Niagara’s top 100 ever; Detroit rock ‘n’ roll loses yet another

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It probably ain’t a stretch to say that Pat Benatar ain’t got nothin’ on Destroy All Monsters/Dark Carnival frontchick Niagara. If you think about it, the two couldn’t be more dissimilar: Niagara is the still-fetching art-skronk chanteuse who could outdo Nico doing Nico, and Benatar is the chipmunk-faced, mall-mom who lucked into a run of corporate-rock chart-toppers aided by unfortunate bodily movements in rock videos.

Well, according to U.K.’s Classic Rock magazine — a weighty, picturesque glossy well regarded among the tat-and-hat and dad-rock set — Ms. “notch in my lipstick case” Benatar upped Niagara by three, landing at numero 96 on that monthly’s top 100 frontmen of all-time list. Niagara made No. 99. Really, Benatar or no, that’s quite an honor.

And Niagara is in stellar company here too; fellow Detroiters (well, sorta) Iggy (No. 9), Alice Cooper (No. 14), and Suzi Quatro (No. 90) are also listed. Long-departed AC/DC croaker Bon Scott tops the inventory with Queen crooner Freddy Mercury on his ass at No. 2. Elsewhere we find Jagger, Bono, Bowie, Chris Robinson, Courtney Love, Wendy O. Williams, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, so on and so forth.

Classic Rock called Niagara the “anti-frontwoman …” and she’s listed just ahead of prog rock’s astral Neal Morse of Spock’s Beard. The July issue of the import mag can be found at better newsstands.

In other Niagara news, appears noted Euro compilation/box set producer Carleton P. Sandercock (Buzzcocks, Lou Reed, T. Rex, Joy Division, etc.) is putting together an exhaustive, career-spanning Niagara boxed set for worldwide release, though no street date or title has been decided upon at this point.

To be included on the four-CD set is at least one new, soon-to-be-recorded track in “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” But don’t look for a fluffy Nancy Sinatra spin on the timeless Lee Hazelwood chune here, kids. Nah, the ditty will get a testicular guit makeover — courtesy of Stooge Ron Asheton and, perhaps, Danny Doll Rod — with a Velvet Underground “Venus in Furs” curveball.

Also look for Niagara on this month’s cover of esteemed Modern Drunkard Magazine, a witty, pro-alcoholic journal out of, of all places, Denver. In it, Niagara offers up tales of excessive boozing and other acts of immoderate indulgence from her years of experience. Also, Jukebox, a French music publication akin to America’s Goldmine, is doing a career overview cover story on Niagara, which will soon hit stands.

Shit, all this chick wants to do is paint.

Proof is the kiss

Em and Kid Rock were once guidance recipients from this guy called Champtown, a dude who has been a 313 rapper since, basically, the dawn of Motor City hip hop. Anyway, this Champtown sent in a CD-R collection of a few tracks called Fuck Proof, which was reviewed in the Suckerpunch column here a few weeks back. If you didn’t see said assessment, Champtown on the CD rips D12er Proof a new posterior pucker, calling out the storied rapper on what could be described as his, uh, capricious behavior of late. We here at Hit Singles went ruddy with guffaws over the CD’s content — a droll blast of persuasive, inescapable spits — and have, since the review ran, been getting numerous calls and e-mails from people here (and overseas) requesting a copy. Well, the Fuck Proof dis will be available for download on Champtown’s Straight Jacket Records Web site ( this week. And, still, no utterance from the Proof camp with regard to ’town’s dis, but we’ll let you know as the beef upchucks.

A Rod blows south

In the prodigious words of Ronnie Biggs-era Sex Pistols, “It had to be Brrraaziiilll!” And Brazil it is for Demolition Doll Rods’ raffish sex pistol Margaret Doll Rod. Seems the shouter/guitarist is taking her rough-hewed, kick-drum-enhanced brand of solo folk down for a headline tour of South America.

And South American boys are juiced. In fact, a Dolls Rods Brazilian television appearance a few years back saw boys getting rod at the feet of Ms. Rod, and girls clawed guitarist Danny. “They bow when they are excited about you,” chirps Margaret, of the Dolls Rods experience. “It’s really great over there, they’re really open-minded … the Doll Rods did really well; these boys and girls just go crazy.” The rooster-coiffed crooner explains that she’s never gone to Brazil, or Europe, without her band mates and adds that she’s a tad excited. She even makes a wily reference to the boys of South America that’s unfit for print.

Margaret leaves Wednesday, Aug. 4, returning sometime in September. Radio shows and other television spots are planned, including a performance on Brazilian MTV. She’s even playing Rio de Janeiro where she’s “hoping to go to Copacabana.” Though she can’t really read her itinerary, which is in Portuguese, she does have “a couple days off at the beach!”

Margaret’s set will include a few covers, tunes from her solo disc Enchanté and some new songs.

Not that social

Carrie Smith quits the Von Bondies? Well, that is, according to our trusted pal Mr. Barstool Patter, what we hear. Patter says bassist Smith has had enough of the Von Bondies and will relocate to Los Angeles, and the band will hunt for a replacement female bass player soon. The flacks at Warners denied any and all rumors, of course, and the VB’s couldn’t be reached for comment at press time. We’ll be talking to VB singer Jason Stollsteimer this week and let you know what’s what.

Worm farm

We’d simply be remiss not to plug the bacchanalian earworms, a band that never ever gets any newsprint juice. The earworms, you’ll note, consist of members of punk-polka parodists the Polish Muslims as well as ex-members of ’70s giants the Mutants and ’80s Detroit singalong specialists the Reruns. Why should you care? Easy. ’Cause an earworms show ain’t to be missed — beer gets spilled, chicks get hammered and roaring riffs kick-start tinnitus.

The band is celebrating the release of their debut, self-titled CD on Friday, Aug. 6, at Small’s (10339 Conant, Hamtramck, 313-873-1117.) Also on the bill that night, the imperishable 3D Invisibles, and impending stalwarts Gravel.

Last night another soldier

We are sad to convey that a local rock ’n’ roll singer whom we regarded with much favor died last week. Don Moss, the boyish-looking frontman for the five-piece Blamethrower — a band brave enough to wield an early-Aerosmith/Detroit rock ’n’ roll sheen in the face of so much gee-rage — expired in a freak accident involving a wheelbarrow, a dumptruck and a construction site. Last Thursday, Moss, a construction inspector by day, was subcontracting for the city of Rochester Hills, testing concrete and stone. Apparently he was pushing a wheelbarrow behind a truck that had begun to back up. In his effort to evade the lorry, he stumbled, fell down, and was crushed. He was later pronounced dead at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital.

Moss was a salt-of-the-earth, stand-up guy — one of the good ones — as a singer, as a fan of music and as human being. (And this isn’t just maudlin, backward-gazing reverence, that which is typically uttered when somebody passes). He leaves behind a wife, Gretchen, and three children, Erik, Ryan and Samantha.

Donations in Moss’ memory may be made to Gleaners Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait, Detroit 48207) or The Heidelberg Project (P.O. Box 19377, Detroit 48219 Attn: Jenenne Whitfield). For additional information on Moss, check the Blamethrower Web site:

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