City Slang: Sound Conference at Detroit Public Library

May 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

The first Sound Conference, presented by the Detroit Sound Conservancy, took place at the Detroit Public Library on Friday, May 23.

We arrived as Consuela Lopez and Osvaldo “Ossie” Rivera were concluding a panel called “The Impact of Latin Artists and Music in Detroit.” We may have missed the bulk of the talk, but we caught the tail end of an interesting slideshow featuring the likes of Carlos Santana and our own Luis Resto.

We were really there for the “Detroit Music Journalism Past, Present and Future” panel, moderated by veteran scribe Walter Wasacz and featuring W. Kim Heron (Kresge Foundation, former MT editor), Susan Whitall (Detroit News, former Creem editor), Mike Rubin (New York Times), Keith Owens (Detroit Free Press), and newcomer Veronica Grandison.

There were some cool moments, including Whitall recalling the old Creem moto: “Bite the hand that feeds you,” referring to the fact that the staff members would gladly accept free trips to L.A., New York, etc, but would then come back to Detroit and trash the band.

The panel agreed that one of the great things about being a music journalist in Detroit is that we are far removed from the label execs, so we don’t have any pressure to put any bands on the cover if we don’t want to. They were also in full agreement that Detroit music journalism has a natural playfulness about it, some irreverence.

Kim Heron said that the audience in Detroit is smarter, and they (you) will always pull us up when we get something wrong. Long may it continue. Ditto the Sound Conference.