Never mind the winter, here’s the Motown Winter Blast. This free, three-day outdoor fest smack in the middle of the ungodly winter sparks up this weekend; nearly 60 Michigan acts on three stages in and around the Campus Martius Park in lovely downtown Detroit. The event, staged by the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee, will run the gamut of musical genres — so you can get your multiculturalism on — from the Caribbean-hued Roots Vibration to historic garagists ? and the Mysterians, from black rock masters Black Merda to the suit-bedecked, gospel R&B of Serieux. There will also be some special ticketed shows featuring national acts.
If that ain’t enough, here’s something rock ’n’ roll purists might dig: Fred “Sonic” Smith’s son Jackson Smith has announced a one-off show, playing his dad’s songs with Gary Rasmussen from the Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. They’re calling themselves Smith/Rasmussen’s Sonic’s Revisited, and there will be “surprise” guests. They’re playing Saturday, Jan. 22, at 1:30 p.m. on the Metro Times stage.
Anyway, for said event we thought it’d be swell to get a quick peek into (we hope) the instinctive minds of some local performers. Not to get all Jungian on yer butts, but we gave each selected performer an identical list of simple buzzwords. Then we had them answer each, as quickly as possible, with whatever came into their heads, word association-style. And some of the results are both funny and revealing.
Muffy Kroha – The Sirens
Muffy is the self-deprecating and lucid Sirens’ frontchick whose band reworks the sexual stimuli of testicular floor-stompers by the Hollywood Brats, Ike Turner and Suzi Quatro, among others. And, kids, if covering the aforementioned ain’t a show of class (and passion) then please show us the door. What’s fun at a Sirens show is watching grown men groan through beer-foam mustaches at the sight of such agreeable flank in fuck-me platforms. And kudos to Muffy for her anatomically correct adjective of our fearless leader.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Terrifying
George W. Bush: Asshole
Sex Toys: ??
PMS: My life
Blue balls: Giggle
West Side Detroit: Home
East Side Detroit: Home
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that ... I take over — but this time not reluctantly.
Friday, Jan. 21, 1:30 p.m.; Metro Times Stage.
What can be said? Juan Atkins is a techno pioneer. Heavily influenced by the sounds of Ken Collier and the Electrifyin’ Mojo, Atkins laid early techno groundwork and helped give Detroit yet another musical claim to fame.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Good mayor
George W. Bush: Insane
Porn: Necessary service
Sex toys: Necessary service
Retirement: Getting close
Radio: Too commercial
PMS: Victim of circumstance
Blue balls: Victim of circumstance
West Side Detroit: Where I grew up
East Side Detroit: Kinda rough!
Booze: Don’t drink
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Juan Atkins gets what he’s due.
Saturday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage
? — ? and the Mysterians
You can’t deny that this band’s 1966 hit “96 Tears” was a crucial slab for the developing ears of garage and punk rock upstarts the world over. And the band’s wiseacre and effusive leader, ? , is a peculiar gent to be sure, his ubiquitous wraparound shades and overall glam élan notwithstanding. Just ask this Flint resident where he’s from and he’ll tell you: Mars.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Support him
George W. Bush: Cheney’s puppet
Sex Toys: Interesting
Radio: “96 Tears”
PMS: Seek help
Blue balls: Orange balls
West Side Detroit: Come together
East Side Detroit: Come together
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … will be.
Sunday, Jan. 23, 5 p.m., Metro Times stage.
Rachel May — Broadzilla
Chicks with riffs? Studded distaff rock crunch? Lyrics that can singe ear hairs? Portly fan-boys? You bet. What else can be uttered about Broadzilla except that this trio — fortified with Joan Jett kohl and a Motörhead Sturm und Drang — steadfastly wave the tattered rock ’n’ roll flag in the face of so much commerce-driven marketing gloss that currently passes for music. Their burgeoning U.K. fan base might just make them stars beyond the 313.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Dig the earring, brah
George W. Bush: You’re fired!
Porn: Yes. No! Yes. I mean Yes.
Sex Toys: Shhhh …
Retirement: Tropical island
Radio: Me no likey
PMS: Two Alleve, a box of chocolate and the remote control
Blue balls: Sorry, boys
West Side Detroit: Yo!
East Side Detroit: Hamtramck homies
Booze: Vanilla Stoli and Coke
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that ... the gods of rock ’n’ roll hellfire wreak havoc on teen pop divas.
Sunday, Jan. 23, 11 a.m.; Metro Times stage.
VC — Black Merda
Know this: Black Merda were largely ignored in their day as top-shelf purveyors of psych- and funk-tinged “black rock” back when white shitkickers like the MC5 and the Stooges were getting all the attention in these parts. This is their first show together in more than 30 years. Read our cover story (Metro Times, Dec. 1, 2004) to learn more.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Hip hoppy
George W. Bush: Tricky Dicky
Sex Toys: Mannish Boys
Radio: Air pollution
PMS: Pretty mother …
Blue balls: Woe
West Side Detroit: Far out
East Side Detroit: Look out
Booze: You snooze
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … will blossom like a flower in spring.
Saturday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m.; Metro Times stage.
John Arnold — Blackman and Arnold
Ubiquity recording artist John Arnold is a staple in the Detroit progressive electronic music scene. Dude is a multi-instrumental machine and has recorded 12” classics with Theo Parrish, Paul Randolph, and Amp Fiddler to name but a few.
Kwame Kilpatrick: My age
George W. Bush: Dark Age
Porn: Why not?
Sex Toys: Y knot?
Retirement: Done it
Radio: Tried it
PMS: Lived it
Blue balls: Thanks for reminding me
West Side Detroit: Apple
East Side Detroit: Orange
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Kwame Kilpatrick and George W. Bush make porn on the East Side with sex toys and then retire to the West Side because of PMS, blue balls and booze.
Saturday, Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage
Nadir — Distorted Soul
This Southern-bred singer-songwriter and his stalwart band play with an aplomb that could raise the corpses of Marley and Hendrix. No shit. Nadir acts in movies and wins songwriting contests too. To label the band simply neo-soul would be downright reductive.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Fix the roads
George W. Bush: Two stolen elections
Porn: Spyware and viruses
Sex Toys: Peanut butter and a corkscrew
Radio: Suckas never play me
PMS: “Yes, dear. Anything you say.”
Blue balls: “Please, baby. Please, baby. Please, baby, pleeeese …
West Side Detroit: Shrine of the Black Madonna
East Side Detroit: Getting lost anywhere east of Woodward
Booze: Vodka is evil
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Distorted Soul blows up!
Saturday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Metro Times stage.
Usually appearing in his signature hospital scrubs, DJ Surgeon has been laying down ghetto-tech and jit music in clubs and cabarets throughout Detroit for what seems like eons. His deck skills are mad, certainly, so it stands to reason that he teaches courses in turntablism.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Re-election
George W. Bush: Outcast
Sex toys: After the show
Blue balls: Don’t get ’em
West Side Detroit: Much love
East Side Detroit: Lots of love
Booze: Only with friends.
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … DJ Surgeon is truly recognized.
Saturday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage
Bobby East — Reefermen, Hemigod
Storied Roseville guitarist Bobby East has been kicking around the Motor City for years, and is currently splitting time between the genre-defying Reefermen and the Kid Rock-produced Hemigod, whose Atlantic debut is due out this spring. East lists his proudest musical moment as “playing alongside Kid Rock for the troops in Iraq.”
Kwame Kilpatrick: Too young
George W. Bush: Too stiff
Porn: For the bored
Sex Toys: For the unemployed
Retirement: Too far away
PMS: All around us
Blue balls: Bad dream
West Side Detroit: No comment
East Side Detroit: Home sweet home
Booze: Liquid courage
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … everybody finds themselves (you’ve got to be a little optimistic).
Reefermen appear Saturday at 4:30 p.m.; Metro Times stage. Hemigod performs Sunday at 6:30 p.m.; Metro Times stage.
Eddie “Flashin’” Fowlkes
Eddie Fowlkes is a Detroit electronic staple, has been since the early ’80’s. A former regular at the legendary Music Institute nightclub founded by Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, Fowlkes’ DJing style has made countless techno heads worldwide fall in love with Detroit.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Big time
George W. Bush: Drunken bastard
Sex toys: Fools
Radio: Happy station
PMS: River flow
Blue balls: Shiiit
West Side Detroit: Home
East Side Detroit: Shit
Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Deep Groove Magazine puts its foot in some people’s asses.
Friday, Jan. 21, 9 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage.
For a complete schedule go to motownwinterblast.com or call 313-963-8418.
Brian Smith is Metro Times music editor; Jonathan Cunningham is a Metro Times editorial intern. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.