Detroit Musicians Tell Us What They're Thankful For 

Turkey, mash, and music.

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving … so let’s proceed to gorge ourselves with food as a display of gratitude to, you know, the Pilgrims. In a non-consumption-oriented display of thanks, we asked several local songsmiths what each is grateful for, how they’ll be celebrating Turkey Day, and how they’d handicap the big game between the Lions and the Packers. Gobble, gobble …

Louie Badalament and 
Kyle Whitefoot, Axe Ripper

We’re thankful for the progress of Axe Ripper, the new songs we’ve been writing. Detroiters should be thankful for lots more than they have to complain about, that’s for sure. Detroit is an art and cultural mecca; with the best rock ’n’ roll all across the board. Anyone who is missing out on our music scene here has to be living under a rock. Also, the revitalization movement is really starting to make an impact in this city. I’m proud and thankful to be from Detroit.
 
On Thanksgiving, we’ll be drinking pumpkin beer and eating Mom’s famous turkey. It’s hard to choose between my mom’s stuffing and turkey, but the beer is my favorite part of the meal. Will the Lions beat the Packers this year? I think the real question is, “Will Judas Priest do a tour this summer?”

Mae Day
This year, I’m thankful for peace of mind. Man, I put out a project (Love & War: All Ain’t Fair) around the end of last year and that thing took a lot out of me. So I’m thankful that I now have my sanity back. Detroiters should be grateful for life. It’s crazy out here. So, if you woke up, God chose to give you another day, another chance, so why not be thankful? Have you seen the news lately? I know it gets hard, sometimes, to see the silver lining, to see the blessing. But, if you woke up, you still have a chance to be great. Be thankful for another chance, and that it ain’t over yet. Not everybody gets another chance. Godspeed. 
 
On Thanksgiving, I’ll hopefully be eating gluttonous amounts of fried turkey and laughing — until my stomach hurts — around great company. Will the Lions beat the Packers this year? Is this a real question?? LIONS, all day, everyday.
 
Rick Ruiner, the Ruiners
This year, I’m thankful for spending the year with my mother, who is in the later stages of ALS, and the many miles of walks we took this summer [while] pushing her in her wheelchair. As for the city, Detroit is blessed to be run by innovators, yet it’s not successful enough financially to be absorbed by faceless, money-grubbing developers — yet. It’s a rare opportunity in history to have an open playing field for creative upstarts in a major city. 
 
This Thanksgiving, I’ll probably end up staying in bed all weekend with Nina [Friday, the Ruiners]. We’ll be pulling a chair up to the table for our cat Lucy to sit and eat with us. She actually seems to appreciate it. The Lions — I’m not sure, I don’t know much about football but I hope both teams win.
 
Margaret Doll Rod
I’m grateful for that feel-good feelin’ I still get when I say, “Oh, yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Bring it on!” Life is good. Detroit should be thankful for the richness that no money can buy.
 
This year, I’ll be doing what ever the good Lord has decided I’ll be doing, and being mighty thankful for the opportunity to do it. I love the part of the meal when everyone around you is smiling and rubbing their bellies. 
 
The Lions? Who cares as long as people still get excited enough to jump up and down and holler about grown men running around a field chasing a man in tight-stuffed knee pants carrying a ball like a baby.
 
Drew Podgorski, Size Queen
This year, I’m thankful for the friends that inspire me and the fact that I can be inspiring. Detroiters should be grateful for legalized medical marijuana (dat stroke weed). Make it legal already!
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be complaining about my hangover and enjoying leftovers. As for the Lions — fuck Green Bay and their cheesy-ass-having cheese hats.”
 
Audra Kubat
This year, I am most thankful that I have been able to survive on my music alone. This year I took a leap of faith and I am doing music full-time, and though it is tight, it is manageable. Detroiters should be thankful that winter comes but once a year.
 
This year, I’ll be breaking a couple-day fast so that I can eat as much as humanly possible! I love the sweet potatoes, stuffing and seeing my relatives passing out on the couch afterwards. Will the Lions win? Well, I’d like to say, “Hell yes” but would be grateful if they at least get our hopes up — and my man Johnson gives us some graceful dives and jumps.

Dana Forrester, Dead in 5
I’m thankful for my band Dead in 5. We’ve been together less than a year and we’re creating the best music of our lives — plus having a blast doing it! Detroit should be thankful for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. I know it’s painful, and a lot of his decisions are unpopular, but it’s time to clean house. The bankruptcy will be a chance for a new start and an opportunity to rebuild this city on a solid foundation.
This year, my hubby, James Trunko, and I will be going to his mother’s house. She’s German, so I’m sure there will be some delicious Deutsch flavors and strong beer! My favorite part of the meal is the turkey, which is just an excuse for the stuffing! The Lions: Our hometown mojo will prevail!
 
Laura Mendoza, Jorge Cortez 
and Joe Leone, White Shag
Cortez: I’m personally thankful that I get to rock out in an awesome band with my girlfriend and one of my best friends. I’m also grateful that we’ve been getting recognition as a band this year and are moving forward, toward our dreams.
 
Mendoza: I would have to agree with Mr. Cortez on that one, but would like to add that I’m also thankful for such supportive family and friends who’ve been helping us along the way.

Leone: I’m thankful for family, true friends, good times and rockin’.

All: Detroiters should be grateful that in a sense, we kinda have a clean slate. We have the opportunity to rebuild this city into something special, unique and even better than it was when it was thriving. If we unite and stay united, we can make that happen. 
 
Tunde Olaniran
This year, I’m thankful for new experiences that have come to me through music; the new Ebony Bones album. The kindness and excitement of everyone I’ve met in Detroit, and the realization that I don’t have to change what I’m doing; that who I am as an artist makes sense to people. Also, mozzarella sticks. Detroiters should be grateful that the world’s beginning to slowly (… SLOOWWWLY) see their city for what it really is — something beyond ruin porn. Just like Flint, Detroit is a crucible for creative solutions to social and economic challenges we’re seeing everywhere, from Philly to Greece to New Zealand.
 
For various reasons, I typically don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in any traditional way. Each year, instead of cooking or gathering with family, I take advantage of the vacation time and clean my home and try to focus on goals for next year. If I happen to be somewhere there’s food, anything cheese-related works for me. Noticing a theme here? I love cheese. 
 
Will the Lions beat the Packers on Thanksgiving this year? … (blank stare) … I got a little distracted reading this question and imagined a pride of lions roaming the [abandoned] Packard plant.
 
Blaire Alise, Blaire Alise & the Bombshells
This year, I’m thankful for the people who work the door at venues that let me in to see my favorite bands even though I’m not technically old enough to get in. Detroiters should be grateful for Sanders Bumpy Cake, cream puffs and hot fudge.
 
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be recuperating from my record release show the night before, having dinner with my family and probably contemplating starting an exercise regime. My fave part of the meal is definitely the cranberry sauce. You know, the kind that probably has red dye No. 40, jiggles and retains the shape of the can when you put it on a plate. Will the Lions win? Umm, who are the Packers again?

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