Detroit Rock Future?

Oct 19, 2005 at 12:00 am

Some call him the greatest prophet who ever lived, just to piss off the Jesus people. Others say a broken fortune cookie is right at least twice a day. And the rest just put their trust in the man behind the stars, Michel de Nostredame, better known to readers of Weekly World News as Nostradamus. Being dead for hundreds of years probably has a lot to do with shoring up that trust factor — you could hardly accuse him of plotting world domination or jockeying for a co-anchor slot on Extra!

On July 1, 1566, he confided to his priest, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” Natch, he croaked that very eve. We’d like to think that, knowing he was a goner, he’d have found a subtle way from beyond the grave to save us earthbound boobs one last time, like a headstone that read, “Don’t Order the Clams.” But, shoot, all we got are these hundreds of crazy quatrains to tell us wassup.

With the 25th anniversary of this particular birdcage liner, we thought it a stellar idea to somehow predict the next quarter-century of Detroit’s music stars. While Nosty was great at foretelling cataclysmic world events or natural disasters, he was hopeless when it came to telling us anything about the Hard Lessons or Dwele. That’s when we held a séance and contacted our other favorite false prophet, the late Jeane Dixon, who predicted that JFK would die in office as the presidential car sped away from Dealey Plaza. She used to dare readers to keep her annual “Star Predictions” in a top dresser drawer for easy access and, as a result, thousands of people would remind her how World War III didn’t happen in 1958, the Soviets didn’t put a man on the moon first and Ellen DeGeneres never married “David Cloverdale [sic], lead singer of Whitesnake.”

Will the next 25 years of Detroit music be as exhilarating as the last five, or is it back to the days of Adrenaline and Rockwell? Here, with Nosty and Jeane’s help, is our Detroit music timeline:

2006:People expect Eminem to retire, but when he moves into an active senior’s community in Dearborn, he shocks more people than when he sang with Elton John. Using his connections to waive the home’s age requirement, ’Em settles into a modestly affordable apartment with Tuscan architecture designed to meet the needs of seniors and, inadvertently, people who’ve had it up to heeeeereee with hip hop. In an exclusive AARP Monthly interview, he says “Who needs haters ready to take you out when you can have a full complement of services and amenities like on-site banking, a card room and a horticulture center? Did I mention the Internet learning center? It’s tight!”

2007: With literally thousands of bluesmen uprooted by Hurricane Katrina of two years before, the United States suffers a blues saturation it hasn’t seen since the days where you couldn’t even spit on the ground without W.C. Handy showing up. Worse, the inherent simplicity of a guy, a guitar and a tapping toe makes the White Stripes’ minimalism seem like a Jim Steinman production. Factoring all this in, Jack White abandons neo-blues in favor of exploring the deepest roots of blues on the Stripes’ next release, Yasssuh Massah Jefferson, an entire album filled with nothing by the sounds of slaves getting the lash. Mercilessly panned on its release, Yasssuh is gradually embraced as the forerunner of a new rock genre — screambo. It’s like screamo, but only if Aunt Jemima rolled up her sleeves and got involved.

2008:Global warming finally melts the polar ice caps, causing both East and West coasts of the United States to break off and be swallowed by the Pacific and Atlantic, henceforth referred to as the Gigantic Ocean by mapmakers. Say goodbye to Hollywood. Viva Las Vegas, R.I.P. New York, New York, if you can make it anywhere, it should be underwater. But The Great White Way is no match for the great white sharks. For the first time in entertainment history there is no Broadway. No off-Broadway. There is only off-off-off-off Broadway, otherwise known as Woodward Avenue. In the face of wanton destruction, looting and lawlessness, 50 Cent moves to Detroit. His nine bullet wounds don’t seem so impressive here, reinforcing Andy Warhol’s less celebrated belief that in the future, everyone will have been shot at least 10 times. When Fiddy is offered the part of Mr. Drummond in the Woodward production of The New Facts of Life, he can hardly say no.

2009:As water engulfs four of the five major record labels, Vivendi, the water company turned telecom giant, swallows up whatever’s left. With all American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance contestants missing and believed to be chum for antediluvian bottom feeders, Vivendi has no choice but to sign actual rock bands. The Detroit Cobras become a top priority there, with co-chairman Jimmy Iovine boasting, “The Cobras’ gift for turning cover songs no one’s ever heard of into hits will make them the Three Dog Night of this century!” Because of all the band’s numerous personnel changes in ensuing years, no one is surprised when they actually are Three Dog Night by 2017, when on-again off-again drummer Kenny Tudrick is permanently replaced with Floyd Sneed. (Tudrick himself gets an Oscar nod for his lead role in the 20th Century Fox biopic, Gram Parsons. The nomination finally ensures his Bulldog a recording contract.)

2011:Motown moves its base of operations back to Detroit. With Stevie Wonder now in his 17th year of tinkering with A Time 2 Love, the label is forced to bring in Saturday Looks Good To Me’s Fred “the New Bacharach” Thomas to write Wonder some chart-toppers. But Hitsville’s hopes are riding on Kem, whose latest album Kem-O-Therapy becomes the label’s most important album since The Supremes Sing Funny Girl. Flush with this success, they revive their old slogan, “The Sound of Young America,” which necessitates shitcanning the last surviving Four Top and, surprisingly, the Marvelettes, who haven’t been on Motown since Berry Gordy lost them in an all-night card game. Apparently they were just hanging around outside with signs that read, “Will sing ‘Please Mr. Postman’ for food.”

2012: Reggae becomes the most popular music in the dry world. In an effort to salvage a sagging career, Kid Rock ditches country music and changes his name to “Kid Skank” as part of a complete Rastafarian makeover. He appears at a Tigers game in fake dreads, shell jewelry and red-yellow-and-green sweats, with a beautiful Nubian on each arm. He’s jafakin’ a Jamaican drawl and his chemically treated skin has a rich coffee hue. He’s later horrified to learn the color is permanent. Skank tells the press that his rasta roots go as far back as babyhood, when he’d listen to dub and Desmond Dekker on a Walkman tucked into his diapers — long before he got into “country, Seger, Southern rock and rap.” His back-up band, the Twisted Riddem Ganja Band, is really .38 Special masquerading as dreadlocked cannabists; they each resemble Sgt. Stedenko, the bewigged undercover stoner in Up in Smoke. At a gigantic reggae fest in upstate Michigan, Kid Skank and the TRGB’s much-ballyhooed world debut screeches to a halt in a fanfare of boos, bottles and hisses.

2013:Kid Skank’s blind misrepresentation of Rastafarian culture sees his remaining fans abandon him.

2015:Former D12 rapper Proof releases the umpteenth of his Searching 4 Jerry Garcia follow-ups — Searching 4 Bruce Hornsby or Whoever Replaced Keith Godchaux and That Wife of His Who Couldn’t Sing. Later, Royce da 5’9” and Proof land in jail again — the first time since the infamous 2004 street beef — after getting caught skipping naked and holding hands among frightened deer on Belle Isle.

2017:Ted Nugent makes a run for the Senate, reinvigorating the ailing Republican Party with his similarities to another pelt-wearing, hunt-happy Ted — Theodore Roosevelt. While everyone loves the Nuge’s rapid-mouth filibusters on the Senate floor that stop just short of going into “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” even his neo-con chums have a hard time defending his 11th book, How to Hunt and Grill a Panda.

2018:Since pairing up, Proof and Royce unwittingly instigate a crazy new hip-hop genre called “barebackin’” and recruit 74-year-old Diana Ross to produce their debut, Poofta for Certain, Bitch!

2020:By now Uncle Kracker is firmly established as a “new new country” maverick. He collects his old (and darker) running buddy Kid Rock, who’s ditched the Rastafarian pose and is back to using his famous surname. The two entertainers agree to re-team for a tour marking the 30th anniversary of Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, in an effort to launch Rock’s big comeback. But because of Rock’s thick whiteface makeup, critics begin calling him “Al Jolson in reverse.” They also complain that both men waste a good deal of the time onstage trying to remember which guy covered “Drift Away,” and how come neither of ’em can hit the same high notes as the record. It doesn’t matter, because Rock is a giant again and sells 20,000,000 downloads of his new full-length, Cocky Where it Counts.

2022:Microhouse music, which fell out of favor in the early 2000s, makes something of a resurgence when Ann Arbor’s Matthew Dear distills the elements of minimalist techno into a newer form — teeny-weeny microhouse. But it’s short-lived. The following year, he’s forced to return a Grammy when it’s discovered that his last recording was really a Carlon/DiMango Entrance Alert Chime still under warranty.

2030:In the latter stages of senility, Bob Seger forgets that he’s spent the last 50 years remembering when he was a young man, and that puberty was something that occurred in the Paleozoic Era. Institutionalized forgetfulness has him suddenly rocking harder than he has since his Last Heard days. Songs like “Let’s Go Get a Beer,” “Last One in the Pool is a Rotten Egg” and “Hell, I Can Do 50 Pushups,” alienate longtime fans who want the old slowpoke Seger back, doing rocking-chair reminiscences sung at a Driving Miss Daisy gallop. Asked if he notices the changes in his fan base, Seger replies, “Well, at least people have stopped asking me for Kenny Rogers’ autograph.”

Serene Dominic is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]