Showing posts with label MC5. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MC5. Show all posts



Russ Gibb GrandeBallroom.Com
Had a fun conversation with my friend Jack Ashton the promoter from Los Angeles the other day. We were talking business mostly but the topic of Detroit Rock Impresario Russ Gibb came up...

Jack Ashton and Russ Gibb

Russ of course is the famous creator of The Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan... The Grande featured local, national and international rock bands of the day... some of which were.... Cream, Jeff Beck, SRC, Thyme, Prime Movers, The Chosen Few, The UP, and Iggy and The Stooges.

The "house" band at The Grande was The MC5 (Motor City 5). The 5 were famous for being rowdy and always getting in the faces of bands who didn't bring it... or "Kick Out The Jams".

Street Sign Outside the Grande (photo by Kimmer)

"Uncle" Russ Gibb made a brilliant choice in having the MC5 as his guide to all that was cool during this time. According to many friends Russ and I have in common, it was the MC5 that picked such an eclectic group of bands that lifted The Grande Ballroom into Detroit Rock legend.

The combination of Uncle Russ, the MC5, the emcees Stanley T Madhatter, Dave Miller, famed poster artist Gary Grimshaw and the very low ticket price helped create one of the most happening places to catch a rock show in Detroit, heck maybe even the world...
The MC5 postcard photo: Leni Sinclair

"Uncle" Russ Gibb (born 1931) is a former concert promoter, and media personality from Dearborn, Michigan, probably most famous for his role in the Paul is Dead phenomenon, a story he broke as a DJ on WKNR-FM. After a visit to the Fillmore West and a talk with promoter Bill Graham, he operated Detroit's Grande Ballroom and was a major player in the late sixties/early seventies Motor City music scene. He was instrumental in giving the MC5, Ted Nugent and Iggy Pop their start. The Grande Ballroom also was where the Who played their rock opera, "Tommy," for the first time in the United States.

Gibb also owned or leased other live music venues around the Mid-West including the Eastown Ballroom, Michigan Theater . He expanded his music endeavors when he invested in Creem magazine.



*Steve Hunter (Ld. G)*Brett Tuggle (G)*Harry Phillips (Keyboards) Frijid Pink*W. R. (Ron) Cooke (B, V) Catfish*John Badanjek (D, V) Mitch Ryder & The DetroitWheels *Ed "Dirty Ed" Okalski (Congas, Tambourine) 

In 1971, Mitch Ryder formed a group called "Detroit" and recorded an excellent album produced by famous producer Bob Ezrin...Who Also Produced Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper & Many Others.


The single "Rock 'N Roll" written By Lou Reed

Featured on their LP Titled "Detroit" Released In 1972. 




Congratulations to the Motor City 5 (MC5)! You have been certified as an honoree for The Inaugural Walk to Fame launch by the nomination committee members of Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum, Detroit Entertainment Commission, and city residents to be registered in Detroit for a Walk to Fame Star.



Robert "Bootsey X" Mulrooney

It is with great sadness that I post the news that Bootsey X passed away at around 7 pm November 28th at Detroit Receiving Hospital. I loved how much joy he found in performing...and I am honored to pay tribute to Bob tonight...

Stanley T. Madhatter introduced me to Bob at a fundraiser in 2009 at the Painted Lady in Hamtramck. Bob was very ill then and his many friends gathered to raise money for his medical care. Madhatter adored Bob and spoke of him all the time. Madhatter and I sat at my computer and played all of Bob's videos the next day.  My very favorite video is Secret Agent Man...

Bob was so damn cute...had such a girlie crush on him. We became buddies on Facebook in 2010 and real life too. While chatting one night, I invited him to go with me to an appearance at the Guitar Center Drum Off. He was just the best to photograph! He and I had a blast shooting that night.

Bootsey at The Drum Off

What a fun night with Bootsey and Gerald Shohan his best friend, his guitarist and his protector. The love and friendhip these two men shared was so inspiring. My heart goes out to Gerald tonight. This tribute is to Gerald as well, and his magnificent giving soul.

"Would like to believe that Lili is pouring my friend Bootsey X a few shots at that great rock bar up in the sky tonight. Safe passage, my friend. We'll see you again further on up the road..."

Bill Holdship "You have to go with me to this crazy 'History of Rock' class I'm taking at community college, Bill. The teacher is an idiot. And she's crazy. I don't know how she got to teach anything! She talked about Altamont and then said, 'After that, someone was killed at almost every Rolling Stones concert for years!' I raised my hand and told her that isn't true...and crazy bitch got mad at me! So now I'm afraid i'm going to flunk 'History of Rock' at community college!" --Bootsey X
 Joe Michnuk and Bootsey X

Joe Michnuk "I visited Bootsey X over the last several years we would go out for pizza when he was still able to walk. He loved Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park. It was always cheese pizza no toppings that was his favorite. After he lost the ability to walk, I'd visit him with vanilla ice cream since everyone else brought the pizza.
We'd eat as much of a half gallon as two guys could & tell stories about chicks 'n music. We made each other laugh so hard that the nurses would come in to see what was going on. They all called me "The Ice Cream Man" @ both HFH & St Joe's Nursing Home. I'll miss his sense of humor & tremendous creative genius the most."

Last year we had a small holiday party in Ann Arbor. Gerald and Bootsey came out and they performed my favorite...SECRET AGENT MAN.  Kyle Davis and his band backed up Bob and Gerald on RAMROD BABY too which the young guns really loved...

My friends Danny Creadon, Steve, and Art Godoy headlined that party and were just in love with Bob. As more information comes in I will update this tribute..Not sure about any details as of yet.

Willy Wilson R.I.P. Bootsey X (Robert Mulrooney) - Too many great memories to share from shows, parties, record stores and the launching pad. Bob was a true rock n' roll legend. I picture him in the great Fortune Records building in the sky talking musical smack with Jim Shaw and Tony Fusco. 

Kelly, Valorie, and Bootsey X Chris Scott Dellas "He was a cat I always looked up to and admired. He seemed to drum for every band I saw when I was a teenager and later I rarely missed a Bootsey X show. He was always cool and smiling with me and always treated me with kindness. This many people are mourning not just Bob's passing, but not being able to see him make people happy again from the stage. Thanks man for being nice to a once-dopey kid."

Valorie Synwolt Bob was a jewel. He was genuine genius. There is an angel rockin in the name of Detroit out there- he was a true friend- my heart is shattered, because I got back home too late to sing with him one more time.I will miss my Boot Karen Neal Looks like Bootsey X is re-united with Julie Hecker. Prayers for Robert Mulrooney's loved ones and family and of course, remembering Josie Salash and the Hecker family too! Rest in peace!!!

Jerry Vile In addition to fronting or drumming for virtually every band in Detroit Bob was a very good writer. He was on staff of White Noise And had his own page in issue 4.

Jerry Vile and Bootsey X I will miss you Bob. You are the spirit of rock and roll and everything else worthy of vinyl. Hopefully one day we will build a memorial to you. Rock In Peace..

Mortichia Pippenshmooze I will really look forward to seeing Robert Mulrooney on the other side, where as somebody said, he will be surrounded by music and babes. Boots was always so sweet. He was the only man who ever asked me to be a "Sugarbaby of Soul" but I can't sing. I could only shake my ass and dance along. So much fun. Sad sad goodbye for now.

Andi Sparks Divetta ...and another light goes out.Robert Mulrooney was a strange and wonderful creature. just the way i like them. love to all of our hearts who knew him. there are so many. I love my friends and what they do. Bootsey X Joe McGuire Bob sold me my first record when I was 12 years old at Desirable Discs II in Dearborn (and he sold me many more after that).

Later I worked with him at Peoples Records when I was in college. He was always really nice to me, friendly and very funny. He was one of those rare unique individuals and it's really sad to hear that he passed.

To all who knew him and supported him in his life and in his art I send my heartfelt condolences. Joe Kidd ... i first met bob at a bar on michigan ave in inkster. he was drumming in a band called STREETS. i was in my first band called THE SILVER CHORDS. we were friends right from the start. we loved each others music. it was around 1976. we were all doing a lot of cover songs then. bob used to come to see us just to hear us do 'under my thumb' 'you better move on' and the big blue oyster cult hit 'dont fear the reaper'. i remember at the end of one summer night somehow we had in our possession a bow & arrows. we were firing them into the sky trying to shoot out the streetlamps on schoolcraft road. . - peace to you - j.k. //oo\\




From Chris Carter:
Here is the link to the petition I started weeks ago to get the MC5...THE GREATEST ROCK N ROLL BAND OF ALL TIME!!!!...inducted in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame...almost 900 supporters so far which includes Dennis Thompson, Retrokimmer.Com, Michael Davis' daughter Ursula, son Adrian and Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators!!!



Stanley T. Madhatter

Stanley The Madhatter, a well-known figure on the Ann Arbor/Detroit music and art scenes, died Monday in Ypsilanti at age 62.

Madhatter wasn’t his real name, of course: Stanley Zillifro seemed somehow too ordinary a moniker for his outsized, mid-1960s counter-culture persona. Growing up in Hamtramck, he emceed hundreds of rock and roll shows at Detroit’s historic Eastown and Cinderella theaters and the Grande Ballroom.

Madhatter with Tony Bojanic

He was a fixture during the mid-1970s and 1980s at the Chances R/Second Chance and Nectarine Ballroom nightclubs in Ann Arbor, where he had a hand in nearly every aspect of music presentation.
“Anyone even peripherally involved in the southeastern music scene in Michigan knows Stanley,” said John Carver, who owned the Second Chance / Nectarine Ballroom (now Necto) on Liberty Street.

Zillifro was recently diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer, according to Carver.

Sporting mutton chop sideburns; a Fu Manchu moustache; and long, curly black hair, The Madhatter was generally attired in a hippie-inspired wardrobe, often with a vest festooned with buttons promoting rock and roll bands. Whatever he wore, the outfit was always completed by the black top hat that inspired his Stanley The Madhatter persona.

Retrokimmer and Madhatter

He moved to Ann Arbor in 1974 but had lived in Ypsilanti for the last 10 years. Poet/activist John Sinclair this morning he was saddened to hear of Zillifro’s passing. “I've known Stanley since the mid-1960s, when we were both in trouble with the marijuana police and all through the years since the Grande Ballroom and Trans-Love Energies and the years and years since he's been in Ann Arbor.

He always had a joint and a little piece of candy and maybe something more exotic to share with me whenever I saw him, and frequently he would come and see me perform when I was in Detroit or Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti, which is the ultimate mark of a true friend in my little world,” Sinclair said. “Now we'll have to see him again in the spirit world.”

John Sinclair and Madhatter

Sinclair wasn’t the only one with Madhatter memories.“In a scene full of characters, he stood out big time,” said Gary Quackenbush, Ann Arbor-based guitarist for the respected 1960s/70s rock band SRC.

Working the Spots at Elvis Fest 2010

Detroit artist Carl Lundgren, knew The Madhatter for more than 40 years. “He remembered everybody and everything from the ‘60s. He had stories … he was constantly telling me of places that he’d been and things he had done,” Carl Lundgren recalled. “He was a very colorful and a lot of fun.”

Carver spoke highly of Madhatter’s character.

“Stanley was the tough flower child,” he recalled. “He was a champion wrestler as a kid and he grew up on the east side of Detroit. He had a heart of gold, but you couldn’t push him around. You could trust him with anything.

“He was there in the ’60s with the White Panthers at the White Panther house, he spent time in San Francisco on Haight-Ashbury. He’d been there, done that. He was ubiquitous and highly regarded. People trusted him. He knew all the promoters from the old days and his voice has been on several major albums, including the J. Geils’ Band live album ‘Full House.’”

Madhatter with Dave Wakeling of the English Beat

An avid collector of 1960s rock and roll posters, he was active in recent years promoting and hosting shows that featured that style of art.

He was invaluable at the Second Chance and Nectarine both onstage and off, Carver added.

“He was involved in every major show that was put on there, as an emcee or a DJ or as gatekeeper for the dressing room. He knew who to let in and who to keep out. No one got by Stanley. … I think he attained legendary status. Stan kind of tied the rock and roll scene together — he loved the music and he loved the musicians and he loved to make his presence known. He seemed to be everywhere. He had a blast.”

As word of The Madhatter’s death spread, comments came quickly to his Facebook fan page.

Madhatter at Foran's

“He always reminded me of a time when having fun was a political statement. We've lost a friend and the universe has gained an emcee,” wrote Ryan Matthews of Royal Oak.


Retro Kimmer



The Funk Brothers, Motown's famed backing musicians, will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 21 in Los Angeles. Percussionist Jack Ashford and guitarist Eddie Willis, as well as several of the late Funks' family members will be there to bask in the glow of the Tinseltown honor. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity; I couldn't miss this," said Joe Hunter Jr., son of the late pianist Joe Hunter, the first bandleader for Motown's band in 1959. He scraped up the money to fly out with his wife. "Too many people sacrificed to make this happen."

The march of time has depleted the ranks of the Motown band over the years since their 1960's heyday. Most of the Funks were older than the Motown stars they backed up, having come to the "Snakepit" recording studio at 2648 W. Grand Blvd. as seasoned pros from Detroit's vibrant jazz scene.

Hunter had already been touring for years backing up Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Little Willie John and other R&B greats before setting foot in Motown's studio. Several key members of the group were gone well before Allan Slutsky's book about Motown bass legend James Jamerson, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" came out in the late 1980s. Jamerson died, largely unknown, in 1983, and drummer Benny Benjamin had passed on years before that in 1969. FULL STORY HERE
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