Makeshift arena shows on tiny club stages, ill-fitting leather trousers, preposterous drum reverb, chest hair springing from beneath pink Lycra, power-pouts and pointy bad axes, crappy coke and rum and Cokes and blue eyeshadow and blah, blah, blah, blurrrrr. You might recall the ’80s, particularly the hairball faux-glam metal and hard rock of the era. If you don’t, this guy John Patrick certainly does, and he’s passionate about the shit. Why else would he dedicate six to eight hours a day to collecting, preserving and posting Detroit artifacts from the epoch on his Web site Motorcityrock.com?
You’d drop jaw at the breadth of said site’s content too — bits from the A-Gents to Zooster and 738 (at last count) bands in-between, all from the Detroit area. The undertaking is enormous; and the site is damn impressive in terms of both research and presentation. It offers myriad photos, bios, setlists, vintage posters and fliers, even some MP3s and videos from hundreds of lost and not-so-lost Detroit rock ’n’ roll bands from the glorious Reagan era.
And the site is taking off. Since March, Motorcityrock has had 1.8 million visitors, all from word-of-mouth. Better, the content, including song and video downloads, is all free o’ charge. There are no pop-up ads or sex marketing campaigns on his site. Nah, Patrick’s keen on keeping the thing gratis.
“The whole purpose of this site is to document this music while people are still around,” Patrick says. “Who knows, maybe I can open a museum somewhere one day.”
The cost of hosting such a site is going up dramatically, and Patrick doesn’t make a dime for his efforts. He loses money, in fact. So to keep it free he’s throwing a Motorcityrock.com benefit to defray costs, with some of the era’s heavy-hitters as entertainment. Of course there’ll be a guitar giveaway too; it’ll be signed by all the performing bands.
Why the ’80s? For one thing, the musicologist and stay-at-home dad (his wife is a teacher) understands that ’80s metal, of all popular musical genres, is the most thinly anthologized and the most often (and too lazily) ridiculed. He also knows a lot about the music, having played in local bands then himself. He’s quick to point out that the site is not strictly metal — the erudite dude is no musical elitist — and he’s open to all genres of ’80s rock ’n’ roll.
Patrick says e-mails are streaming in from all corners of the earth, mostly from those wanting to know more about the Detroit bands. And the bands are continuing to crawl out from under rocks to provide information, content and contacts.
For Patrick, Motorcityrock.com is one part nostalgia, one part duty. “This (the Web site) is a natural extension some 20 years on,” the webmaster says. “It all started when I saw Seduce do their reunion in 2002. I’m more interested in knowing that in 100 years’ time that all this information will be in one place.”
Friday, Dec. 3, at the I-Rock (16350 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-881-7625) with Abuse, Dave Edwards Band (featuring members from the Look), the Meanies, Halloween, and RockStar (featuring members of Trick Bag, Tempest and Miss Fortune).
Beef with no flavor
A mixtape that is one part showcase for Detroit rappers and one part anti-Em’ crusade showed up in Hit Singles mailbox last week. According to album notes, it’s presented by an outfit called Fifth Mile Productions. That’s all we know, because whoever sent us Prepare for War was just chickenshit enough to black out the name on the return address. Oh, come on. Where’s the fun in that?
Too bad, ’cause much of the disc’s content is worthy, if a bit dated. It offers intriguing outtakes of phone conversations between The Source co-owner Ray Benzino and Paul Rosenberg, who’s heard trying to defend his Shady client against Benzino’s diatribe. It also includes the racist lyrics Em’ spent the better of last year attempting to explain away, as well as interviews with members of Insane Clown Posse discussing their own issues with Mr. Mathers. But with no one to stand behind this fiery little package, how scathing can it be? If they’ll send us their contact info, at least an address to order the disc, we’ll pass it along.
New digs for the racket
We got a phone call the other day from Wolf Eyes’ manager James Marks talking about the dearth of studio/rehearsal space in the Ypsilanti area. Much of it, he says, was created by the loss of The Performance Network and 555 spaces. Well, Marks is keen on changing that. So, he’s offering up affordable rehearsal space in a suite of unused offices — home to his indie printing operation VGKids — on Ypsi’s west side.
Marks claims he ain’t offering the space to earn extra dough. No, he’d rather see bands and artists have a cheap place to hone their din. “With an empty building, tolerant neighbors, and two party stores in walking distance, it’s the only rational thing to do. You do it because its there,” he says. He’s got a point. Interested parties should call Marks at 734-480-0667.Send bitch-slaps, quips and comments to [email protected]