Tag Archives: Detroit

Smartass Motor City Punks

Check out this letter to the editor from the July 6, 1972 issue of Rolling Stone:

I can’t help but notice that nearly every time you mention Detroit, it’s some sort of put-down. I wish you wouldn’t pass judgment on an entire city. Not everyone around here holds John Sinclair as his savior, or spends his time grooving on the MC5, Alice Cooper, the Stooges and so on. […] Not all of us are smartass Motor City punks.

Jeff Stern

Southfield, Mich.

Isn’t that great! Associating “punks” with the MC5 and the Stooges (and Alice Cooper — huh?) back in 1972. How cool is that?

Posted another Lester Bangs review. This time it’s Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality.

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The GO on the Radio

It’s Friday, and I’m in love.

The tightness around my eyes reminds me of last night’s Bud, but with The GO on the radio? Hey man, it’s right on. Detroit rock and roll water babies, musical greenhorns, touring tenderfoots? Whatever. Turn that shit up.

The brains behind the operation is one Bobby Harlow. Many names he has been known by, but one thing’s for sure: this kid is skinny. Well, that’s true. But it’s all part of the look, man. He can rock with the best of them, especially when The GO lights it up on all cylinders. Watcha Doin’, a rambling, high-octane assemblage of nicotine-stained rock, is the best thing Sub Pop has released in years (well, don’t tell the Murder City Devils that…they might kill me). Harlow’s sexy howl matches the intensity of John Krautner’s ragged guitar lines, and when the backing vocals come in on the chorus of “You Can Get High,” you know you’re in for the long haul. Detroit rock and roll is nothing new. But don’t sit there and tell me you don’t like it.

The GO knows the history (Harlow does a great Iggy Pop impersonation); they’ve been around that block. But lets go around again, and this time roll the windows down. The GO is infectious, just like how you never change the dial when “Back In Black” comes on the radio. Handclaps, fuzzy, slutty guitar, and just the right amount of drums mix it up for 12 tracks of greasy rock music that wears its influences like a broken-in leather jacket. It smells like whiskey and cigarettes, and that’s empowering.

Rock and roll will give me what I need.


Pussy Does Rule – Stroker Ace

Stroker Ace, opening for Ko and the Midnight Intruders

The Gold Dollar

Feb. 22, 2001

Is there anything better than going out to see a great garage band and getting all fucked up on a Thursday night? Well, yeah, there is: Doing it when a deadbeat friend owes you money and he’s picking up the bar tab. And here in Detroit, chances are, you’ve got at least one deadbeat friend. Mine decided that last night would be a good one to pay me back for some money stolen from my wallet last weekend.

And that’s how I met Stroker Ace. No, not Burt Reynolds and not Bill Neely and Bob Ottum, Stroker’s creators. Not even Curtis Turner, the real Stroker, as he’s been dead for years. I’m talking about Jackie O and Melody Licious (and their boy Dougie Tangent, but I’m not really interested in him because he’s a dude and I’m relatively straight where that’s concerned). This loud Detroit femme trio makes the kind of noise that, if it must be classified according to mainstream taste, goes into same riot grrrl bin as L7, Hole, and the Runaways. But who cares about that—this is the type of shit that, when sitting in a bar with a head full of beer, sounds like fucking Beethoven.

You want power chords, you got ’em. Licious blasts her Gibson SG through some distortion pedal that makes it sound as good as the best guitar rock guitar can. O, despite calling her bass-playing “Sid Vicious-inspired,” is far better than that. She’s no Mike Limbert, but hey, I already told you where I stand where dudes are concerned. Watching Jackie (I can call her that because I introduced myself to her after the show; she gave me a sticker) slouch her Fender Squire. . . Oh man! Let’s just say that between the several cans of Stroh’s and her “Pussy Rules” T-shirt (Which she just had to draw attention to, in the finest rock star fashion, by asking the crowd what they thought of it. I mean, what did she think we thought of it?!?! It was totally awesome; it turned me into a groupie the instant I saw it!), I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside like some sick sort of puppy love. Except that this puppy is a rabid street mongrel. Funny how the canine metaphor also works for “doggy style.”

The point here is that chicks with guitars rule. Yeah I’m a sicko because I get turned on by every woman who’s ever picked up an axe. Yeah, go ahead and let the feminists bash me, but sometimes it’s nice to be exactly like the little 12-year-old girls who swoon over the Backstreet Boys. It feels good to embrace the kind of love/lust that you know is totally without merit, because dammit, we all want to bed a musician after we’ve seen him/her on stage. Didn’t you read/see High Fidelity?

Who knows whether I’ll dig Stroker Ace quite this much the next time I see them. This was certainly no one-night stand—I’ll be back to check them out again. Maybe the music will overwhelm the sex appeal next time, it certainly has the potential to do so. But I am realistic. I know that deep down in my heart, I don’t care one way or the other, because there will always be girls with guitars and me standing in the audience with a dreamy look in my eyes. These girls, however, seem special right now. It feels like more than just a good loud chick band. Could be just the immediacy of the crush, or it could be the start of something bigger. Do you ever really know? Is there such thing as everlasting true love at first sight?

I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how this one turns out. But I did e-mail O this morning…