What’s in a word?

Never mind the winter, here’s the Motown Winter Blast. This free, three-day outdoor fest smack in the middle of the ungodly winter sparks up this weekend; nearly 60 Michigan acts on three stages in and around the Campus Martius Park in lovely downtown Detroit. The event, staged by the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee, will run the gamut of musical genres — so you can get your multiculturalism on — from the Caribbean-hued Roots Vibration to historic garagists ? and the Mysterians, from black rock masters Black Merda to the suit-bedecked, gospel R&B of Serieux. There will also be some special ticketed shows featuring national acts.

If that ain’t enough, here’s something rock ’n’ roll purists might dig: Fred “Sonic” Smith’s son Jackson Smith has announced a one-off show, playing his dad’s songs with Gary Rasmussen from the Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. They’re calling themselves Smith/Rasmussen’s Sonic’s Revisited, and there will be “surprise” guests. They’re playing Saturday, Jan. 22, at 1:30 p.m. on the Metro Times stage.

Anyway, for said event we thought it’d be swell to get a quick peek into (we hope) the instinctive minds of some local performers. Not to get all Jungian on yer butts, but we gave each selected performer an identical list of simple buzzwords. Then we had them answer each, as quickly as possible, with whatever came into their heads, word association-style. And some of the results are both funny and revealing.

Muffy Kroha – The Sirens

Muffy is the self-deprecating and lucid Sirens’ frontchick whose band reworks the sexual stimuli of testicular floor-stompers by the Hollywood Brats, Ike Turner and Suzi Quatro, among others. And, kids, if covering the aforementioned ain’t a show of class (and passion) then please show us the door. What’s fun at a Sirens show is watching grown men groan through beer-foam mustaches at the sight of such agreeable flank in fuck-me platforms. And kudos to Muffy for her anatomically correct adjective of our fearless leader.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Terrifying

George W. Bush: Asshole

Porn: Eeyew

Sex Toys: ??

Retirement: Death

Radio: Radio

PMS: My life

Blue balls: Giggle

West Side Detroit: Home

East Side Detroit: Home

Booze: Love

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that ... I take over — but this time not reluctantly.

Friday, Jan. 21, 1:30 p.m.; Metro Times Stage.


Juan Atkins

What can be said? Juan Atkins is a techno pioneer. Heavily influenced by the sounds of Ken Collier and the Electrifyin’ Mojo, Atkins laid early techno groundwork and helped give Detroit yet another musical claim to fame.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Good mayor

George W. Bush: Insane

Porn: Necessary service

Sex toys: Necessary service

Retirement: Getting close

Radio: Too commercial

PMS: Victim of circumstance

Blue balls: Victim of circumstance

West Side Detroit: Where I grew up

East Side Detroit: Kinda rough!

Booze: Don’t drink

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Juan Atkins gets what he’s due.

Saturday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage


? — ? and the Mysterians

You can’t deny that this band’s 1966 hit “96 Tears” was a crucial slab for the developing ears of garage and punk rock upstarts the world over. And the band’s wiseacre and effusive leader, ? , is a peculiar gent to be sure, his ubiquitous wraparound shades and overall glam élan notwithstanding. Just ask this Flint resident where he’s from and he’ll tell you: Mars.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Support him

George W. Bush: Cheney’s puppet

Porn: Sex

Sex Toys: Interesting

Retirement: Never

Radio: “96 Tears”

PMS: Seek help

Blue balls: Orange balls

West Side Detroit: Come together

East Side Detroit: Come together

Booze: Party

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … will be.

Sunday, Jan. 23, 5 p.m., Metro Times stage.


Rachel May — Broadzilla

Chicks with riffs? Studded distaff rock crunch? Lyrics that can singe ear hairs? Portly fan-boys? You bet. What else can be uttered about Broadzilla except that this trio — fortified with Joan Jett kohl and a Motörhead Sturm und Drang — steadfastly wave the tattered rock ’n’ roll flag in the face of so much commerce-driven marketing gloss that currently passes for music. Their burgeoning U.K. fan base might just make them stars beyond the 313.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Dig the earring, brah

George W. Bush: You’re fired!

Porn: Yes. No! Yes. I mean Yes.

Sex Toys: Shhhh …

Retirement: Tropical island

Radio: Me no likey

PMS: Two Alleve, a box of chocolate and the remote control

Blue balls: Sorry, boys

West Side Detroit: Yo!

East Side Detroit: Hamtramck homies

Booze: Vanilla Stoli and Coke

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that ... the gods of rock ’n’ roll hellfire wreak havoc on teen pop divas.

Sunday, Jan. 23, 11 a.m.; Metro Times stage.


VC — Black Merda

Know this: Black Merda were largely ignored in their day as top-shelf purveyors of psych- and funk-tinged “black rock” back when white shitkickers like the MC5 and the Stooges were getting all the attention in these parts. This is their first show together in more than 30 years. Read our cover story (Metro Times, Dec. 1, 2004) to learn more.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Hip hoppy

George W. Bush: Tricky Dicky

Porn: Scorn

Sex Toys: Mannish Boys

Retirement: Fire-ment

Radio: Air pollution

PMS: Pretty mother …

Blue balls: Woe

West Side Detroit: Far out

East Side Detroit: Look out

Booze: You snooze

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … will blossom like a flower in spring.

Saturday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m.; Metro Times stage.


John Arnold — Blackman and Arnold

Ubiquity recording artist John Arnold is a staple in the Detroit progressive electronic music scene. Dude is a multi-instrumental machine and has recorded 12” classics with Theo Parrish, Paul Randolph, and Amp Fiddler to name but a few.

Kwame Kilpatrick: My age

George W. Bush: Dark Age

Porn: Why not?

Sex Toys: Y knot?

Retirement: Done it

Radio: Tried it

PMS: Lived it

Blue balls: Thanks for reminding me

West Side Detroit: Apple

East Side Detroit: Orange

Booze: Potato

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Kwame Kilpatrick and George W. Bush make porn on the East Side with sex toys and then retire to the West Side because of PMS, blue balls and booze.

Saturday, Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage


Nadir — Distorted Soul

This Southern-bred singer-songwriter and his stalwart band play with an aplomb that could raise the corpses of Marley and Hendrix. No shit. Nadir acts in movies and wins songwriting contests too. To label the band simply neo-soul would be downright reductive.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Fix the roads

George W. Bush: Two stolen elections

Porn: Spyware and viruses

Sex Toys: Peanut butter and a corkscrew

Retirement: Florida

Radio: Suckas never play me

PMS: “Yes, dear. Anything you say.”

Blue balls: “Please, baby. Please, baby. Please, baby, pleeeese …

West Side Detroit: Shrine of the Black Madonna

East Side Detroit: Getting lost anywhere east of Woodward

Booze: Vodka is evil

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Distorted Soul blows up!

Saturday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Metro Times stage.


DJ Surgeon

Usually appearing in his signature hospital scrubs, DJ Surgeon has been laying down ghetto-tech and jit music in clubs and cabarets throughout Detroit for what seems like eons. His deck skills are mad, certainly, so it stands to reason that he teaches courses in turntablism.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Re-election

George W. Bush: Outcast

Porn: Cool

Sex toys: After the show

Retirement: Death

Radio: Non-corporate

PMS: Understanding

Blue balls: Don’t get ’em

West Side Detroit: Much love

East Side Detroit: Lots of love

Booze: Only with friends.

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … DJ Surgeon is truly recognized.

Saturday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage


Bobby East — Reefermen, Hemigod

Storied Roseville guitarist Bobby East has been kicking around the Motor City for years, and is currently splitting time between the genre-defying Reefermen and the Kid Rock-produced Hemigod, whose Atlantic debut is due out this spring. East lists his proudest musical moment as “playing alongside Kid Rock for the troops in Iraq.”

Kwame Kilpatrick: Too young

George W. Bush: Too stiff

Porn: For the bored

Sex Toys: For the unemployed

Retirement: Too far away

Radio: Lukewarm

PMS: All around us

Blue balls: Bad dream

West Side Detroit: No comment

East Side Detroit: Home sweet home

Booze: Liquid courage

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … everybody finds themselves (you’ve got to be a little optimistic).

Reefermen appear Saturday at 4:30 p.m.; Metro Times stage. Hemigod performs Sunday at 6:30 p.m.; Metro Times stage.


Eddie “Flashin’” Fowlkes

Eddie Fowlkes is a Detroit electronic staple, has been since the early ’80’s. A former regular at the legendary Music Institute nightclub founded by Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, Fowlkes’ DJing style has made countless techno heads worldwide fall in love with Detroit.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Big time

George W. Bush: Drunken bastard

Porn: Money

Sex toys: Fools

Retirement: Chill

Radio: Happy station

PMS: River flow

Blue balls: Shiiit

West Side Detroit: Home

East Side Detroit: Shit

Booze: Sex

Complete this sentence: 2005 will be the year that … Deep Groove Magazine puts its foot in some people’s asses.

Friday, Jan. 21, 9 p.m.; Fifth Third Bank Stage.


For a complete schedule go to motownwinterblast.com or call 313-963-8418.

Brian Smith is Metro Times music editor; Jonathan Cunningham is a Metro Times editorial intern. Contact [email protected]
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