Saturday, September 21, 2013

Detroit Rock City / If you love rock and will love this book!


The Uncensored History of Rock 'n' Roll in America's Loudest City

by: Steve Miller

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and was 13 years old when I purchased my copy of The MC5's uncensored version of "Kick Out The Jams". I have written other posts on this blog about being so lucky to have been an impressionable teenager living in Detrot in 1969!
This book is an "oral history" of the Detroit Rock Scene. from the 60's all the way through to the new millennium. It's all here.....The MC5, The Stooges, Alice Cooper, Detroit, SRC, Ted Nugent, Bob Seger and many more.  Here is a great review of the book that I found on Amazon.

 By Suzinne Barrett VINE VOICE on August 23, 2013

Having long been a fan of Iggy and the Stooges and more recently have gotten hip to the under recognized MC5, this book was a natural choice for me. LOVE oral biography format, and Steve Miller's "Detroit Rock City" ranks among the very best. This book grabbed me on page one. Wish the photos were better (they're horribly printed), and a better job could have been done in identifying the players. Same mistake has happened in two other oral biographies I've read and enjoyed. Why not identify each and every voice, and even better give us a picture, even if it's a small one alongside each contribution? Not everybody knows who these people are. Also, if you were a fan of Creem Magazine, this book is a must read. Would have liked more about Creem and Lester Bangs, but various writers from Creem do contribute, like Dave Marsh and Jann Uhelszki. Creem, located in Detroit, offered the very best of rock journalism and music reviews and regularly blew its competitor Rolling Stone out of the water. Rolling Stone kissed a lot of butt, but Creem instead sported an authentic rock and roll attitude and never did.

Been a fairly serious music fan but even still was not aware of a good amount of the bands accounted for here. Much of the music remained central to Detroit and did not cross over to our other cities. The break out stars of the scene obviously were Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Iggy and the Stooges, Bob Seger and Ted Nugent. Alice Cooper received the most airplay with Mitch Ryder not far behind. Much later on, Bob Seger has his moment in the sun with "Night Moves." One of the best stories, told by producer Bob Ezrin, recounts his trip to Alice Cooper and company's abandoned building rehearsal studio/hideout which reads as something out of a Steven King novel! Mitch Ryder, Wayne Kramer (of MC5), Alice Cooper and Iggy and the Stooges tell firsthand of all the craziness. Now, the next step would be a documentary because the stories in the book BEG for one. There was so much talent and energy going down in Detroit in the late 60s and also in the 70s - socially, musically and politically, and it's nothing less than a crying shame that bands like the MC5 saw very little glory for their outstanding efforts. Bad management, cheap and clueless record companies and drug abuse account for these failures. For the record, the MC5 were one of the greatest live acts ever, although that never directly translated to their records. Check them out live on youtube to see what I mean.

Anyway, a wonderful and much needed look at the Detroit rock scene. Over the years, so much attention has been given to the Motown phenomenon, leaving the co-existing rock scene in the dark. This book was seriously overdue.
Mitch Ryder (circa the band called "Detroit") 
Iggy and the Stooges (circa the Hollywood hazy daze
The Stooges 1969
The MC5

1 comment:

Kim Retrokimmer said...

Nice story on a great book! I just got my copy finally! I am about half way through it...It does have some honest moments so far....LOL

Thanks Jarvy for the lovely boost on your page! xxK