OP-ED published in the Detroit Metro Times 11/06, written by Jere Stormer
Subject: "Hard Listening" Future of Music in the Motor City
I've been a part of a few scenes in this town… From the first wave of the Bookie's bands to hair bands to not-so hair bands."
Easy Listening it's not. The Detroit scene is about Hard Listening. I mean Titanium-Hard. Always been that way. Focused. Intense. Leave the comedy to Soupy… Let's start in the 1930s: Cutting contests at the Graystone that made the cats on the coasts afraid to come back. Hard. Paradise Valley getting ploughed over by I-75. Hard. Be-boppers leaving town to be appreciated. Hard. Moving up in time: The competition to create the perfect pop song in the snakepit. Hard. MC5, & running from tear-gas. Hard. Iggy's chest. Hard. Cybotron to Eminem to the White Stripes… They love us everywhere. It's like Woody said: "Hard Travellin'"
I've been a part of a few scenes in this town… From the first wave of the Bookie's bands to hair bands to not-so hair bands. Now I'm considered a "folkie" and my scene is ultra-vibrant but so what? It doesn't stand a chance of breaking out -- It can't spread because it's too hard to get around in this town … (Then you have to park!)
Like everyone else holding down this fort, I am tired of musicians leaving to make someone else's scene. But UNTIL folks from Bloomfield can get to Jefferson-Chalmers, and folks from Green Acres can get to Northville; our city is never really going to grow a scene. Scenes are intrinsically a "walking distance" phenomenon. You can get to Greenwich Village as long as you can make it to the subway stop. You can get to Old Town if you can get to the south side. Beale Street… Austin…Toronto… Everybody can WALK everywhere. . .
Cities have scenes because they maintain dependable public transportation. The day Detroit gets a good rail or bus system that unites the Urbs with the Burbs will be the day multi-scenes will spontaneously birth themselves. Hard Labor.