It’s a re-mastered version of The Greatest Rock and Roll Single Ever Made with the killer “Electrophonic Tonic” on the flip. So what did you think we’d say about this gem? No life is complete without “City Slang” spinning on the turntable. This release is a 45 so we can give it a place on the jukebox as well.
city - The I-94 Bar
Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock and Roll in America’s Loudest City– Steve Miller (Da Capo Press)
Call me biased and armed with far too much hindsight for my own good, but for a brief time in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Detroit was the lesser-known but undeniable epicentre of genuine rock and roll. The music industry, as it was, might have had its moneyed roots deeply planted on America’s East and West Coasts, but the real action was occurring deep in the US Midwest.
Sure, there was Motown and its over-ground success that eventually shifted to L.A. to mutate and die but we’re talking a parallel universe here that was populated by a different cast of characters plying a blue-collar strain of music. It’s an eternal truism that musical scenes never last. The Motor City’s rock and roll had its moment but succumbed to fashion, drugs, shifting attention spans – whatever factors play to your own historical biases – and has never recovered.
The first record I ever reviewed was "Kill City". That was back in 1977 for Self Abuse fanzine. I wish I had a copy of the article so I could compare how I felt then and how I feel now. I wrote that review because everyone I knew was slagging this off at the time. West Coast bland was the popular consensus. I didn’t agree and I wanted it down for the record.
Consider the Sonic's Rendezvous Band saga... Arisen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of four of the Motor City's finest proponents of high-energy rock -- the MC5, the Stooges, the Rationals, and the Up - the Rendezvous steadfastly refused to bank on their illustrious pasts (which, granted, might have been more of a liability than an asset at that point in history). Rather, they insisted on a more original kind of expression -- hardly a guarantee of steady employment for a local band in the mid-to-late '70s.