineup: Nate Buker, vocals, guitar; Scott Koskinen, guitar; Darren Katamay, bass; Jim Hasler, drums. The band saw a succession of lineup changes.
What: Angry 4/4-time hardcore, where protest punk met Black Label-and-flannel sensibilities. Buker says, We were the only mid-80s punks in that scene who dealt in politics. It was a reaction to Reagan-era jingoism, which turned us off. We became known as a commie, flag-burning band even before the stunt actually occurred to us.
Where: Fueled primitive slam pits at the Hungry Brain, Graystone Hall and Blondies, with outstate gigs in Muskegon or at Flints Capitol Theatre, with brief forays into Ontario.
When: Koskinen and Buker started playing together back home in Big Rapids before they moved to Detroit in 1984. The band split in 1991.
What Happened: Buker says, When we got to Detroit, we kind of hooked up with this southwest-side crew, people like Hardcore Joe, Bob Madigan from Slaughterhouse and that whole world of people starting alternatives to hair metal. Lacey, from Son of Sam, founded .44 Caliber Records, and we wound up on their compilation, Maniacs from the Motor City. About that same time, I moved into this house on Hollywood Street in Detroit, and the landlord told me there was a band that practiced in the basement and I said I didnt care. The band was the Gories. I couldnt believe it, Buker says. I saw the Gories. I also saw somebody I thought Id never see again, Mick Collins, my high school classmate back in Big Rapids. That basement housed the Gories, Forced Anger and Cum Dumpster.
We started recording about 1989 with Mike E. Clark [Insane Clown Posse]. We were very hard on ourselves in the studio, and Mike worked a lot with us, but we never released that stuff. Its pretty obscure even for people who were into our band. We broke up in 1991. Jim was losing interest, and was already in Cum Dumpster.
I thought Id gone as far as I needed to with it, and I gave up on it. The band kind of fell apart after that. We felt like we had something to express, and I felt I had done it the way I wanted to, and I walked away. Id feel dishonest if I went and did it again. We werent trying to be popular. It just felt like we were at war with society at the time. Now Im just as radical, but its not warlike anymore. Im 20 years older, my outlook is a little more sophisticated, and Ive learned to deal with my anger in different ways.
Where they are now: Katamay is a cabdriver in Washington State. Hasler lives in Germany and plays in a band called Stau. Koskinen was in the Detroit band Mt. Tai, and has been politically active. As for Buker: Ive been in Cum Dumpster, Barbed Wire Play Pen, The Dorks. I live in Hamtramck. People can often find me running sound at the Old Miami.
Total rock minus the dicks
Who: Karen Neal, vocals, bass; Lynda Mandolyn, guitar, vocals; Cathy Carrell, drums.
What: A comely trio more interested in getting audiences off their asses than into their beds. They played unapologetically hard, fast and tight rock n roll.
Where: Paychecks, the Shelter.
What happened: After high school, Neal hooked up with guitarist Mandolyn and kicked Inside Out into gear. We immediately had a connection, Neal says. Shes still one of my closest friends. They picked up Carrell along the way, overcame inner doubts and wrote heart-exploding, bass-driven songs with such teste-ready titles as Killin, Gods Shitlist and Dead Children. So, no, they werent playing rock n roll for pussies. Neal says, Wed get into fucking bar fights I pulled a knife on a skinhead once.
Inside Out is best remembered as one of Detroits only all-chick, punk, hard rock bands who earned their rep the DIY way. We seriously did everything ourselves. We didnt have any resources.
The band did a couple tours, put out a handful of records and, as Neal puts it, just ran their course. But what was left in their wake was an ahead-of-its-time rock-chick ethos so rousing that up-and-coming female musicians still cite them as a major influence.
Where are they now: Manodlyn is a San Fransico-based musician. Carrell earned a liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan, played in the Civilians and the Gore Gore Girls, and is currently caring for her mother, who suffers from Alzheimers. Neal went on to form Thrall with Mike Hard (whose introduction came via Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra), the Dirt Eaters with Warn Defever (she also worked with Defevers His Name is Alive), the handsomely monikered Lickety Clit, Queen Bee and Brain Saw. Suffice it to say, Neal is still a sex-positive stunner who rocks harder than ever.
Walter White/Rick Margitza Quintet
Jazz combo soured on Kareem Abdul-Jabbars lemon
Who: Walter White, trumpet; Rick Margitza, sax; Gary Schunk, piano; Ken Kellett, bass; Danny Spencer, drums.
What: Came together as a local outfit in the Young Lions mold, playing brisk bop-based jazz with an edge. The two horn player-leaders had met at the University of Miami, and back home in the Detroit area hooked up with a rhythm section of guys whod been in and out of groups together for years; drummer Spencers roots went back to the legendary Strata Gallery and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet of the 1960s. They submitted an audition tape to the Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search. Out of 400 entries, they were among four-or-so finalists who made it to compete live in Hollywood. They won studio time and the prospect of a record deal.
Where: Played the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival, Bakers Keyboard Lounge (often), Depot Town in Ypsilanti, Interlochen, Rustys in Toledo.
When: One night in 1986, as bassist Kellet remembers, White and Margitza dropped by Bakers to sit in with guitarist Joe LoDucas band. The chemistry between band members Kellett and Schunk and the two visitors was clear, and a band was born.
What Happened: The best thing about all of this is being treated like a star for playing bebop, bassist Kellett told Metro Times in 1987 after the bands contest victory. Disappointment followed. They got $3,000 for studio time and a hookup with a label soon to go defunct headed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. White wrote in an e-mail: Jabbars so-called record label, Cranberry Records, was more lemon then cranberry, just a battery of lawyers who had the first-right-of-refusal option. They refused. Nothing ever came of the tapes. The band ended a year later when White and Margitza moved to New York, White to work with Maynard Ferguson, Margitza to a solo deal with Blue Note.
Where they are now: Margitza, who toured and recorded with Miles Davis and as a leader on several labels, now lives in Paris. He works with the Paris-based Moutin Reunion Band, and recently blew through the Detroit area on tour with them. Hell have another disc out as a leader soon. White, who returned to Detroit for a spell after the New York excursion, moved to Ithaca, N.Y., in 2000. He works live and in the studio with artists (including the Mingus Big Band and Detroit hip-hop vocalist Curtis Mann), markets practice CDs for musicians, and is developing a commercial music-writing business. Spencer moved to the San Francisco area in 1993, where he plays and teaches. Kellett works sporadically in music and makes his living through computer-generated 3-D art and animation. Schunk, the only full-time musician still here, says hes down to just seven or eight gigs a month, including a couple of nights playing for diners at Seldom Blues. I thought it was me; maybe Ive been around so long that people forget about you. But I hear this from all my friends the activity has dwindled.
The Atomic Numbers
Giant hooks, maxed credit cards and pie-in-the-sky record deals
Who: Tim McHugh, vocals, keyboards, guitar; Zach Shipps, guitar; Jeff Hupp, bass; Matt Aljian, drums.
What: It might have been because they spent their rock n roll matriculation cohabitating in the same Hamtramck rental, but the Atomic Numbers put out some of the most polished power pop a gee-rage-adoring Detroit has seen ever. It lived somewhere near Elvis Costellos tone and Raspberries sing-song
Where: The Double Door in Chicago, the Magic Bag, the Magic Stick. They killed at SXSW and nailed support spots for bands like Super Furry Animals, the B-52s and New Pornographers.
What Happened: Billboard Magazine called them nearly unbearably clever and Metro Times readers voted them Best New Band to Make It Big in 2001. We rehearsed like maniacs 10 hours at a time, on holidays, all the time, McHugh says. I guess at some point we thought were going to make it big. It mustve been when the major labels started calling.
Their story is rock n roll 101: They played every Midwestern rock shithole, chicks creamed, and college radio loved em. But their full-length, Electro-Motive, was the Atomic Numbers fourth-quarter Hail Mary. We spent every last dime we made from playing shows (and what was left of Matts credit card) to put out that record, McHugh says.
With the help of Verve Pipes Brian Vander Ark, the record saw the light of day. Prognosticating journos dubbed songs like In You Power and Superexcitable sure things. But when an almost-done record deal with RCA fell through, the band fizzled.
Where they are now: McHugh went on to form the Rioteers, and Hupp moved to the burbs, got married and started a family. Shipps went on to tour with Brendan Benson and the Well-fed Boys, and now is an Aquarius Void and plays The Colonel in Electric Six. Aljian keeps time for Benson all over the world. McHugh recently moved to Colorado, saying hes had it with Detroit. He still writes music and sells guitars to pay bills.
No sobbing for fetching female rapper-cum-airwave queen
Who: Smiley, Detroits First Lady of Rap.
What: Smiley is the first female rap artist from the D to go national; her single and video for Smiley, But Im Not Friendly got mad love, and she appeared on Yo! MTV Raps and BETs Rap City. The single sold hundreds of thousands of copies. She even had her own dance team. Her first album, The Smile Gets Wild, made her a Queen Latifah-type pioneer in Detroit before Latifah. She even preceded the countrys first female gangsta rapper from Detroit, Boss. In those days, Detroit rap was a disconnected and barren landscape; Smiley came before Stanleys Rhythm Kitchen, before the storied Hip Hop Shop.
Where: Detroit and Atlanta were Smileys top markets. Alabama and North Carolina also got friendly. She was a frequent performer at the fabled Soul Night events at the State Theatre, which was also a stomping ground of rapper Trick Tricks Goon Squad. And you could catch her at the long-defunct Dancery, and at the Music Hall.
What Happened: No sob stories here, really; only transitions. After recording three albums, Smiley gave good face to a few modeling agencies and quit rapping. Chrysler Corporation picked her up and put her on the road with the North American International Auto Show as a spokes-model for five years. Then there was a two-year stint with the Ebony Fashion Fair as a commentator-coordinator.
After seven years on the road, she returned to Detroit and launched The Smiley Show, a music-video program that airs on Comcast Channel 6, Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. The program helps upcoming Detroit hip-hop and rap artists gain exposure.
Where they are now: That gig led to her current post, as a radio personality and promotions director for HOT 102.7 (WHTD). The Motor Citys first lady of rap can be heard each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And she can still make grown men shiver.
Angry Red Planet
Backbone piece of the alt-rock movement. Who knew?
Who: Tim Pak (aka Pakledinaz), vocals, guitar; Tracy Fogle, guitar; John Pak, bass; Dave Pentescu, bass; Vince Delisi, drums; Ewolf, drums; Bill Blank, drums; Sally Barclay, saxophone.
What: Angry Red was a vital link in the network of bands that formed the underground touring circuit in the mid- to late 1980s. And it was part of the alt-rock movements backbone with the Minutemen, Big Black and other folks chronicled in books like Michael Azzerads Our Band Could Be Your Life.
Melodic hardcore before words like emo ruined it, plus a sense of humor and play that kept the testosterone of the hardcore crowd off-balance until words like alternative were invented and embraced by college kids.
Where: Do-it-yourself scene-making joints like the Falcon Lanes/Mystery Lounge, the Graystone, the Hungry Brain, Paychecks, and Traxx.
What Happened: The brothers Pakledinaz (Pak) and Delisi kick-started Angry Red Planets excitement about the early 80s punk and hardcore scene even though the band was initially excluded from it, Tim Pak says and decided to do something about it by playing pretty much any place that would have us. The scene was pretty lively back then, lots of bands both locally and nationally coming through and playing one after the other.
Our crowd was a bit more diverse than the regular [hardcore] group; not as many guys [more girls], not nearly as violent as some of the other shows were.
ARP self-released its debut 7-inch and eventually turned weekend jaunts into longer East Coast tours. Guitarist Fogle joined for the bands second record on fledgling indie Touch & Go before John Pak and Delisi left, to be replaced by bassist Pentescu and drummer Ewolf. This lineup crisscrossed the country, stopping in Madison, Wisconsin, to record half an album with future Nirvana knob-twiddler and Garbage mastermind Butch Vig.
The band released a full-length the eclectic and hyper Little Pigs and toured Europe for six weeks (the lone contractual stipulation for releasing the record on the Continent).
Before we went over, it was decided, pretty much by myself, notes Pak, that this would be the last hurrah for ARP. And it was.
Where they are now: Pak runs Woodshed Studio and performs in the Salt Miners. His brother John is raising a family in suburban Chicago. Ewolf played drums in a number of bands, and has become a well-known photographer. Bill Blank is a playwright and teacher. Delisi lives in Tennessee with his wife and daughter, and Fogle now lives in Oakland, Calif. Pentescu, Pak says, has been spotted around town. Theres no info on Barclay, the bands occasional saxist.
Rotating in the Booty electric
What: Rotator is the missing link between the radio-cum-club DJ stars of the 1980s (such as Jeff The Wizard Mills) and current booty all-stars like Godfather and Assault. His razzle-dazzle showmanship was the blueprint for a Detroit ghetto style that continues to jiggle asses the world over. In certain circles, hes become a mythological figure. Hes a turntable virtuoso who mixed Phillip Glass with jungle, beat-matched tracks played forward and backward, and set fire to shitty records before hurling the flaming discs into the dancing crowd. As Ectomorphs Brendan Gillen says, Playing with Rotator is like performing with a great jazz player, a turntablist who knows music on a really deep level. He uses the cross fader like Hendrix did the guitar.
Where: Played East Side club, the Dancery, where bullets sometimes competed with the bass; rocked Filipino karaoke bars in Oak Park. Toured Europe with Ectomorph.
What Happened: Crack happened. Then he cleaned up. Now we understand that hes a family man.
Where they are now: Reportedly, hes a Detroit auto mechanic as nimble with engines as he is with a needle and a groove.
All but one are Fags
Who: John Speck, lead vocals, guitar; Robby Graham, bass; Jimmy Paluzzi, drums, vocals.
What: They busted in as poppy punks and left angry.
Where: Downtown scene St. Andrews; and the East Side the Foundry, the Impound.
What happened: After leaving Thunderchief in 1993, Speck formed Hoarse to showcase his songs. The final lineup was an all-star cast of sorts; Graham from the Almighty Lumberjacks of Death, and Paluzzi, who had bailed on Sponge.
Their single, Diamond, quickly caught the attention of program directors at 96.3-FM (the Planet, at the time), and within days the unsigned band was sharing radio time with Beck and U2. 89X and Z-Rock quickly added Hoarse, and RCA swooped in and signed them. The bands focus became fuzzy and they collapsed amid tales of melees with A&R folk and Jim Beam abuse. Their last show was New Years Eve, 1997.
I was young and just didnt get it, Speck says. But I dont regret a single thing because I wouldnt be where I am today.
Where they are now: Graham is married with kid, but still whoops it up with Red Wings and assorted pro-athlete types. Speck and Paluzzi are now in the Fags, whose Sire Records debut is due in early 2006
Writing and research: Brian Smith, Khary Kimani Turner, Michael Jackman, W.K. Heron, Chris Handyside, Walter Wasacz and Eve Doster. Send comments to email@example.com.