Well, the last few weeks at “Hit Singles” have been rather melancholic, and two recent deaths of local musicians put a sad, gray hue on an already darkening autumn.
First, Diegrinder guitarist Steve Kapo died suddenly on Nov. 19 from a heart attack. The young guitarist (he was 30) had a heart condition; he leaves behind his wife and a 5-year-old son. A show to benefit his family and celebrate his life is happening this Friday, Dec. 5, at the Hayloft Liquor Stand (140 N. Main St., Mount Clemens; call 586-468-1010). Bands scheduled to perform include Last, Superhero, Deaf Go Blind, Proper Villains, Ray Street Park and Super TC. The show is 18 and up. Donations for his family can be mailed to:
The Kapo Family
c/o Robin Montagne
Roseville, MI 48066
Make checks payable to: Tonya R. Montagne. Go to www.diegrinder.net for more info.
Guitarist Craig Peters died last week in Detroit. Peters had played with ’70s punk-rock trailblazers the Traitors (which included Don Was), and later the 27 and Love Snot. Details are sketchy at press time, but we do know that Peters had been dead two or three days by the time his body was discovered.
Those around him have described Peters as a guitarist years ahead of his time.
“Yes, this is very sad,” says Peters’ former Traitors band mate, guitarist Don McAlpine. “The one thing that chafes me about it is that he was there, all alone, for several days before he was discovered. It makes me very thankful at this time of year for all of the blessings I have in my life, and sorrowful that he had none. Craig was a nice guy. Everyone thought so. He could’ve been a top guy. Instead he chose to take a different path. As a guitar player, he smoked everybody.”
On a brighter note, another troubled musician, Bob (Bootsey X) Mulrooney may have skirted death in a recent fire that saw him lose scads of personal belongings, but one thing is certain: He’s undeniably rich in friends and supporters. Last Friday’s benefit to get him into a new residence was an at-capacity soiree inside Jacoby’s 313.
Those in attendance got their money’s worth with flawless sets from seven acts.
Other supporters spotted included Dave Buick (whose continual drunken yelps for Rocket 455 were side-splitting), the Sights’ Eddie Baranek, Art Lyzak, I-94 Records’ Jim Rinn, Jeff Grand, and ex-Torpedo Mike Marshall.
Highlights included the Cocktail Shake’s stellar take of the Stones’ “Citadel”; Danny Dollrod belting out a wonderfully emaciated version of “Son Of A Preacher Man” as fellow Dollrod Margaret held up a lyric sheet; the Shanks, performing sans Nathanial Mayer as a four-piece, serving up a guitar-plump version of the Velvets’ “Train Around The Bend”; the Fondas’ (with new bassist and Detroit-transplant Heath Heemsbergen) lighter-hoisting rendition of Johnny Thunders/Patti Palladin country-dipped ditty “Tie Me Up”; the Polish Muslims shooting polka shivers, and Muslims alumni Kenny Kondrat, Dave Uchalik and Al Phife doing double duty with their new band, the Earworms, a gum-smacking pop amalgamation of the classic Hamtramck group the Reruns complete with a juiced-up version of the latter band’s hit, “So, So Alone.”
As the house lights flipped on, guitarists Jeff Meier and Danny Dollrod, along with front man Mark Walz and Bootsey X (on drums) got into place. And yes, dear, it was the original Rocket 455 (well, four-fifths anyway). The quartet burped up two songs (“Ticker” and “Johnny Lawless”) and it was all it took to completely floor the jovial faithful who remained at closing time.
The event’s drunken haw-haw was perhaps summed up at night’s end when Shanks’ guitarist Dale — who was last seen hoisting bottles of booze from behind the bar — tumbled loudly down the full flight of the clubs’ stairs.
A last-minute addition to the show was a cluster of young Canucks, the Fortunate Sons, who brought with them an undeniable Rocket 455/Detroit-rock tang. The Sons were in town recording an album with the Shanks’ Jeff Meier at the helm.
Speaking of Meier, kudos are due the Shanks and Nathanial Mayer for inking a deal with the prodigious blues label Fat Possum. The band and Mayer will travel south early next year to begin recording their debut.
Josh Malerman’s band, the Detroit-via-Brooklyn High Strung, has spent practically all of the last two years touring the country, taking a short break to record its debut full-length, These Are Good Times, with the oh-so-ubiquitous Jim Diamond. Its brand of unjaded, ruddy-faced power pop may scream of happy pills and walking on sunshine, but there is a decidedly literary bent to the songs. It appears that the 26-year-old High Strung songwriter can find his Malamud and Fante on a library shelf as easily as he can the Beatle G chord on a guitar.
Which is why he’s speaking in the second of a loose series of workshops at the Farmington Hills Library. The idea behind the workshop “series” is to promote literacy through songwriting. Malerman will speak in a few area high schools this week as well, including the all-Catholic, all-girls Mercy High School in Farmington Hills.
The effusive and bubbly Malerman says he’s doing the library gig and the school lectures for all the right reasons; he’s hopeful about how music can change the way kids look at life, that it isn’t just a machine for churning out celebrities. “I think people equate being optimistic with being naive,” says Malerman. “Then again, I don’t want to come off like an indie-rock Richard Simmons.”
Malerman will spout his ideologies on art and song, and even strum a few, at the Farmington Hills Library main branch (32737 W. Twelve Mile Road; call 248-553-0300) on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m.
Hush sweet Hush
Detroit MC Hush may soon be recognized for more than his short-lived group Da Ruckus and his Detroit Pistons promotional raps. Dude recently signed a multi-album deal with Geffen Records. A few celebs turned out to help him celebrate at a recent party thrown at Alvin’s near Wayne State University. Darren McCarty of the Red Wings and producer Mike E. Clark were among them.
His album, Roses and Razorblades, increased his rep locally. Meanwhile, he’s featured in Elmore Leonard’s upcoming novel, Mister Paradise, to be published in January.Send bitch slaps, quips and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org
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