Mayer coughs up a winner; little drummer boy blues

Nov 17, 2004 at 12:00 am

Who left the stool?

We recently told you that spindly Kenny Tudrick bailed on the Detroit Cobras to do his Bulldog fulltime. So now we learn that his stool replacement in the Cobras is ubiquitous drummer/People’s Records gent Dave Shettler. Shettler, you’ll remember, once told us that he finds touring, uh, unbecoming — said it was one of the reasons why he quit the Sights. Well, funny then that he’s on a European swing as we type. Moreover, to join the Cobras, Shettler had to quit Nathaniel Mayer and the Shanks.

Onetime Cobra and Shanks bandleader Jeff Meier shrugs his shoulders at Shettler’s hasty, if not foreseeable departure, saying flatly, “It’s not the first time it’s happened to me.” In the meantime, Bulldog throat Tudrick is filling Shettler’s shoes in the Shanks, for now. Got it?

Anyway, what you should know is this: Nathaniel Mayer’s I Just Want To Dance With You is just out on the Fat Possum label, and it is, all cheerleadery hyperbole aside, really stinkin’ good. One of the best records of the year, in fact. No shit.

The album is spare and punchy and dare-we-say “soulful,” rife with tender and twisted alcoholiday blasts of soul/street ruckus that sound like old-school urban Detroit. As it should; the hard-living 60-year-old Mayer has logged many frequent flyer miles traveling to hell and back. Good thing he’s still around to croon about it, eh?

The record features a wonderfully chirpy horn section plus a roundelay of Motor City mainstays, including bassist Greasy Carlisi and drummer Tino Gross as well as band “musical director” Jeff Meier. Alongside Mayer tunes and Meier co-writes there are a few booze-splashed covers, including John Lennon’s “I Found Out,” Devora Brown’s chestnut “From Now On,” and ex-Oblivian Jack Yarber’s winning “Satisfied Fool.”

Nathaniel Mayer and the Shanks appear Friday, Nov. 19, at the Belmont (10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966). Sitting in with the band will be hornsmen Dezie and Frank McCullers (sons of Motown horn man Dezie McCullers Sr.). Also, Detroit City Council.

Strangely and coincidentally, the other still-kicking, soul-deep shit-stirrer from the Detroit depths, Andre Williams, is playing the same night at Small’s (10339 Conant, Hamtramck; 313-873-1117) with Demolition Doll Rods, who are just home from a Euro jaunt.

Add one more

And then there was one. Electric Six, the band that makes mockery of rock ’n’ roll clichés, has lost another — trapsman Corey Martin (aka M.) has called it quits. That leaves lead singer Dick Valentine as the band’s lone original member. “Personality issues definitely helped to make the decision,” Martin tells Hit Singles, adding that he has a strong desire to head back to school. In a statement released on, Martin says even more diplomatically that “after having seen a great chunk of the world and having met some of the most incredible individuals one could ever imagine spending even a moment with, I’m feeling quite fulfilled (and, also, eight years older). I’m stepping away from the buckets and heading toward the podium.” Tub-thumper Matt Aljian (Brendan Benson, Atomic Numbers) has been tapped to fill in.

While E6 has seen much internal and external strife over the past few years, it appears that 2005 could prove fruitful. Armed with a new record deal, the band recently released its third vid, a cover of Queen’s “Radio Ga-Ga” (directed by old pals Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire, the same behind the “Gay Bar” and “Danger! High Voltage” clips). Their cheeky new single, the sex-positive “Vibrator,” is likely to be a yet another British pop chart quim-tickler.

16 mm good

Detroit what? Props to longtime Detroit rhyme-slinger Phat Kat for jumping the media train, from gushy magazine pieces to, finally, his own music vid. The clip for Kat’s first single “Destiny,” off his 2004 release The Undeniable LP, was recently shot entirely in Detroit by lensman Anthony Garth (White Stripes, Detroit Cobras, Eminem). After numerous years in the rap, 2004 has been a swell year for Phat Kat and the whole Barak Records crew. Barak’s B.R. Gunna also saw its first music vid released last week for the single “Somethin’ Good,” and features Detroit’s own legendary soul group the Dramatics. The video was manned by Garth and includes cameos from WDTJ-FM jocks Lt. Dre, DJ Spudd and Suga Rae.

Another soldier

In a sadder note, the Dramatics recently buried member Leonard Cornell Mayes, who died Nov. 7 from heart failure. Mayes, 53, had been ailing for some time and had not toured with the Dramatics in recent months, but was still active and looking forward to uniting with the group. Before pulling a cameo on B.R. Gunna’s recent album Dirty District II, the Dramatics saw a brief resurgence on the “Doggy Dogg World” single for Snoop Dogg in 1994.

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