Showing posts with label detroit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label detroit. Show all posts

7.17.2017

THE ROMANTICS' MIKE SKILL TO RELEASE SOLO SINGLE


The Romantics Guitarist/Vocalist/Songwriter Michael Skill To Release New Solo Single “67 Riot”

New song evokes time when Detroit burned during“Summer of Love”

Detroit - From the man who crafted such hit singles as “What I Like About You,” “Talking in Your Sleep,” and “One In A Million,” comes a new gritty blues-rock single about the riots that forever changed his hometown of Detroit in 1967. Michael Skill, who has played both bass and guitar for the power-pop rock 'n' roll band The Romantics, was a budding teenager in 1967 when five days of racially charged riots tore apart Detroit in July. When it was over, 43 people lay dead, 1,189 had been injured, more than 7,200 had been arrested and more than 2,000 buildings had been destroyed.

Skill lived on Detroit's East Side and says that although the violence took place several miles from his home, he nonetheless saw its effects up close. “I remember the National Guard right down the street from my house,” he says. “People watching the riots on TV were afraid that rioters would come into our neighborhood. People were freaked out.” The riots changed his beloved Motor City forever. “A lot of my friends' families took off for the suburbs after that,” he says, noting his family chose to stay in the city.



The riot's effects – and the fact that many of the issues they raised, from police brutality to economic decay – stayed with Skill, culminating in his desire to write “67 Riot.” Loud, powerful and evocative of tough tunes by such rockers as Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix and Skill's fellow Detroit rockers, The MC 5, “67 Riot” is both a haunting look at the past as well as a timely allusion to the present, in a world where racial and social tension still threaten to rend our nation in two.

“I wrote the song from a sense of frustration that people never came together after the riots to really address what happened, to look each other in the eye and say, 'How can we repair this? How can we move forward?'” The song's lyrics are written from this point of view. “4 AM/Down the street/Cops roll in/With all the heat/Blind pig roaring/Kickin' their heels/Soldiers home/Just gettin' real,” the song opens. “Rooftop sniper/Set the sight/Burning cocktails/Flash in flight/Broken city/Broken dreams/Things aren't always what they seem/67 Riot!”


Recorded in Skill's own studio, the song features him on guitar, bass and vocals, and also features drummer Russell Ayers, who engineered the tune. The co-producers sought to create an aural equivalent of what it was like to live through this violent time, Skill says, but he adds that he wanted the song to end on a note of hope because Detroit has rebounded in recent years.

“Try to warm your heart/Dream your dreams/Break the chain/Let's start clean,” he adds in his song, noting it’s time to break the chain of racism that has shackled generations before, during and after “67 Riot.”

The Romantics are still touring, still recording and currently feature 3 original band members on the front line up, Rich Cole, Wally Palmar and co-founder Michael Skill. Drummer Brad Elvis joined The Romantics in 2004 and has been the longest seated drummer with the band. Rich Cole rejoined the band in 2010, reviving the band's 3-part harmony allowing The Romantics to perform songs from their first two albums live for the first time since his departure.


Social Media:
https://www.facebook.com/mike. skill
https://twitter.com/MikeSkill2 @mikeskill2
https://www.instagram.com/ mjskill/ @mjskill
https://www.facebook.com/ 67Riots/
https://www.facebook.com/ romanticsdetroit/

5.25.2017

★FREE★ PRE-VIEW OF UNTOLD STORY OF TUPAC SHAKUR BIO-PIC


DATE: THURSDAY, JUNE 1st

LOCATION: EMAGINE THEATER - 200 N. MAIN STREET - ROYAL OAK, MI 48067

OPEN: 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

ADMISSION: FREE

ABOUT ALL EYEZ ON ME:
All Eyez on Me, in theaters June 16, chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom as a hip-hop artist, actor, poet and activist, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial time at Death Row Records. Against insurmountable odds, Shakur rose to become a cultural icon whose career and persona both continue to grow long after his passing.

All Eyez On Me, helmed by Director Benny Boom, and produced by LT Hutton (Morgan Creek Productions), stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Dominic L. Santana and Jamal Woolard. #ALLEYEZTOUR

RSVP:  FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

ll Eyez On Me, helmed by Director Benny Boom, and produced by LT Hutton (Morgan Creek Productions), stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Dominic L. Santana and Jamal Woolard. #ALLEYEZTOUR


4.20.2017

KEEPING UP WITH TOSHA OWENS: THE HARDEST WORKING SINGER IN DETROIT!


Every Tuesday night Tosha hosts the Pub Froggy open jam with Tosha Owens &The Stable Dudes

4-22-17 Mark Pasman's Super session at Boo's in Royal Oak 9pm

5-15-17 Private Party at Cobo Playing the network & drinks portion of the Plastipak 50th Anniversary Celebration. Ron Carter to perform after dinner.

5-16-17 Private Party at Cobo. Plastipak day 2 50th anniversary. Playing the after party of the Smokey Robinson performance.

6-01-17 Motor City Casino Chromatics Lounge with Tosha Owens &The Essentials 7-11pm

6-03-17 Clio Blues Fest with Erich Goebel & The Flying Crowbars time tba

6-04-17 Hosting the Blue Goose jam with The Stable Dudes 8-12


6-18-17 Ferndale Brews, BBQ & bourbon Fest 4:30-6pm main stage

7-01-17 Stars & Stripes with Joey Farner & The Tribe 3:45-5:00

7-09-17 Red, White & BBQ Fest in Livonia 1:30-3pm

7-14-17 Windsor Blues Fest with the Bobby Murray Etta Tribute 6:15pm

7-08-17 Blues show in Sarnia with the Bobby Murray Band time tba

7-30-17 Hosting the Blue Goose jam 8-12 with the Stable Dudes

8-30-17 Hug Detroit Fest time TBA


The following song and video was written and directed by a gentleman named Keith Lauren. Tosha was asked to sing the song and be a representative for it and it's campaign. The song 'Detroit Strong', is a wonderfully written song about Detroit that highlights what we represent now and always have, including the people and vibe of Detroit.

Buy Detroit Strong Below with Link or Click the Photo



The song is also on sale on ITunes, CD Baby. Not only they striving to make this a solid Detroit anthem, they are donating all online sales to the charity called CATCH (Caring Athletes Team & Children) & Henry Ford Hospitals



Connect with Tosha


3.21.2015

ROCKTROPOLIS REPS MICHIGAN PROG WITH 3113 AND DOES IT VERY WELL


I am sitting here with a big ol' progressive rock grin on my face, listening to the new CD "3113" by mid-Michigan's own purveyor of this instrumental rock genre Rocktropolis ®. What this band has done is keep our state in the face of musicians and fans alike of guitar-driven prog, with a CD that soars and screams and then gently soothes you with the flying fingers of Pete Metropoulos, Sam Metropoulos and whoever the drummer is (Ed. Note: Always include liner notes on who's actually in the band). There are cuts here that would be right at home in an action movie opening sequence as well as the end credits of a sci-fi thriller.

I'm pleasantly surprised at the amount of keyboards that grace these tunes: as a keyboard player myself, I'd like them louder because they really fit well but hey, that's me! The production is stellar and consistent across the tracks with very tight drums and bass laying a solid background where the many guitars (and apparently a whole lot of fingers) of Pete builds his own signature soloing identity.

My only beef - I understand the less expensive (and sometimes labeled "green") single sleeve packaging that this disc comes in but it leaves no room for all the extra information one might want to know: where recorded, who did the writing…and who's in the band! But that's really my only complaint and that might just be my opinion only.

Good job gents - it's apparent you know what you're doing. Highly recommend.

Submitted by Nightcrier.

Follow Rocktropolis on Facebook


3.13.2015

TOSHA OWENS: WEEKEND LINE UP


Had a good time last night performing with The Essentials. (Blues & Soul) who's members include:  Ray Goodman, Glenn Giordano, guest bassist Tony Suhy and guest keyboardist Phillip J Hale.  We decided against featherbowling this time due to the fact that we don't know how. But it sure looks like fun.  One day I will actually read the rules and give it a try.  And that's just the beginning...

TOSHA AND KIMMER
 Tonight, March 13th I will be performing for you with The Essentials (Ray Goodman, Glenn Giordano, guest bassist Tony Suhy and guest keyboardist Mike Skory).  at the newest blues spot in Royal Oak....Boos located at 215 S. Main St in Royal Oak inside the Mr. B's Restaurant.  These events are hosted by Detroit blues man Mark Pasman.  You can make reservations by calling (248) 399-0017.  There is a $10 cover tonight And a nice menu.  Time:  8:30pm - 11:30pm.

Saturday night, March 14th I will be performing for you with Constant Velocity (Rock & Blues) who's members include: Mike Smith, J T Monroe, Jeremy Kanouse and Mike Bertrand at The Fowling Warehouse located at 3901 Christopher in Hamtramck.  Fowling is the activity that is sweeping the Detroit area.  The only way I can describe it is that it is like bowling but instead of using a bowling ball, you use a football.  The lanes are wooden and dirt.  It looks like a lot of fun.  You can bring in food and they supply the beverages including a bar.  We will be hitting the stage at 9:00pm and go till 1:00 am. Come and listen to the band and watch or get on the list for an available lane for only $10.

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone and stay blessed.

3.10.2015

OPEN JAM FEATURING TOSHA OWENS!

 

Open jams and open mics and running rampant in the Detroit area. Some are good and some are great. With the insurgence of musicians that are coming out of and to the area, they are great avenues to just do what you do as a musician and a wonderful opportunity to network.  I will periodically be investigating some of these events (there are several you can find any day of the week) and report my findings to you.  The first one I will report on will be happening tonight at Pub Froggy located at 16420 E13 Mile Road in Roseville, MI from 8pm till 12am.

 This open mic is hosted by Detroit Blues and Rock singer Tosha Owens and her Unstable Dudes (David A Watson - drums, John Abraham - bass, Jimmy Alter - guitar, Carlton Washington - guitar). Some of the buzz about this open mic (and the buzz is spreading) is that it is very relaxed, a fun time and very diverse! One person even said its 'big ole party with some of the best musicians I have ever heard'.  I would have to agree.  You can hear everything from blues, rock, rap, spoken word to original, alternative and punk.

All musicians are welcome to bring themselves or their whole band to get a few tunes in and listen to others.  One night 11 drummers showed up and then it got creative.  They put all of them on stage with different percussion pieces and just let them jam for 4 minutes straight. That was great.  Some legends and familiar local musicians have graced the 'Doing it Froggy Style' jam as well.  Artists like Jim McCarty, Cee Cee Collins, Niecy Blues, Chris Brantly, Gabe Gonzalez, Dezi McCullers, R J Spangler and his planet D nonet band, Terry Thunder, Phil Hale and many more. Can't wait to see who they have in store for us tonight!

Many bonds are formed from these jams and also new bands and projects come out of these events.  I will continue to support them as long as I can.  Will you?  I gotta go and get ready for tonight!

Always be grateful for your blessings and they will never stop coming.  Peace Family!!!

ReeRee Rocker

2.26.2015

MACHINEGUN THOMPSON AND RETROKIMMER ON TAPDETROIT TOMORROW NIGHT!


Machinegun and Kim Maki aka Retro Kimmer be live in the studio with T Money Green on his 5Xl L Radio Show on February 27...Check out the show by clicking the photo or link....talking about REAL DETROIT MUSIC!

http://www.tapdetroit.com/5xl-large-in-charge-012315/


2.06.2015

WHO REALLY PLAYED GUITAR SOLOS ON TRAIN KEPT A ROLLIN


STEVE 'The Deacon' HUNTER

‘Train Kept A Rollin’, was written by Tiny Bradshaw in 1951. The song was given new life by The Yardbirds in 1965 then again by the inimitable Aerosmith when they recorded it for their second album ‘Get Your Wings” in 1974.

Their version is actually a two-part song, the first has a slower groove arrangement, while the second uses that of the Yardbirds. Aerosmith turned it into a hard rock standard and a staple of classic rock radio; it remains one of their most popular tunes.

But few people know that they had a little help along the way when, during the recording, Record Producer Jack Douglas saw the now legendary session man Steve Hunter sitting outside the studio taking a cigarette break from a different session and he asked Steve to play a solo over the first half of the track.

It was very quick Steve recalls, he got his own guitar which he thinks would have been a 1959 Les Paul TV Special. They took some time to get a sound, then, ran through the track. But, as he did not have the vocal in his headphones they ran through it again this time with the vocal in, and Steve nailed it.

He got paid about $750 for doing it, then, as it turns out, 'Train' had a huge impact on the career of the young, inexperienced Aerosmith. They went on to bigger and better things, becoming one of the highest paid, most domineering bands in Rock Music.

Unbeknownst to Steve, Douglas also enlisted his session companion Dick Wagner to play the solo over the second half simulated live ‘Yardbirds’ section.

Neither Hunter or Wagner got a credit on the album, as ‘ghosting’ as it’s sometimes called was fairly common practice at that time.

Hunter has no idea why he was asked to record the solo; as he says, it was none of his business. The rest of the band we’re all there, they were very nice to him and he was never asked to teach anybody what he played.

In 2013 Joe Perry played a solo on Steve's solo album 'The Manhattan Blues Project' (The Brooklyn Shuffle) alongside his buddy Johnny Depp, so clearly there are no hard feelings and why should there be.

Statement from Steve Hunter

"Aerosmith was in Studio C of The Record Plant and I was doing work with Bob Ezrin in Studio A. I had a long wait between dubs and was waiting in the lobby. Jack Douglas popped his head out of Studio C and asked "Hey, do you feel like playing? I said sure, so I grabbed my guitar and went in" "I had two run thru’s, then Jack said "great' that's it! That turned out to be the opening solos on 'Train Kept A Rollin’ " steve hunter 2/1/2015

Here is a selection of other classic solos from Steve Hunterer




11.23.2014

THE RETURN OF MADAM X!

 
“We had no idea what to expect when we hit the stage. It had been almost 30 years since we played together. We new this could be either the end, or the new beginning.” The Petrucci sisters,

Bret Kaiser (Vocals)
Maxine Petrucci (Guitar) 
Chris "GODZILLA" Doliber (Bass) 
 Roxy Petrucci (Drums)

FROM JACKIE WALLACE:

Like many people, I love to hear a good comeback story. I had the opportunity to meet with the band members of Madam X. Their journey was and continues to be a fascinating one. This is a story within many stories they have to tell…

Going Against the Norm…

Madam X was formed in the late 1970’s /early 1980’s by two sisters from Detroit, Maxine and Roxy Petrucci. The two girls were into heavy metal music. Maxine played guitar, and Roxy played drums. They were not your typical high school girls. They didn’t hang out in dress shops, or go to school dances. Instead, their free time was spent playing music and hanging out in music stores. Their obvious obsession with music made them somewhat of misfits among the high school student body, even though they had both earned music scholarships to Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Maxine and Roxy had auditioned many musicians for their band before they finalized their lineup, which included Chris Doliber on bass and Bret Kaiser on vocals. After a year of gigging every night in Detroit, the foursome packed up and left for New York. They had no plans on how they were going to survive; they just knew their ultimate goal was to be in California and have a record deal, so the how didn’t matter.


The Gritty Road…

There is no better way to describe their early years of work other then to call it gritty. The word “gritty” means “having strong qualities of uncompromising realism,” and that just about summarizes their journey early on. With little income, the foursome lived the life of “starving artists.” When they weren’t sleeping in their vehicles on tour, they slept on the floors of roach infested motels. They would take turns going to eat at cheap buffet restaurants, paying for one meal and then sneaking food back for the other members to eat. The band had a grueling schedule of performing every night which gradually led to a loyal following of metal heads. They had no manager, no marketing team, and no money. They did all the bookings, promoting, and negotiating, themselves.

Chance Encounter…

After building a following in New York, and elsewhere, they scheduled a tour that included their ultimate destination, California. They booked a show at the Troubadour Nightclub in Las Angeles. After their performance, which ended at about midnight, they were approached by a woman who introduced herself as an agent in the music business. The woman suggested that the band go to the venue next door, called the Rainbow Room, to mingle.

The Rainbow Room was the hangout for major national bands such as Motley Crue, Poison, Alice Cooper, and many others. With some hesitation, the band decided to go check it out. As they walked into the venue, their “larger then life” hairstyles caught the attention of everyone in the room, including one of the A&R representatives from Jet Records. The A&R representative asked them who they were and the band introduced themselves. He then asked for a promo pack. Luckily, the band was always prepared and gave him one. Within a week after, the band received a call from Jet Records asking where they were playing next.



Preparation…

The audience at their next gig included, the president of Jet Records, Don Arden. The band performed with their usual level of passion, energy and integrity to their music. Immediately after their performance, Don Arden told them their lives were about to change. He offered to sign Madam X to Jet Records that night.

Shattered Dreams….

After the initial explosion of excitement from getting signed, the band quickly began settling into the realization that they were no longer in control of their destiny. They had to adjust and conform to having little creative control. They were under the impression that being signed to a record label meant things were going to happen quickly and on a big scale. The problem was Madam X had already made things happen quickly and big, without any help. Their level of speed was much greater than what a label could offer them.

Hence, began the negativity with the label and then within the band. Eventually, both the band and the label were dealing with separate as well as some mutual issues that caused the band to break up and the label to dissolve. At this point, the members were emotionally drained, and their energy was depleted. They walked away from the Madam X experience and all went their separate ways. Each member continued to pursue music, Maxine started her own band called Maxine; Roxy became the drummer for the popular all female metal band, Vixen; Bret began his own band called Band ’56; and Chris continued to play bass and write music.

As the Years Go By…

Aside from getting back together in 1991 for one show, the band had little or no contact after the break up. Some 28 years later, while on tour in England with the Vixen band, Roxy was at a “meet and greet,” signing autographs after her gig. She found herself repeatedly answering questions about Madam X and also signing Madam X paraphernalia. Roxy realized that although the members of Madam X had moved on, their loyal fans did not.

Roxy contacted Maxine, Brett, and Chris to share her experience and suggested they get together to write and record one song. With the help of producer Kevin Sharpe of Metro 37 Studio, the band reunited and began working on one song to release. As word got out, via social media, the band found that their fans were waiting with excitement. They were contacted by one of the founders of The Sweden Rock Festival, the biggest festival in Sweden, and invited them to perform at the 2014 festival.

The Comeback…

With some reservation, the band agreed to do the show. When they arrived in Sweden, they were interviewed by on one of the local magazines, who asked them if they had any idea how big they were in Sweden. The band had no idea. The moments before the show, as the band walked toward the stage, they described the halls leading up to the stage as a “maze” with tall walls so that you couldn’t see out. They described being somewhat nervous, hoping that maybe at least a couple hundred people would show up.

“We had no idea what to expect when we hit the stage. It had been almost 30 years since we played together. We knew this could be either the end of Madam X, or the new beginning.”

Once they hit the stage and saw the “sea of heads,” a crowd of about 20,000 fans, chanting for them, they were overwhelmed. The band portrayed the experience as being “surreal” and “invigorating.” As they began playing, “the nerves settled and it felt like home,” as Roxy put it. At one point, during their performance of their song, High in High School, Bret pointed the microphone at the audience and the band listened to the crowd sing all the words to the song they wrote some 30 years ago. This moment proved that this was, in fact, the new beginning for Madam X!

The Next Chapter…

The band is now recording a new CD with Kevin Sharpe at Metro37 Studio. They have plans to release the CD with a big comeback party right here in Detroit, where it all started. They hired an agent and are planning on a tour in the summer of 2015.

It is amazing how the universe works. When the time is right, and the dream is big enough, the universe will bring it back around.

Welcome back Madam X!

10.08.2014

ELIZA NEALS WITH T MONEY GREEN; PJ LAGER HOUSE OCT 31!


Here's the latest from Eliza Neals and the crew..they are playing Halloween for some tricky fun plus a costume contest. 

http://pjslagerhouse.com/event_item.aspx?id=2237

Her new album is coming together in an unreal way and Eliza would like to send our fans a free download of my the Detroit Diva's single "sugar daddy" go grab her tune at ModernMotown.com

Eliza Neals aka The Detroit Diva Website: http://ElizaNeals.com
FaceBook: http://TheDetroitDiva.com
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/ElizaNeals


Also on the bill is our favorite funk Bass master T MONEY GREEN!
The legendary bass player best known for his work with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Warren G., and The Dramatics.

6.12.2014

T.M. CALDWELL'S RARE FILM SCREENING AT THE PAINTED LADY JUNE 26!


Detroit artist/archivist T.M. Caldwell will be the programmer for an exclusive night of rare 16mm films at the Painted Lady Lounge (formerly Lilli's 21).

Thursday June 26th 2014
in Hamtramck. 9:30 to 11:30 p.m.
The Painted Lady Lounge
2930 Jacob St. off Joseph Campau Ave.
Hamtramck,MI 313 874-2991

A night of genuine ol' school style audio/visual tech geek for celluloid purists. These will be in actual motion picture film reels shown on former public school 16mm A.V. projection equipment onto a linen screen.



Jump
1969-71 (?)
An anti-recreational drug film by William Dear and Robert Dyke w/ legendary Detroit music afficianado Anthony 'Tony' Fusco in a cameo role. Great fuzzed out garage/psychedelic score, rag top sports car, dope-in with dum-dum boys and gals, sporting classic beat ray bans & wrap around shades,
late '60's hip stoner hair and clothes. A twisted, scared-straight, moralistic tale.

WXYZ Detroit Radio Promo Film

1969-70
With revered local disc jockey personalities Dick Purtan 
(post CKLW & Keener & pre- mustache)and Tom Shannon.
Phone pranks, near subliminal shot of John Sinclair, many scenes of Detroit. All to the sounds of musicians from
Johnny Cash to Thunderclap Newman.


Good Life
1968-70
A hippie outsider nature retreat (Alaska/California./Washington commune?),back-to-the-wilderness getaway,
documentary.Gorgeous forest nature imagery,
blue grass banjo pickin',skinny dippin',good clean (?) fun.
 
Untitled

1965-70 (?)
Unidentified jazz ensemble performing several numbers

with commentary by leader of group. B&W kinescope film shot by Jam Handy Studio of E. Grand Blvd. Detroit.


Javelin

1970-72 
Classic Detroit muscle/sports car, action packed, auto racing promo film. Vehicle is painted red,white and blue
in patriotic manner of Evel Knievel's bike & MC5’s Brother Wayne Kramer's axe.

4.29.2014

DETROIT PHOTOGRAPHER TOM WESCHLER RELEASING DETROIT ROCK N ROLL BOOK!

The Bob Seger System at our farm '70.

We can't wait to buy a copy of Tom's book! He has the bet shots of anyone in the rock photography business....just the best....Tom is Detroit Rock n Roll


April 29, 2014 – Rochester Hills, MI – Entertainment photographer Tom Weschler has started an IndieGoGo campaign to fund production of a fine-art photo book exhibiting Detroit’s vast rock ‘n’ roll and entertainment history.


Weschler, who has been doing live-music photography since the 1960s for artists such as Bob Seger, has compiled exclusive live photos of Detroit’s entertainment industry dating back to 1964.

THE WHO @Grande Ballroom summer '68

The book, set for a summer release, will include photos of notable artists and bands spanning four decades, including The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Ramones, and many more, performing at local venues around the Metro-Detroit.

The IndieGoGo campaign has a goal of $68,000, and the campaign includes perks for donating to production. Some of these perks include assorted prints from the book, posters, and even a day with Tom Weschler for a tour of Detroit’s landmark concert locations.



Brad Finegan
Marketing Specialist | Primeau Companies

1878 Star Batt Dr. Bldg 2E
Rochester Hills, MI 48309
Phone: (800) 647-4281
Fax: (248) 289-1869





Retro Kimmer is a talented and widely-respected writer, show promoter and multi-media event designer. Kimmer's blog, Retrokimmer.com,  is about pop culture and it's evolution into today's hottest trends. She loves blogging about rock music, art, scandals, crime, stars, books and history. Kim's energy  is both engaging and entertaining to her readers

4.28.2014

MOTOWN'S HITSVILLE USA: MORE THAN JUST A MUSEUM



"Motown was about music for all people - white and black, blue and green, cops and robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone." - Berry Gordy

Having grown up in the metro Detroit area, I had heard of the Hitsville museum but never visited. Hitsville is the original home of Motown Records and the very famous Studio A. Most of the original Motown artist recorded there. Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, just to name a few.

These and countless other international stars got their start on their road to fame in this small unassuming converted house on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit less than 5 miles from downtown. I like Motown music, but I am a rocker at heart.

 
However, one of my son's biggest idols is Stevie Wonder, so we decided to take him on a field trip to Hitsville USA. To my surprise the visit turned out to be far beyond my expectations. The feelings that transpired when I walked through the doors are difficult to describe. Reading about it just doesn't do justice to this Detroit gem.

The admission for the one and a half hour tour was only $10.00. The tour sparked the realization of the immense impact that Hitsville and Motown Records had on the world. We are talking about the late 1950's and 60's, during a time of a segregated society when Barry Gordy, an African American man, left his secure job at Ford Motor Company to pursue his dream. He borrowed $800 to start his recording studio / label.
 

Within six years, his company was generating $20,000,000 per year. That in itself is amazing. What business even today has that kind of growth rate? At that time, Barry Gordy's company became the largest African American company in the country and according to some accounts, the largest in the world. When we toured the house, we stood in the small recording room that produced over 100 top 10 hits within 10 years.

Today, the museum represents so much more then just great music. People come from all over the world to visit including many famous musicians of all genres, such as Paul McCartney, who claimed to be "moved by the energy in the building."

 
The visit to Hitsville USA was a completely different experience for me than for my son who is an aspiring singer. He was fascinated with everything he learned about Stevie Wonder and the other great musicians. For me, I learned so much about what it means to have the faith, courage and drive to pursue a dream.

The Hitsville USA museum isn't only for Motown lovers. This landmark represents so much more. This is a place for all people who need to be reminded that their daydreams about leaving their jobs during insecure times to pursue a passion can become a reality.

This is a place for musicians of all genres. It is a place of musical inspiration to those who put in endless hours into the labor of love composing the right blend of lyrics and melodies with the goal of having their songs become hits.

 
This is a place for all those people who have experienced struggles and setbacks and need to be reminded of what faith, courage and drive is all about as they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and continue on.

Because the experience was so inspiring to me and also because I’m sure I missed some things, I plan to revisit Hitsville USA museum in the near future. I also plan to bring some friends along to share the experience. At some point I would love to meet the man who represents so much to all types of people, "white and black, blue and green, cops and robbers”~ Mr. Berry Gordy.

Jackie Wallace

4.17.2014

MAD RESPECT FOR JONEZEN: NEW ALBUM RELEASE BEAUTIFUL DISASTER

 
Jonezen is a proud native of Detroit, Michigan, and credits the "D" for his motivation and drive. After he made his way to the West Coast, it was in LA where he received some comeuppance, and hit "Rock Bottom".

Jonezen earned mad respect as the winner of Hip Hop Artist of the Year 2013.  Jonezen's verses flow with an energy from and entirely fresh  "eyes wide open" approach.
 

Beautiful Disaster with no holding back on lessons learned... takes his audience on a lyrical journey about the "grind and the game".★★★★ JenniferAnn VersaStyle.



Jonezen-2013 LA Music Award winner for Hip Hop Artist of the Year. Nominated at 2014 LA Music Awards for Hip Hop Artist and Solo Performer of the Year. New single "Bombs Away" ft. D' Meetri produced by IAMVINAY. Video shot and directed by Ryan Pinkall. Beautiful Disaster drops in Summer of 2014. Get the latest:



4.06.2014

FORTUNE RECORDS STORY!


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

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