Inks, Witches & Birds


No rest for the wicked, and that phrase never rings truer than when you’re working double duty on a Detroit dish column. So, to satiate your voracious and vicarious gossiping needs, dear reader, it was off to the Magic Bag for me on a Monday night to catch the all-star rock lineup of Colonel Parker.

The band mixes classic blues riffs with searing guitar, and features ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clark; Slim Jim Phantom, once of the Stray Cats; and Teddy Zigzag and Muddy Stardust, formerly from the L.A. Guns.

Prior to the gig at the Bag, the band headed over to the Electric Superstition tattoo studio in Berkley so each member could get the band’s logo permanently inked into their flesh. (Hope the band doesn’t break up now, kids.)

During the set, Colonel Parker gushed about the high caliber of professionalism and artistry of both the studio and its owner, Jeff Shea. The musicians dedicated a song to Shea, and promised they would be back for more ink in the very near future.

My inside sources tell me the tattooing expedition sprang from a bet between Shea and his friend, freelance writer Amy Yokin. It seems that Shea was convinced that Slim Jim Phantom was the same guy who appeared in those highly annoying Slim Jim commercials — you know, the loud-mouthed guy in the beef jerky costume who bellows “Eat me!” Yokin was convinced otherwise, and she placed a $1,000 bet with Shea over the matter.

After Phantom confirmed he has appeared in no beef jerky commercials whatsoever, Shea was out a grand, so Yokin came up with the idea of paying off the debt in tattoo trade for Colonel Parker. Apparently Shea was more than happy to oblige, and got along famously with the band, even arranging for some future tattoo and artwork collaborations.


Despite my alleged scenester status, and the hipster requirements of my gossiping profession, I’m usually the last person to get out to new bars and hot spots. Thus, in keeping with tradition, I finally hauled my pleather-clad ass out to the Motor City Brewing Works on Sunday night, to catch Outrageous Cherry and the Witches.

The brewery hosts live bands every Sunday, and records them for a live compilation CD that will be released on Ghettoblaster Records. (Speaking of recording, the Witches will be hitting the studio with Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders to lay down a new album — you can catch the band’s next live show at the Lager House on Sunday with the Mooney Suzuki.

I’m really kicking myself for not getting out to the Motor City Brewing Works earlier. Irresistibly cozy and inviting, the place is filled with beautiful mosaic tiling, and there’s a rich wooden bar. The crowd is casually dressed and generally only seems interested in knocking back a few custom brews with their friends — as opposed to trying really hard to not look like you’re trying hard to look cool.

The beer is sublime. You can choose from about a half-dozen custom microbrews on tap, including the ever-popular Ghettoblaster.

My favorite part about microbreweries is asking the staff to describe the beers, and watching them attempt to utilize phrases such as “warm and full-bodied,” “richly aromatic” and “a thick head” while keeping a straight face. For added amusement, you can egg your barkeep on by asking for some domestic bottled beer (bonus points if you ask for MGD or a Bud Light) and revel in the amount of condescending snootiness you’ll have thrown in your face.

But I got a Ghettoblaster, and as I was savoring my pint, I came across my favorite fire-breather, Giles Rosbury, who scared the shit out of me by recounting a nasty mishap with his act at the Hamtramck Blowout pre-party at Motor. Rosbury performs with Fire Fabulon, which closed out the show that evening, making an unforgettable impression on everyone who witnessed the spectacle. It seems that Rosbury, a seasoned expert with eight years of fire-breathing under his belt, was burned by the unpredictable nature of fire — midperformance, the flames blazed out of control and took over his entire face. Fortunately, he was rescued by his “safeties” who leapt on stage and smothered the fires before Rosbury was seriously injured. End result — some fairly serious facial burns and a scary learning experience. Amazingly enough, only a few weeks later Rosbury is almost fully recovered with nary a mark on his face, and says the experience was educational. He’s already gotten back up on the horse, so to speak, having just performed for a film project in the works by Kelly Parker. Buy this guy a beer if you ever meet him, as he has to have the biggest cojones in Detroit.

Also encountered throughout the evening: the Nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu, Saraj L., Katy Booth of Incognito, Herman Schwartz, and former bassist Marvin Shauni.


For many years now, the highly acclaimed Bird of Paradise Orchestra — led by upright bassist Paul Keller — has performed every Monday night at the Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor. However, the Bird of Paradise Orchestra will henceforth be known as the Paul Keller Orchestra, since the band has decided to leave its Monday night gig at the Bird. Fear not, however, as you can still catch the band — with the exact same lineup — a stone’s throw away at the Firefly Club.

Firefly owner Susan Chastain says the change came about because the band was ready to move on and try something different. She’s also looking forward to singing with the band once again — in addition to her jazz-club managing skills, Chastain has been an accomplished jazz singer in the Ann Arbor area for years, and will join the Paul Keller Orchestra during its new regular Monday night gig. You can catch PKO’s Firefly debut on April 1.

Sarah Klein wants you — to send sordid gossip, party invites and inside scoops to [email protected], or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial
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