Old Teddy Roosevelt oughta be angrily looking down and shaking his fist at those who run his Republican Party today. Bill Milliken is sitting up in Traverse City, presumably shaking his head.
Once upon a time, Republicans like these two men were leaders in the conservation and environmental movement. TR, for example, established the U.S. Forest Service more than a century ago, along with more national parks than he could swing his famous big stick at.
William G. Milliken, of course, is widely recognized as the most pro-environment governor Michigan has ever had. Yet today, that spirit is gone. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has just released its latest Michigan Environmental Scorecard, ranking every legislator in the state on a wide range of environmental issues.
Democrats were far from perfect ecological citizens. As the report notes, "in the late hours of the night, just before Christmas 2009, Speaker [Andy] Dillon and Senate Majority Leader [Mike] Bishop worked together to add amendments to a routine pollution prevention bill to actively weaken natural resource protection."
But many of the Dems had far better voting records on the environment than their leaders. And Republicans were almost all far worse than the Democrats — and Bishop, the man who now wants to be state attorney general, is worst of all.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters' ranking is based on a "scorecard" of votes on issues important to the environment. I went over it with Kerry Duggan, the deputy director of the Michigan LCV.
What it shows, she says, was "that inaction in the Senate was the common theme of the legislative session. Numerous bills were passed in the state House to protect Michigan citizens and children from toxic substances like mercury, arsenic and lindane. But none of the bills saw the light of day in the Senate."
Why? Mike Bishop — who scored a perfect zero for his environmental record — prevented any of the pro-environment bills passed by the House from coming up for a vote.
"Most of the time spent by the Senate on conservation and environmental issues was spent trying to dismantle environmental protections," Duggan says.
There were a lot of legislators who received a perfect score on voting for the environment — 32 of the 110 members of the House; 11 of the 38 state senators. But three state representatives voted against the environment every time — including Tom McMillin, the Rochester Hills Republican known mainly for his anti-gay positions. Nine GOP senators also were perfectly horrible. In fact, the highest score any Republican received was 50 percent — Sharon Tyler, a state rep from Niles.
The lowest score any Democrat registered was 44 percent — notched by Doug Bennett of Muskegon Township. A couple of other Democrats tied Tyler; the rest were all more environmentally friendly. That may make some think the LCV is some kind of front for the Democratic Party — something some GOP politicians would claim. But William and Helen Milliken are its honorary co-chairs, and former GOP congressman Joe Schwarz is a board member. Additionally, the immediate past president is William Farr, who was once the Michigan GOP's nominee for state attorney general.
LCV officials know their best chances of success come when they can be bipartisan. But they are more concerned that, as the Michigan Environmental Scorecard points out, Michigan's elected officials "too often have picked short-sighted policies that put our natural resources in danger."
Worst of all, according to the report: more and more dirty, coal-fired power plants; permitting "poorly regulated factory farms that dump mammoth quantities of manure into our lakes"; and continuing to export and sell Great Lakes water to bottling firms who ship it far away.
It doesn't have to be like this, the report accompanying the scorecard notes. Other states have enacted strong clean-energy policies, assured long-term adequate funding for habitat protection and clean water. "These states are attracting new businesses and stimulating the economy," while Michigan flounders.
Kerry Duggan, who grew up in Farmington Hills, is only 31. But she told me that she had been interested for years "in why lawmakers, especially in Michigan, do not vote in ways to protect Michigan's core assets — especially when we are talking about places where they and their families" go for recreation.
Duggan had been working for the League of Conservation Voters in Washington, D.C., where, a couple years ago, she helped vet the various presidential candidates' environmental stands. But she came back last year to help raise awareness in her home state.
"Citizens expect that lawmakers will vote in ways that protect our natural resources," she says. "Unfortunately, politics gets in the way of logic." She sees her job as shedding light on the good, bad, and ugly regarding votes in Lansing. That's why the scorecard exists.
Don't you wish somebody had published one that would have drawn attention to offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?
For the full text of the Michigan LCV scorecard, including every legislator's individual score, see michiganlcv.org.
Why not just deport them? It has been largely entertaining to watch what will probably be the final months of state Sen. Bruce Patterson's colorful political career. Colorful, of course, is a polite term for bizarre. Patterson, a term-limited Republican from the trackless wastes of Canton, has sometimes sensibly opposed the poisonous policies and strong-arm tactics of his leader, Majority Leader Bishop. But last week, some parts of Brucie's brain seemed to have locked up.
Forgetting about that pesky thing called the First Amendment, Patterson has introduced a bill that would have reporters be licensed by Lansing. According to MIRS, the Michigan Information and Research Service, he wants to add reporters to the list of occupations regulated by the state.
The idea is that "legitimate" reporters would prove their credentials, pay a fee, and then become a "Michigan Registered Reporter," something he suggests ought to be added to their byline.
My guess is that Old Bruce means well. He said that a lot of reporters don't really understand what's going on in Lansing, and nobody can dispute that. But his bill is a bad one.
Journalists know that the entire concept of freedom of the press depends on us not being licensed by government. Because if we start letting government determine who is a "licensed reporter," it's a short step to allowing them to decide who can no longer write and publish. And then you can kiss your democracy goodbye. At any rate, I don't know any reporter who could meet Patterson's standard, since it includes a requirement that we be of "good moral character."
However, I wouldn't worry much about his bill ever seeing the light of day. His non-buddy Mike Bishop doesn't like us either, but Patterson's bill would charge us a fee, and Iron Mike has decreed that he will prevent the state from collecting any revenue, no matter what.
Ain't democracy grand?
Hot dog! — Gourmet hot dogs? It would have been a punch line a decade ago, but today, with comfort food ascendant and fine diners wary of expenses, it just could be a winning recipe. And this new dog stand, in the old location of Good Girls crêperie, offers dogs for all appetites, including Cleveland-style Polish boys, slaw dogs, Italian sausage, hot-and-spicy, all-American and New York-style. What? No coney dogs? Drop in for a taste, at 2 E. John R, Detroit; 313-646-8055.
Royal thanks — BlackFinn, a Metro Times Best of Detroit winner, wants to thank its customers by celebrating its second anniversary this week. The party starts at lunch and goes into the night, with specials, prizes and giveaways. It all happens Saturday, May 29, at 530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9466.
Morel support — Haven't had any morels this spring? Don't despair. Shiraz is offering their 23rd annual morel feast, with morel bisques, morel-infused seafood, sautéed morels and more. It starts at 7 p.m. May 27-29, at 30100 Telegraph Rd., Bingham Farms; $50 plus tax, tip and drinks; reservations at 248-645-5289.
You needn't be a tree hugger to appreciate Alice Waters' In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart (Clarkson Potter, $28). This is all about less reliance on food processors and other electronic kitchen tools and instead using techniques and utensils that save energy and eliminate the use of disposable products that waste valuable resources. Combine simple food preparation methods with sustainable, local, organic, seasonable ingredients for results that taste like real food while helping save the planet.
Sailors once had to swim to the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands and you'll still find the line where the bartender hangs sodden money with clothes pegs to dry. It was here that the creamy and tropical Painkiller Cocktail was conceived. It's a blend of dark rum (we used Gosling's Black Seal), pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut cream and a seductive garnish of fresh ground nutmeg. It's ideal for sipping in the humidity of summer while you imagine your backyard deck overlooks the Caribbean Sea.
Duplicating the Chinese food served at restaurants is difficult at home due to the lack of heat produced by conventional stoves. A solution, in addition to the one suggested by Raymond Wong in last week's Grilled, is to use a flat-bottomed wok. Our research led us to the 35-year-old, family-owned Wok Shop in San Francisco's Chinatown, where Tane Chan advised us that the classic iron wok with a black enameled exterior will retain high heat, thus cooking quickly while imparting "wok hee" or flavor. See wokshop.com.
Know of fun upcoming food events? Let us know! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sounds like: Solid, party-kid-tested Detroit techno from a mega-promoter turned meta-producer who knows how to throw a party (Sunday night's "I ©? You But I've Chosen Techno" afterparty at the Works with SF's Claude Vonstroke) as much as spin one, as his work on his two-year-old Detek label and crew prove. It's a long way from throwing raves under the Ambassador Bridge with Rabbit in the Moon, but Gabe — and next-gen Detroit party kids — wouldn't have it any other way.
Danceable? Hell, yeah — and watchable too: Detek's VJ VGER chops up the visuals for Gabe's set.
When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 3-4 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.
From: Berlin via Detroit
Sounds like: Progressive house from the First Lady of Detroit Techno. Hand's Acacia Records is one of the oldest (and only) female-owned labels in the usual "lads'" club of veteran producers and DJs. Seriously funky, in a kind of get-in-your-head-and-dare-you-not-to-like-it way.
Danceable: If her newly remastered "These Sounds Lead the Way" is any indication, yes. Prog house tends to favor lots of solid colors; Hand's kaleidoscopic rhythm programming on this track makes it sound like it's sprouting wings and taking the whole dance floor on an aerial tour of Hart Plaza.
When: DJ Set, Sunday, May 30, 5:30-7 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.
From: Detroit and neighboring cities, mostly suburbs where strippers
Sounds like: The prodigal ghetto tech Heathcliff son of Detroit Techno's Wuthering Heights returning more mash-up remix, electro-house, sexy-party shit than ever before — and still not getting a lot of respect. Eh, fuck 'em. Godfather and his electrobounce.com crew release some 50 tracks a month; his newest is a fist-pumpin' remix of DJ Laz and Pittbull's "I'm Not an Alcoholic."
Danceable? Godfather's set will include the livest, raunchiest, most recognizable party jams of Movement — "techno" for people who don't necessarily like techno, but love-love-love to party. "Strings of Life," it ain't; amazin' bass-heavy booty jams it is. As Godfather puts it, "Nobody does it better."
When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 4-5 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
From: Detroit suburbia
Sounds like: Detroit techno nurturing a truly global phenomenon in a single career. Deason's own releases (five albums' worth) on his Matrix label, as well as mentoring newer artists from Pittsburgh to Poland, show regular updates to the classic Detroit sound — wistful synth strings, poetic hi-hat and percussion patterns, sweeping melodies and artfully bangin'
Danceable? "With my archaic knowledge of all things electronic, I will be playing selections from my 25-plus years of vinyl collecting, including some pre-techno electronic tunes you didn't know existed as well as those you may have forgotten how much you loved," Deason says.
When: DJ set Monday, May 31, 3:30-5 p.m., Main Stage.
From: Frankurt, Germany
Sounds like: Techno as somehow epic and intimate cinema for the soul as only two Germans as into yoga as they are — and into their blips and blurps and tone and knobs — can make.
Danceable? Their 2008 album, The Sun & the Neon Light, and the tasteful, restraint of their new More! albums show how Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier embrace the contradictions of their adopted genre with aplomb, maybe even with a sense of humor. Their 2007 Movement set was techno-as-afternoon-delight. Expect this year's headliner set to be a peak-hour romp followed by a post-coital midnight snack.
When: Live Set Monday, May 31, 10:30-12 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
Sounds like: Deep, deep house, done Detroit-style, which means lots of vintage synth peering over deadpan disco rhythms that work heads and hearts. Minx says she's working on remixes of the moody anthem "Tha D" with producer Pirahnahead, as well as the new "Twilight" with vocalist Diviniti, that's as decent a slab of soul at 135 bpm as Detroit's produced lately.
Danceable? As the prime mover of the attitude-and-estrogen-not-necessarily-in-that-order female DJ collective WomenOnWax (W.O.W), Minx is long a Movement favorite for her tasteful take on a sound that's uplifting without getting a cramp from keeping its hands in the air too long. Expect to hear the deep, grinning churn of artists like the Groove Assassins, Yass and Muthafunkaz delivered in a way that won't leave you too wiped-out to look forward to the rest of your night.
When: DJ set, Monday, May 31, 8:30-9 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.
From: Detroit suburbia
Sounds like: Detroit Techno's first, best and arguably only original live act returning to form to deliver a career retrospective of the genre's biggest hits, which, coincidentally, are theirs, including "Good Life" and "Big Fun."
Danceable? Led by maestro Kevin Saunderson (no word on whether his guitar synth is back in the fold) and his wife Ann, singer Paris Grey, original IC keyboard player Tommy Onyx and drummer Eric Hoegemeyer (Charm Farm, dBass), this is pretty much the same lineup that headlined stadiums in Europe when the Detroit sound first broke worldwide 20 years ago. So the answer's a mad-for-it "Yeah!"
When: Live set, Sunday, May 30, 11 p.m.-midnight, Vitamin Water Stage.
From: New Zealand via Detroit via Ann Arbor
Sounds like: Organic post-techno funk capable of pushing into the hazy P-Funk extremes of such artists as Amp Fiddler and the jazzy, downtempo house of Mark de Clive-Lowe. Rec's last disc, 2009's Perfect Timing felt like a lazy Sunday house party anywhere in the world you'd want to be, peppered with reggae-tinged soul singers such as Joe Duke and Tyna.
Danceable? With a two-hour set Sunday, Recloose has time to show how deep his crates are, and, really, his just-so-in-love-with-the-music vibe (dude used to get mad if you called him a funky nerd, but the shoe fit). Carl Craig described the first DEMF as "serenading the Renaissance Center." Recloose serenades the rest of Detroit and its music history.
When: DJ set, Sunday, May 30, 2-4 p.m., Vitamin Water Stage.
KRAAK & SMACK
From: The Netherlands
Sounds like: The warm, sample-based electronic funk that made us (and advertising music supervisors) fall in love with such acts as the Chemical Brothers, Moby, Fatboy Slim and Propellerheads back in the day — complete with a super-cool flipbook video for their breakout hit "Money in the Bag."
Danceable? This Dutch trio is better known as a live act (they fared better in front of the indie masses at Coachella last year than Plastikman did this year), which is to say they actually have enough of their own songs and remixes to hold down a DJ set and then some.
When: DJ set, Sunday, May 30, 8-9:30 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
From: Montreal by way of Brooklyn
Sounds like: The world's greatest teen scratch prodigy and Kanye West's DJ growing up to be one of the world's greatest party DJs, with a label (Fool's Gold) to prove it. That is, if his free, just-for-the-helluvit "Dirty South" mixtape he's giving away right now doesn't throw you.
Danceable: Eminently and Eminemly. A-Trak's maturation from hip-hop into hipster electrohouse means he can make Dilla, LCD Soundsystem, Caribou and Scissor Sisters work in a single set.
When: DJ Set, Saturday, May 29, 9-10:30 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
PHAT KAT AND GUILTY SIMPSON WITH THE WILL SESSIONS BAND
From: Detroit-born, Detroit-bred, Malcolm X's in city of Detroit Reds
Sounds like: Two of Detroit's best and hardest emcees and protégés of Detroit hip-hop legend J Dilla team up with horn god Will Sessions' band of ringers (Mayer Hawthorne, etc.) to deliver Movement's most quintessential Deee-troit hip-hop experience to date.
Danceable? Each emcee is a formidable lyrical heavyweight and commanding presence and has worked with Sessions before. But together? Legend has it, Dilla had Guilty rhyme over his "Cold Steel" beat back in 2002, though the track was promised to and ultimately released by Phat Kat. If they do it Sunday, Hart Plaza will be like a huge satellite dish for all heaven breaking loose for Dilla to smile down from.
When: Live set, Sunday, May 30, 7-8 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
Sounds like: A one-time Kanye West protégé who's also worked with with A-Trak, which explains how she can straddle the line between hipster electro-house, '90s dance-pop and classic "Ladies First" '80s hip-hop — and do it while wearing oversized sweaters and leggings.
Danceable? Utterly. With a live band; bring a change of clothing.
When: Live set, Sunday, May 30, 6-7 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
STARSKI & CLUTCH
Sounds like: Detroit's musical odd couple — local-hero label owner and Family Funktionary Brian Gillespie and world-renowned Ypsi bleep genius Todd Osborne with the gifts of gear from Aphex Twin to prove it — teaming up to release backyard barbecue jams of booty electro reimagined ever so slightly through a tweaked IDM prism.
Danceable? Gillespie and Osborne are each super-accomplished DJs in their own rights; spinning together such S&C cuts as "Do It," "Work It, Shake It" and "Belle Isle Players" sounds like lost anthems of another time and another Detroit. Expect special Movement-exclusive edits and mixes. As Gillespie says, "Ain't no party like a Detroit booty-shakin' party." Start strippin', y'all.
When: DJ set, Sunday May 30, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
Sounds like: Wilhite's could be called a more ambitious, techno-sized take on the better-at-a-smaller-club Detroit house sound. His breezy keys, clipped vocals and the occasional synth-stab drama put him in the company of such local legends as 3 Chairs mates Kenny Dixon Jr. and Theo Parrish. Call it house music for grown-ups still in touch with their inner children.
Danceable: Put it this way, John Maclean (DFA), the guy who helped invent electroclash and is now looking for inspiration after its decline, included Wilhite's classic "Get on Up!" not once, but twice on his unexpectedly techno- and house-inspired !K7 DJ-Kicks mix last month.
When: DJ set, Saturday, May 29, 7:30-9 p.m., Made in Detroit stage.
ANTHONY "SHAKE" SHAKIR
Sounds like: A techno titan from the old west side school (and we're not just talking Cooley High), "Shake" was equally inspired by Marvin Gaye, 1970s hip hop and disco, and the shimmery electro-pop of the early 1980s. His homemade Frictional catalogue was recently remastered and rereleased in a gorgeous package — CD and vinyl — by Amsterdam's Rush Hour Records. His career is seeing a resurgence, despite a diagnosis of MS (in 2000) that has slowed his production and performance schedule the last 10 years.
Danceable? Pssst: We heard it is — through the grapevine.
When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 7 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage
From: Paris, France
Sounds like: House group with new killer mix of mostly original works on Berlin's Watergate label, this quirky trio uses saxophone, keyboards, electronic programming and Heaven 17ish vocals to bring frolic to a sometimes over-serious genre. Highly anticipated debut LP in the works for later this year.
Danceable? Bring your best Motor City soft shoe!
When: Live set Monday, May 31, 5 p.m., Beatport Stage.
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Sounds like: An aqua-crunky, sniveling ambitious little shit with attitude, mixing real vinyl and destroying turntables since he was 15. All over the place on the happy hardcore vs. wonky vs. UK funky continuum. Signed with legendary Sheffield-originated now London-based Warp Records. A clever programming diversion in otherwise techno-heavy lineup.
Danceable? If you dig running in place or running your mouth after swilling gallons of high-alcohol-content beer.
When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 5 p.m., Red Bull.
From: Hamburg, Germany
Sounds like: Ambient house, weirdo techno, abstract hip hop, glammy Euro-pop coming from the POV of a chill, northern soul. Member of International Pony and aka Adolph Noise, his contributions to the golden era of Playhouse and Kompakt (2003-2007) have stood the test of multiple good times — whether you remember them or not.
Danceable? Sure is, but Koze can invade your REM sleep just as easily with his pop-ambient modern-classical digital ballads. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
When: DJ set Monday, May 31, 5 p.m., Red Bull.
From: Memphis (originally Chicago)
Sounds like: The godfather of gospel house, a tasty blender of jazz, disco and Motown inspirations. His reign of spiritual love stretches from associations with Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy on Chitown's south side to Diviniti on Detroit's west side. His hands are some of the most famous in the electronic music pantheon. They don't call him "Mr. Fingers" for nothin'.
Danceable? Since around 1985.
When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 6 p.m. Vitamin Water Stage.
From: Suburban Washington, D.C. (originally from the Netherlands)
Sounds like: A tall Dutch, drum 'n' bass kid who keeps adding and subtracting influences, including UK Garage and jungle, West Coast stoner hip hop, Midwest house and techno until all becomes self-described "Martyn music." He's been on a roll since 2007, when he launched his own 3024 imprint.
Danceable? He often changes tempos and styles mid-set. Give the body up ...
When: DJ set Saturday, May 29, 6 p.m., Red Bull Stage.
From: Detroit, now Alabama
Sounds like: The original minimal man, the real deal as opposed to so many charlatans, weak and forgettably fucked-up copyists of the past decade. His theory of reducing dance music to mere essences of rhythm and sound helped change the course of techno 20 years ago when he joined Mike Banks and Jeff Mills in Underground Resistance. His impact on sonic culture cannot be underestimated. New LP, Omega, out in June.
Danceable? C'mon, if you need to ask, we might have to kill you.
When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 10 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.
Sounds like: What doesn't it sound like? The man mixes seemingly incongruous sounds better than anyone on the planet. Who wouldn't groove to Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Moodymann back to back to back? Maybe throw in a Radiohead curveball to come up for air, then go even deeper with a nugget from the Chicago acid era or one of his own Sound Signature productions.
Danceable? Over, under, sideways, down. That's a yes.
When: DJ set Saturday, May 29, 9 p.m. Made in Detroit Stage.
Paul Revere & the Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay
The Complete Columbia Singles
It has to be those silly Revolutionary War outfits. That's the only conceivable reason why, especially in retrospect, Paul Revere & the Raiders haven't been accorded the respect they deserve as a terrific rock 'n' roll band. Not that we care that much about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But these guys have unjustifiably never even been nominated.
And yet, they were one of the prototypical great '60s garage rock groups, at the forefront of the much-lauded mid-'60s Northwest "punk/garage" scene — the first single on this new anthology, in fact, is their rendition of "Louie, Louie," which every band from that area seemed to have in their repertoire at the time; there's also a version of "Louie, Louie" composer Richard Berry's "Have Love, Will Travel," immortalized by Seattleites the Sonics. And then Columbia hooked the group up with staff producer Terry Melcher, Doris Day's son who'd later produce the Byrds' greatest hits (and even later was Charles Manson's primary intended victim/adversary)... and from 1965 into the beginning of the following decade, the rest was pop-rock glory and history. The Raiders were one of the bigger American units in the face of the British Invasion — their name was more than coincidental in this context — teen magazine heroes who could deliver the rock onstage, as their concerts and numerous TV appearances (including hosting Dick Clark's daily teen variety show, Where the Action Is) proved. But those damn suits ... !
The band was full of colorful characters, including organist Revere leading two different lineups that featured cool guys (and excellent musicians) with names like Smitty and Fang. Freddy Weller, a member of the second version of the band, would later become a country music star. But the real secret weapon was always heartthrob Lindsay's lead vocals, a blend of punk ("Steppin' Out" is a growlin' vocal lesson in the form) and melodic, hook-driven pop that took hits like "Kicks," "Just Like Me," "Hungry" and "Good Thing" to the top of the charts. "Him or Me — What's It Gonna Be?" later superbly covered by the Flamin' Groovies during the height of '70s punk, was a sonic roar that sounded like nothing else on the radio at the time.
This three-disc set includes the A and B-sides of every Raiders 45 released by CBS from '63 (pre-Beatles) through 1975, although the hits dried up following 1971's No. 1 smash, "Indian Reservation." (Lindsay would later score two solo hits of his own, including the well-known "Arizona," which, alas, wasn't about immigration idiocy.) Not that the records lost anything in quality during the '70s, as the band covered obscurities by the likes of Jimmy Webb and Dylan alongside their own original compositions. There's maybe a little bit too much here for casual fans but archivists and completists will surely adore this collection.
Just how little respect this band continues to receive in retrospect is also illustrated by Lindsay's upcoming local appearance on the "Happy Together" tour being listed as "& Others" (as opposed to his name) under the headliners in newspaper ads for the show. Lindsay only tours every so often — to "keep in touch with the fans and let them know I'm well," he said onstage 20 years ago, also on a bill with Turtles and Zappa frontmen (and T. Rex and Springsteen background vocalist), the great Flo & Eddie. We're betting money, though, that he's only improved with time.
Mark Lindsay plays Sunday, May 30, at DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; 248-377-0100. With Flo & Eddie, Micky Dolenz, the Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill, and the Buckinghams.
Twenty-seven batters up, 27 batters down. That, my friends, is baseball's perfect game. Taking the no-hitter to the ultimate height is one of the rarest accomplishments in sports. In fact, since 1880 there have been only 19 perfect games in major league baseball. Oakland A's starting pitcher (and Alex Rodriguez's best friend) Dallas Braden is the most recent perfect ball-thrower. Strangely enough, Braden's only No. 2 in annual salary for 2010 perfect-game pitchers. (Braden will make $420,000 this year.) So if a pro ballplayer is No. 2, who's No. 1?
Um ... that would be this guy Wade McGilberry, 24, of Mobile, Ala. See, he pocketed a cool million for pitching the first-ever documented perfect game in 2K Sports recent MLB 2k10. Though the unprecedented million-dollar challenge, put on by 2K Sports, to pitch a perfect game ran from March 2 to May 1 this year, McGilberry nailed perfection on the first day, filming himself during the entirety of the game to ensure fair play. Not bad for a feat that was previously thought unreachable.
Metro Times: First things first, what team and starting pitcher?
Wade McGilberry: I used the Atlanta Braves, and I used Kenshin Kawakami.
MT: A perfect game isn't a no-hitter; did you strike out the entire lineup? Or did your fielders save you a couple times?
McGilberry: No, actually I only got four or five strikeouts the entire time. Mainly it was just a whole bunch of ground-ball outs.
MT: That's crazy, because I gave it a shot, and I got to fourth inning, and I just got lit up. Still, when real pitchers are in the midst of a perfect game, they get into a zone, and, sure, it's a video game, but it had to be stressful.
McGilberry: Oh yeah, it was. There were some very clutch moments. Near the end, there were a few fly balls that my outfielders just barely got to. There was one that got to the warning track that scared me; there was a lot of stuff going on.
MT: Do you have a job? Family?
McGilberry: Well, me and my wife Katie just got married last year. I graduated two years ago, and I'm a reconciliation specialist for a 401K record-keeping company. Katie and I both have accounting degrees from University of South Alabama, and she works at a CPA firm.
MT: So this is a nice little setup for the future. So what was the look on your family's face when you told them you won a million dollars because you kicked ass at a video game?
McGilberry: They were shocked. My parents couldn't believe it, and they're still in shock now. As much as it is for us, I'm still having a hard time believing it. And I'm in New York City; looking around, it's just crazy — and all going by so fast.
MT: I bet. One day you're playing a video game and then, here you are: a millionaire. What's next?
McGilberry: Well the first thing is, we're going to be paying off the mortgage on our house. That was No. 1 on our list. We wanted to start a family, once we got our finances in order, so now we can actually work on having some kids.
MT: So you guys are going to keep your jobs then?
McGilberry: Right, I don't think it's going to change us, you know, we'll have our house paid off, and we'll be more financially set. I don't think it's really going to change us.
MT: So anyone come out and hit you up for money yet?
McGilberry: No one yet, but I did have another reporter ask for $10.
MT: Really, so I guess giving me $20 is out of the question huh?
McGilberry: [laughs nervously]
So many parties, so little time, to skewer an old cliché. Movement is organized insanity and then multiplied — but at least it's all taking place in one central location at Hart Plaza. The after-party scene is another animal entirely and even harder to tame. So we recommend you don't even try. Simply map out where you want to go and when you need to get there by. Everything should work out fine then, if you make the right choices. Plus, getting in some naps along the way is generally most helpful. Drink plenty of fluids, dance the night away and then we'll see you in the morning.
So here's MT's annual selective list of cool off-site parties and other events worth seeking out. Newcomers to the festival or to Detroit should take note that mass transit improvements are on the way ... but likely won't get here until 2015 or so. That doesn't help you get around from the riverfront to your club or gallery destination in Corktown or Midtown in 2010, though. In other words, cars are pretty essential here, although you might think about renting a bicycle at Wheelhouse Detroit (wheelhousedetroit.com, 1340 Atwater St., just east of the Renaissance Center) for casual touring around downtown.
The best place to start off techno weekend proper is ... at the movies! Say what? That's right, chief. You may want to start queuing up now for a program that includes Fritz Lang's Metropolis (with pre-recorded soundtrack by Jeff Mills); Timeless Suite for Ma Dukes (featuring the music of Detroit's late, great James "J Dilla" Yancey); and The Drive Home: The Story of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, the latter produced by Detroit's Pilot Pictures and Hogpath. If that weren't enough, there will also be a live performance by UR's Timeline, featuring Mike Banks. Whoa! And it's all free. The whole thing is titled "2010: A Detroit Odyssey" and it's brought to you courtesy of Planet E, the Carl Craig Foundation and newly formed Detroit Techno Foundation. Friday, May 28, at the Music Hall, 350 Madison Street, Detroit. It starts at 7 p.m. and goes until midnight.
From there you can just walk over to Yel3, the site of the official Movement pre-party, featuring Speedy J doing a hair-raising five-hour set in the main room; the second floor provides escape and comfort via Matthew Hawtin's ambient waveforms, while Ann Arbor-based Spectral Sound holds down the club known as the Shelter in the basement for its 10-year anniversary shebang. Expect a lunatic fringe led by Matthew Dear, Ryan Elliott, Seth Troxler, Lee Curtiss (live) and Birds & Souls (also live) to rule by force. St. Andrew's Hall is at 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $10.
Two more Friday parties have world-class pedigree: Baretta Music presents a rare local appearance by Conant Gardens' funky house minimalist, Omar S. Also on hand: Reference (Luke Hess and Brian Kage), Arthur Oskan, Keith Kemp, Kevin Reynolds and more at 10 Critics, 1400 Porter St., Detroit; $10. And Chicago's Smart Bar sneaks into town to bring Berlin's Ellen Allien, along with special guests Stimming (live), Patrick Russell, Aran Daniels and Nate Manic to the Majestic Theatre, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $20.
On Saturday, even more Berlin-style good times await at Centre St. Lounge (311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit), where Berghain residents Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann lead a pack of wild animals, including former Detroiter Daniel Bell, NYC's Levon Vincent, San Fran's Alland Byallo and Nikola Baytala plus more. It's $20 early; $25 late.
And then more West Coast styles with Detroit accents are available at the Works (1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit), where another San Franciscan, Claude VonStroke, heads a lineup that includes Bruno Pronsato (of Berlin via Seattle), Konrad Black (Berlin via Vancouver), London-based Tim Green, the ubiquitous Troxler and others. That's $30. Not Detroit enough for you? Then 1515 Broadway is your spot. A lineup of Theo Parrish, Kai Alce and Larry Heard sound good to you? It sure does to us. The gallery is at, duh, 1515 Broadway, Detroit; $20.
Sunday's "shittiest" party — at least as intended and self-proclaimed — should be the cleverly named Shit Show at the TV Lounge (2548 Grand River Ave., Detroit), where 20 DJs and live performers will yank your chain for almost 20 hours, beginning at 3 a.m. and ending the following evening at 10 p.m. Show up to see Downriver's Derek Plaslaiko (now rocking the Bunker in NYC), Boston's Soul Clap, Le Loup (Paris), Spectral's Todd Osborne, Kyle Hall (FXHE/Hyperdub/NonPlus+/Wild Oats) and Darkcube (live). Hot on that party's heels in the same venue comes Resolute, a Vacant and Dumb-Unit Showcase, starting at 11 p.m. Performers include Alex Smoke (live), Jeremy P. Caulfield, Dario Zenker, Alexi Delano + Camea and Ghostly's Kate Simko.
Last year's Boat Party was one of the highlights of the 2009 after-party scene. If you could get on the boat, that is. This year's river cruise should be an equally tough ticket, what with Ricardo Villalobos on board. Also adding to the high demand of the cruise will be performances by Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen and Panoramabar's Cassy. Details including departure time, cost of tickets and how to get them can be found at: tinyurl.com/38v53g6. Good luck and bon voyage!
If you'd prefer to do your partying on land, however, a lovely alternative is Moodymann's Soul Skate at the Northland Roller Skating Center (22311 W. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit). Free soul food is included with the $15 admission. Can't beat that, baby.
But are there any parties on Monday? Of course, there are parties in Detroit on Monday! Need I Say More Part 5 returns to the scene of earlier crimes at the Old Miami (3930 Cass Ave., Detroit). Party favors will be provided by Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves, Matt Toffrey, Masomenos, Bill Patrick, Troxler and Lee Curtiss. It's $10. Then back at the Works, check in on Fuk the Aristocrats, starring Bryan Zentz, John Selway, Dustin Zahn, Drumcell, Phoenicia, Kero vs. Corbin and more. If you still have $20 in your pocket, go for it. What else do you have to do on a Tuesday anyway?
Last but surely not least, disco-punk hippies will be delighted to hear that DJ Harvey is in town to mix it up at the TV Lounge. He's likely to play anything, especially if it's on his own Black Cock Records, which began issuing pirate productions and edits way back in 1995. (P.S. Some of those records are available at Detroit Threads (10238 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck) which has extended hours all weekend and will host special in-store DJ guests, including Pirahnahead, the Blackman, Aaron-Carl, Andy Garcia and more still to be announced. Best of all: It's free, man.)
Oy! What a last couple years it's been for Brian Burton and James Mercer.
Mercer, one of current pop music's better lyricists, is the founder of the Shins. Darlings of the Sub Pop imprint for nearly a decade, in 2008, Mercer took the fate of his band in his hands (as if it hadn't always been) and left Sub Pop for his own record label, Aural Apothecary. A year later, in a move still clouded in discreet drama, Mercer fired keyboardist Martin Randall and drummer Jesse Sandoval, replacing them with Ron Lewis and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and Black Heart Procession.
Until further notice, the Shins are on hold and any future music will be made with dorm room DJ-turned-Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist and producer Burton, who first crept into the scene as Danger Mouse. Together, the pair comprises Broken Bells, a dreamy, almost downtempo effort of pop done darkly.
The incidental release and ruckus reception of the Grey Album is what initially put Burton on the international scene. Producing records — some of them signature — for MF Doom, Beck, the Black Keys, Gorillaz and Sparklehorse (the latter the lifetime project from the beautifully beleaguered Mark Linkous, who took his life in March) have made Danger Mouse a sonic commodity. But Gnarls Barkley, Burton's "Crazy" collaboration with ex-Goodie Mob emcee Cee Lo Green, transformed him into a living legend. The dude does not rest.
Broken Bells is wrought with therapy — beats that'll make your head bob are matched with loopy melodies set to weary stanzas. These guys are working shit out together.
1. Metro Times: Broken Bells is quite the unlikely summer release, and its single, "High Road," quite the dubious summer jam, eh?
Brian Burton: Right, yes. I wouldn't have thought it to be a summer record either. But if that's what it can make its way into being, then that's cool too. I think anytime an album can feel right throughout the year, no matter what season it is, I'm down for that. I know how it goes, though — sometimes you get a record and play it a lot for a certain period of time, then you move on from it. But when you hear it again, it brings you back to that place and time. That's cool. That's kind of the goal.
There's definitely a deliberate thing that was happening when James and I were getting toward the end of recording. We really wanted to put songs on the record that fit together so that you weren't pulled out of the dream, so to speak. I think a lot of the records I've done in the past, there's always a song or two that are really weird or just really different from the rest, so they sorta stand out. I wanted to make a record that didn't have any of those, but instead just stayed in a certain place so that whoever was listening to it could also stay in that place.
2. MT: I know you listen to a lot of different music. Does the style of music you listen to affect the music you make?
Burton: Not recently. I think I was more affected early on, because I was discovering so much, just taking in a whole bunch of music. Now, sounds don't seem that new, which doesn't mean that they're not great or that I don't like them, but that they're no longer a shock to my system. And a lot of the music I hear these days is better than the stuff that originally did shock my system. Weird how that works. When I hear something that I really like, it still has some sort of effect. Maybe it's like a learning curve. I mean, I listen to and can appreciate more music now than I ever have before, but that's due to exposure. I'm just not as fascinated by the sparks. For me, it's about what stays with you after it's all over.
3. MT: Lasting quality over immediate impact?
Burton: I think that started to be the focus just in the last couple years with music I've done. I had to concentrate on making sure that was a big part of what was being done — that it's not just style, it's substance. Style changes all the time. I guess you could say that I've never really been any one style, personally, and I don't think I'm part of any real trend or have ever been concerned with what sound is "in" or "out," so to speak. If I were concerned with what sound was in, I don't think I'd do very well.
4. MT: You've commented on the cinematic quality of the music you make. Perhaps no other album of yours emanates those tones more than Broken Bells.
Burton: I think it's a very visual record. I think it's important for the music I make or am involved in making to contain that feel. It doesn't really matter who the singer is — not to say they're not important because they're the most important part of the whole thing — it's just that the way I experience making music as an art form is that I like to be taken somewhere, to have to visualize things. I think most of the music I make could be heard as cinematic. You should be taken someplace else. There are some deliberate choices you can make in the studio to make sure that happens, when recording or writing songs. Where the vocals are placed, when certain instruments come in or are cut out, what parts are made to stick out, what song is first or last on the record — all of that dictates what kind of journey you go on when listening. If you get it right, you can go down that road whenever you put the record on.
I've been talked to about a bunch of times [about scoring a movie], and it's always been something I've thought I wanted to do. Early on, in the dorm room days, when I first started making music, I felt it all sounded like fake soundtracks. I've only ever really seriously started thinking about it recently though, now that I feel I have a good grasp. I feel capable of writing parts for certain scenes, writing parts for different instruments. It's not something I'd ever want to do as a full-time thing, but doing one here and there could be cool, if it was the right project with the right director.
5. MT: You've made a name for yourself as a collaborator. Is there a Detroit musician you'd be keen on collaborating with?
Burton: One of the musicians I've already done some stuff with [on Sparklehorse's Dark Night of the Soul LP] and that I might do more with in the future is Iggy. I first met Iggy in 2004. It was my first year of living in Los Angeles. I was booked to play a show with Iggy and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at this place downtown. I was still in some legal trouble with the Grey Album [his infamous Beatles mash-ups]. When Iggy came up to me, he told how he'd really wanted to meet me, and that he and others in his circle felt I was wrongly being messed with [over the Beatles controversy], and that if I ever needed anything, he'd be there. He was really nice, man. It turned out that he meant it all too. We see each other at festivals. We've made it a point to keep up.
Mark Linkous and I put the music together for the track and after Iggy heard it, I flew down to his home in Miami to record the vocals. I won't get into what happened in those sessions, but I'll tell you that it was definitely a very good experience, enough to say that we want to do more in some kind of way down the road.
At 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, at St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-MELT.
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