All hail Jimmy McCarty

Photo: Leni Sinclair

Not to get all blowjobian but ...

A few years back I was working on Metro Times story about the Rockets and its singer Dave Gilbert and I had the pleasure of meeting the band’s guitarist Jimmy McCarty. I’d read about this guy when I was a little kid, his days in Cactus, in the Rockets. So seeing his bar-band Mystery Train was an eye-popping experience for a number of reasons. Here was a dude who could never be accused of hopping trends, who’s probably the best rock ’n’ roll guitarist Detroit has ever coughed up — even in the low-key Mystery Train it's shockingly evident — and I couldn’t believe how few people would care to see him play. I never saw anyone from the then-hip Detroit Garage Rock City contingent at Mystery Train shows. Where were those self-fancying hipsters and scenesters, those garage-elite band members who in international press would profess a love of “Detroit” rock ’n’ roll? Many were too busy salivating at the altar of the Stooges or the MC5. How obvious and played out. How fucking boring.

Well in this week’s issue, writer Fred Mills put McCarty in perspective in his review of two new Cactus CD reissues.

And yesterday our record-geek pal and Magic Bag booker Willy Wilson passed along a message saying that McCarty (whose Cactus is playing the Bag in late July) was all blush-faced flattered by Mills’ words. Yeah, we aim for truth, Mr. McCarty. Here’s an email that Mills — whose heart beats all through his magazine and alt. weekly writing — sent us to pass along to McCarty:

Please tell Mr. McC that this southern boy (born and raised in N.C.) saw Cactus scorch the South a number of times back in the day. Granted, I was probably only 16-18 years old at the time, so my impressionistic remembrances are exactly that — colored by memory.

At the same time, when I hear those old records anew, I know that my teenage ears were not out of tune. Not a bit. Thanks Jimmy. Keep a-knockin'. —Fred Mills