Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

5.03.2017

DSC CELEBRATES IT'S 5TH ANNIVERSARY



The Detroit Sound Conservancy’s 5 year anniversary 
 Ferndale’s newest restaurant and performance venue Otus Supply.
Story by Tosha Owens

The Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) is an organization headed by Executive Director Carleton S. Gholz, PhD and made up of about 30 musicians that strives to preserve the music history of Detroit. 


They were established in 2012 and have since rallied to save the historic United Sound Recording Studio by making it a historical marker in 2015 and they are also responsible for rebuilding Veridian Sound Stage of the historical jazz club The Blue Bird Inn.


The stage has been shipped to France for this year’s Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne festival. As far as I know, this is the only organization of its kind here in the D.

One member of the DSC is local musician James Wailin (The Reefermen) who also, preserves, repairs and sells old music equipment such as Turntables, Victrola’s, Jukeboxes, and Stereo HiFis just to name a few and many of which he had on display and demonstrated each item.


The event was well attended by many musicians and supporters and I got to catch up with friends. The Otus Supply is a great venue for dining or entertaining. They did it right with four different rooms in the ‘hollow rooms’ to dine in and a separate room, The Parliament Room, for live entertainment. Tosha Owens

Great work thank you so much Tosha and Jane!!


5.19.2014

DENIZ TEK BUYS FRED "SONIC" SMITH'S CRESTWOOD

Deniz Tek with The Crestwood in Radio Birdman

Deniz Tek tells the history of his Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe that was once owned by Fred Smith during the MC5 days.

Deniz Tek: I was in Ann Arbor in 1973, home to visit family and friends on my first visit back after moving to Australia in '71. By then I was in a band called TV Jones, and I was always on the lookout for cool guitars. Anyway, I was at the Campus Corners store on South University, looking at the notice board. There was a handwritten ad that read something like "MC5 Epiphone Crestwood guitar" and a phone number. I knew the band had split up and was selling stuff.
 

Being a huge fan of the MC5, and a lover of great guitars, I called the number. It was a middle man, selling the stuff. I think his name was Fred Stoll. I knew his sister in school. So I went down and bought the guitar, I wont say for how much but it was a good deal even for those days. The guitar came with a case with the MC5 stencil painted on it. I took the guitar back to Australia, and it being the finest guitar I had ever owned, I began playing it as my main axe. I've played it ever since.
 

The Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe was the top of the line solid body Epiphone back in the days when Epiphone was owned and built by Gibson. It was the Cadillac. It featured 3 mini-humbucking pickups, and a 3 position selector switch where you could get the neck pickup alone, the bridge pickup alone, or the bridge and middle pickup together. The way it was wired you couldn't get all three at once.

  photo by Kevin O'Rafferty

It had an oversized batwing headstock, bindings, Grover machine heads. The particular model that Fred had was a very rare version that had a factory-installed Bigsby tailpiece instead of the standard Epi tailpiece. This conversion left a couple of extra screwholes in front of the bridge. To cover those up, a little black plate was put on that said "Custom Made". Apparently they only made 200 of that model. Mine was made in 1966.

photo by Kevin O'Rafferty

I am pretty hard on guitars onstage. The Epiphone had the neck break off 3 times. It was never deliberate, but just from the way I play, plus the fact that the neck-body joint on those guitars is a bit flimsy ... it was that model's only design flaw. The last time it happened, in the early 90's, I left it with Dan Erlewine. He was the guitarist in the Prime Movers when Iggy was the drummer, and he was also at the same time my first guitar teacher at Herb David Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor in 1964. Dan later became a world renowned guitar luthier and repairman. He used to write the guitar repair section of Guitar Player magazine. Dan did an amazing repair job on that guitar and fixed it up so the neck joint was bulletproof. I never had a problem with it from then on.
 
Photo: Tim Bugbee

I became friends with Fred Smith a couple of years after I bought his guitar, and he would occasionally ask me to bring it along and play as a guest with Sonics Rendezvous on the song City Slang, which features a lot of guitar. Fred was always happy to see his old Crestwood.


In 1978 I was in London with Radio Birdman, and we ran into Iggy and his touring band which at that time included Fred Smith, Scott Asheton, Gary Rasmussen and Scott Thurston. Fred had some extra cash on hand, and asked me if I would consider selling the guitar back to him. By then I had played that guitar on several hundred shows and some recordings ... it felt like part of me. I wouldn't sell. He was understanding and good humored about it. We went out to dinner that night. Much later, after Fred passed away, my pal Scott Asheton told me that Patti wanted to get the guitar back as part of Fred's estate. Again, I had to respectfully decline.

I went to photograph the legendary Radio Birdman at Manning Bar last night. The band had fun on stage and the crowd loved it. The show was awesome.
Here is a photo of half of Deniz Tek and his beloved Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe as they get ready to launch.
Photo Emmy Etié Photography

When I was touring with DKT-MC5 in 2004, I played that guitar. It was a great, great honor to fill in with them. Of course, no one can ever fill Fred Smith's shoes, or play like him. I asked Wayne what he wanted me to do, exactly. He said "I'm hiring you to play your ass off". I said: "I can do that"! Wayne remembered Fred's guitar well. He said that around the time I bought it, they also tried to sell his world famous American flag Stratocaster. And he told me that no one bought it! Unsold, it went into storage. He went on to say that he never found out what happened to it after that.


The guitar has become iconic over the years. People associate it with me, with Radio Birdman, and with the MC5. In Australia, Epiphone guitars became sought after. Players wanted that sound, and that look! By 2006, the last time I toured with it, it was so beat-up and had lost so much paint that it began to have some tone problems when the bare wood would get soaked. I had it dried out and clear coated, and decided to allow it to retire gracefully. Deniz Tek

★Deniz Tek, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a guitarist, singer and songwriter currently based in Sydney, Australia. His career in music, grounded in late-60's Detroit, extends through several decades and across continents. He is best known as a founding member of the influential Australian independent rock band Radio Birdman.

In 2007, Deniz was inducted into the Australian Music Hall of Fame, and in 2012 was voted number 7 in the top 100 Australian guitarists of all time.★

12.31.2013

THE MOTOR CITY'S BURNING DOCUMENTARY: BBC

 

Documentary looking at how Detroit became home to a musical revolution that captured the sound of a nation in upheaval. In the early 60s, Motown transcended Detroit's inner city to take black music to a white audience, whilst in the late 60s suburban kids like the MC5 and the Stooges descended into the black inner city to create revolutionary rock expressing the rage of young white America. With contributions from Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, George Clinton, Martha Reeves, John Sinclair and the MC5




12.20.2013

DETROIT MUSIC HISTORY: FORTUNE RECORDS

Fortune Records 3942 Third Ave Detroit Michigan

Ron Murphy is Detroit’s premier music authority and has worked in the music industry in Michigan for over 40 years. Ron’s story first appeared in a Michigan music magazine called R.P.M. in September of 1983.


The first songs cut in the new (11629 Linwood) Fortune Studio were recorded on a Magnacord tape machine. In 1953, they purchased an Ampex model 350 which was used to record all of the Fortune masters, until the early sixties.



Fortune Records used simple basic recording techniques and just a few mikes that let the quality of the singers voices, and musicians playing shine through without any gimmicks.


The first time I visited Fortune Records was February 1960 and I was going to be a singer, so my best friend and I skipped school to go make a demo record. When we got down to the Fortune studio on Third Street and walked in, a man wearing a hat and an overcoat came out said “Hi boys, are you lost or what?”

Then he laughed and I explained that I had called last week about making a demo, then I asked again about the price just to be sure and he said “that’s right, I’ll give you couple of takes on a tape and then cut the dub for $7.50 – so are you ready? I said yes and gave him the money and we went to the studio in the back.

3942 Third Ave in 2001 just before demolition

I recorded one song and went into the control booth to listen back. While listening the man said, “Well how do you like it?” I told him it sounded pretty good. He replied “What do you mean pretty good? I’m giving you my best sound!”


The Fortune Records story started almost 40 years ago. Devora came to Detroit from Cleveland, Ohio and was introduced to Jack Brown through a blind date set up by a friend. Devora was already writing poems and songs, even though Jack was working as an accountant at the time, he liked her songs and encouraged her to send them to a few music publishers.


Devora Brown: songwriter, pianist, record store owner, producer, engineer, song publisher and co-principal of Detroit-based Fortune Records...Jack Brown: co-principal of Fortune Records with their daughter, Janice By this time Devora married Jack Brown, and in 1947 after little response from other publishers they decided to start a publishing company and record the songs themselves.


Jack and Devora Brown set up the publishing company with Devora’s brother helping out. In 1956 the Browns purchased the building at 3942 Third Street and moved into what was to become Fortune’s permanent home.
When Motown Records started to become successful around 1962, I remember asking Devora how come they let Motown get ahead of them. She replied “We had all those people down here but they sure didn’t play that way for us.”

Unlike most record companies of the 50’s, Fortune Records had a sound all of it’s own. You knew it was a Fortune Record without looking at the label. Just like Motown in the 60’s.

Other than the J-V-B record label started by Joe Von Battle in 1945 (which folded in 1968), Fortune has now become the oldest steady record producer from Detroit, Michigan. Out of all the record companies started in Detroit, including Motown who left, Fortune Records outlasted them all.
Ron Murphy September 1983
Read More About Fortune Records:
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