Podcast: Inside the Detroit Blues Society

  Join  host Pete Kalinski from Royal Oak’s Boo’s Music Bistro inside Mr. B’s Restaurant as he welcomes two of the city’s foremost fans and promoters of Detroit’s legendary blues legacy–President of the Detroit Blues Society, Steve Soviak and Vice President Tom McNab. It’s first meeting in 1985 began a multi-decade of transformations to increase public interest in the Society. Large-scale events included a number of indoor and outdoor concerts and school workshops. Increased membership and a more organized approach allowed the Society to embark on special projects. Educational programs became more formalized and in 1996 the Scarab Club Educational/Blues Heritage Series began. Each event featured a theme based on some aspect of the Detroit blues tradition. Pete, Steve and Tom discuss the non-profit’s innovations including Blues in the Schools and the Blues Challenge as the group continues to dedicate itself to the preservation, education, and advancement of the blues tradition as it relates to the Metro-Detroit area…. Read More…

Solar Power In Bizarro World

Look, just because this is being written from a parallel universe, you’d be wrong to think that everyone over here is so totally freaky that you couldn’t possibly carry on a conversation with any of us without a cheat sheet in your breast coat pocket. “There’s more that unites us than divides us.” Isn’t that what the bumper sticker makers say?  Well, I’ve always put my faith in their deep wisdom and I think you should do the same. I’ll give you a ‘for instance’ because over here, just like over there, a quality ‘for instance’ makes everything so much easier to understand.  For instance, don’t assume that we on our side of the wormhole don’t damn well love to see John Wayne punch a hippy in his shaggy face, so we can hear the hairy dude whimper “not cool man” as he collapses like a house of cards onto the Duke’s unswept… Read More…

Prince – December 10th, 1981 Cobo Arena Detroit. The first time I heard music.

Originally posted by Lee Patrick Sullivan for DiggingDetroit.com. Like most kids growing up in Suburban Detroit, I was first introduced to Prince by The Electrifying Mojo, the legendary underground DJ on WGPR. I was a card carrying member of the Midnight Funk Association. Mojo had been going on for hours about this 19year-old kid from Minneapolis who was going to take over the world. Then shortly after Midnight, and after I raised my hand and “Pledged Allegiance to The Funk”, Mojo played “Soft and Wet” – I was hooked. From that day on, I have bought all of Prince’s 47 albums the day they were released. Many years, waiting in line at The Music Stop in Clawson Center, or Harmony House at the Oakland Mall before they opened, so I would get the first album out of the box. Over the years, I have gone to 46 Prince concerts. Each one… Read More…

New Podcast: Fathers, Daughters, Wedding Songs & Horse Racing with Ladd Biro

Ladd Biro has loved music and been a performer his entire life–but never wanted to be a starving artist either.  For 40 years he has worked in the entirely non-9-to-5 world of the track–and been in bands and created albums. He contacted Kevin Walsh about creating a music video for “In Days Gone By,” a song that a friend of his wrote for his niece’s wedding–dedicated to the special relationship between a father and daughter. Ladd joins Kevin as they discuss: The world of horse-racing Loving music–and keeping it as part of your life The creation of “In Days Gone By” Raiding photo albums of family and friends The universal appeal of daddy/daughter dances What makes a band work Mars and Venus–and editing a video for both Ladd’s album, Transition, from Roscoe Records Check out the video of “In Days Gone By” on YouTube.

“Whiplash”: Truly One of the Greats

I’ll start this review how I start every review, which is: go see Whiplash before you read this post. But this time I say this not only because there be spoilers below, but because it’s one of the best damn movies I’ve seen in long, long time. A long time. As I begin my thoughts on Whiplash, I am reminded of the Honest Trailers trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you’re unfamiliar, Honest Trailers is a fantastic YouTube channel that takes films we love and makes trailers for them that rip them to shreds; pointing out every plot hole and confusing character motivation they can find. Here was the trailer they made to rip Cap 2 to shreds: [youtube http://youtu.be/JvHyk2ESFCI?t=1m29s]   Honest Trailers wanted to rip Cap 2 a new one, but, if they had to be honest, they were finding it difficult because, damn it, it was truly a good flick. Like… Read More…

For Kids, Many Voices Become One at “Twenty Feet from Stardom” Benefit Screening & Concert

Few third graders have been heard to proudly announce to their classmates… “I hope to be fourth cellist in the New York Philharmonic.” “I’d like to be a situational middle-inning relief pitcher for the Yankees.” “I want to be an Indy pit crew member.” or… “My dream is to be an editor.” Not many editors get a standing ovation.   Even at the Oscars, its award is sandwiched between Best Costume Design and the latest Revlon commercial.  And you are more likely to be mistaken as that fourth cellist before someone says, “Aren’t you an editor–of documentaries?” Twenty Feet from Stardom honors the teammate, the supporting role–in effect, the glue behind some of the greatest songs of the last fifty years.  And someone had to convert 700 hours of interviews and archival footage of these amazing women into 90 minutes.  Enter Doug Blush, who last Friday embodied the spirit of this movie to help young… Read More…

Superhero Halftime: What “Guardians” Says About Our Galaxy

We live in an absolutely ridiculous time for geeks. If you were to create an historic timeline of superhero films, you could try and pinpoint the turning point with X-Men or Spider-Man. Around the turn of the century, when those films were released, the blockbuster world slowly began to turn on its head. In the 90s, the basis for most action movies was one of the following: (1) CIA agent, (2) rogue cop, (3) two unlikely cop partners teaming up for an action-comedy. After Sam Raimi’s success with Spider-Man, everyone and their uncle had to get their hands on some hot superhero action. But it wasn’t always pretty. For whatever reason, the studios knew that there was a market out there for all and everything superheroes, but they just couldn’t seem to nail it. Because where Sam Raimi and Bryan Singer found a formula that worked, other films like Fantastic Four, Daredevil and The Hulk failed to do… Read More…

New Podcast: Making it in Detroit’s Bar Band Scene – Driving Friday

New Podcast below! Meet Driving Friday, a new band trying to break into the historically strong Detroit garage band/bar scene. After 30 years playing in bands, guitarist and veteran Detroit rocker Garvin Cooper recently formed his first band.  He and keyboardist Tim Schoenherr discuss: The impact/importance of Social Media The Detroit band market The impact of the smoking ban in Michigan Capital outlay in forming a band The impact of 80s music today What it’s like on the stage  

Top 10 Extremely Guilty-Pleasure Songs from the 60s and 70s … AKA “Umm…Yes…It’s On My Playlist”

I have a very patient wife and two tolerant children–particularly if I am allowed to pick the music. Prior to the patient folks at home, I had a very patient set of roommates in college.  The stone-age version of a playlist was a 200 lb “Peaches” crate of LPs that I would transport every year–in and out of our van, up and down three flights of stairs at the dorm, all so that people could flip through my records and say, “Oh, my.  You’ve got this” Probably holding up either an obscure soundtrack or noticing that my alphabetical listing had Adam Ant a bit too close to AC/DC. There’s a playlist on my phone and iPod named, appropriately, “Kevin,”–almost a “pay-it-forward” apology to any random person who might find my phone and flip through my choices.  Kale Davidoff wrote in this blog (link)about the random-purposeful string of songs that seem… Read More…

How the Sights and Sounds of the Rose Bowl Define Our Memories in Some Type of Way

The Rose Bowl. Growing up in the Midwest, it’s the event that became our first memory of each New Year. For sports fans, it continues to be that special tradition that proves to us that no matter how much we may change as a person from New Year to New Year, there are some things that just need to stay the same. Sure, we watch the Rose Bowl a little differently than we did when we were kids. Instead of hot chocolate fighting off Jack Frost in our tippy toes, copious cups of coffee fight off the champagne in our heads and our stomachs, for example. Tradition is tradition. My friend Michael once told me that his dad taught him two things growing up: (1) Hate Ohio State and (2) Hate Brent Musburger. And as funny as both notions are to our Midwestern ears, the reality of Brent Musburger’s love… Read More…

Christmas Carol Demolition Squad: Revisiting a 3 and 5 Year-Old’s Medley, Thirteen Years Later

It’s just six minutes of random videotape from thirteen years ago as the kids decorate a Christmas tree.  It’s funny what passes for nothing at the time but turns into family legend.  Thanks to my kids for letting me post these brief video clips and for not minding an interview on-location a couple days ago (final clip). The 2000 model of Abby (3) and Aidan (5) had decided it was time to add the candy canes to the tree.  As a kindergartener, it was very clear to my son what the pecking order would be–and not just for tree-trimming .  My daughter, in a calm “no,” simply vetoes the maneuver and moves to the front of the line when dad asks for a song. She continues to ignore her brother, whose attempts to bastardize the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” seem to be bothering only the director… So Abby gets… Read More…

Kid Rock, Costco and Paying Dues: Keeping First-Class Without Sacrificing Coach

An American buying a Lotto ticket seems a bit redundant. After all, in the millions of years of evolution (or few thousand years–depending on which Texas schoolbook you’ve got approved) what are the odds that you’ll be born in a century with indoor plumbing, electricity and fabric softener? Then factor in that you’ll most likely not be born somewhere between the Atlantic and Pacific, north of the Rio Grande.  Instead you’ll land where 50% of the world is born–a place where you survive on $2.50 per day or less–or nearly three scratch-and-wins. (source) So as you tsk-tsk high gas prices and the lawn-service guy who’s ripping you off (causing you to get so upset you nearly spill that $4 mocha) remember the cost of being in a club. Not far from my house is the prestigious Oakland Hills Country Club–or to golf fans, “The Monster.” It’s been the site of… Read More…

5 Love Songs That Send the Wrong Message

Love. We are obsessed with it. Many of us bask in its glory; worship its treasures and truths. Others are shaped and molded by its destructive affect and merciless circumstance. Then there is the rest of us: those that are almost certainly meant to spend life trying to figure out if love is as real as Bigfoot, honest politicians or a Detroit Lions Superbowl win, and not some made up, human hoax to sell greeting cards and movie tickets. One thing is certain, though. We love to sing about love. If it’s not about partying or politics, at times, it appears that every song ever written is about the wonder of or dismay for love. The Beatles, for example, used the word “love” 613 times in their songs. From Tin Pan Alley to Daft Punk, musicians have been trying to figure out the best ways to formulate their feelings. Some do… Read More…

An Important Halloween “Thriller”: From Music Videos to Music Films

It’s Halloween again, so it’s time to watch it: But, watch. I mean, really sit down and experience it all. Turn on that 480p, shut off the lights, grab a bag of popcorn and if you’re lucky enough to have a significant other, grab him or her too, sit down, and watch “Michael Jackson’s Thriller”. It’s one of the most incredible short films ever created, and its impact on pop culture can never be overstated. We view it every Halloween because it puts air in our tires. It gets us excited for horror films and candy and costumes and–dancing. But before it became a Halloween staple, it was the production that changed music videos and television and the role of the pop superstar forever. As scary as “War of the Worlds” was to radio. As landmark as the Kennedy-Nixon debate was to televised news. As big as “Star Wars” was… Read More…

Too-Tidy? Breaking Bad’s 94%-Pure, True-Blue Conclusion

The reviews were in last Monday for the finale of Breaking Bad and some cried:  “It’s too tidy.  It’s too neat.  The rest of the show wasn’t like this.”  It was the polar opposite of the terrible “But-They-Were-All-Dead-All-Along” finale of Lost.  It had no irritating fade to black with Tony’s knowing smile as he sees his daughter or a hit-man in The Sopranos.  Sure, Walter White didn’t wake up beside Suzanne Pleshette like the end of The Newhart Show, but the ending of Breaking Bad was completely satisfying because it was so neat–as precise as Walt’s nearly pure blue meth. Marty Robbins’ classic “El Paso” is the song that Walt sings to himself as he assembles the ol’ “machine-gun-in-the-oversized trunk” trick.  We don’t know what’s going on.  We’ve seen the gun for many episodes.  But our complete trust in Walt’s intelligence (for bad or good) is what made the show… Read More…

The Anatomy of a Great ’80s Pop Rock Song

There’s a reason no one in music makes songs like the pop rock ballads of the 80’s anymore. It’s not because that kind of organized noise is out of style or because it’s difficult to recreate the sound of obsolete synthesizers and early ’80s, electric Yamaha drums, but because I don’t believe there is anyone in the pop music world right now with the vision, skills or intellectual wherewithal to come up with the classics that were bred from the likes of Toto, Journey, Styx, Foreigner, et cetera.  What makes those ’80s rock songs so great though? Sometimes, it’s hard to pinpoint. Fear not, though, because Kale is here to give you the breakdown on what makes these  ’80s pop rock songs so perfect. To illustrate this, I will dissect The Alan Parsons Project tune “Games People Play”. Why this song? Well, you may only know of The Alan Parsons… Read More…

5 Beatles Covers That Are Better Than the Original

This post is gonna offend people.  But it shouldn’t.  People are really sensitive about their media. People are especially sensitive about remakes, covers, books that are made into movies and special editions. For a lot of us, the first version of a song or a story we hear is THE version of that song or story, and anyone who tried to do it again, well, it’s just not as good. The word remake, especially in the cinematic universe, is often a four letter word. Especially these days, when we’ve got remakes of “Poltergeist” coming out. Why do we need to remake movies that are already so good? I mean, I’m with you people on that. We don’t need a remake of “All the President’s Men” or “Dog Day Afternoon”. That’s why Hollywood has come up with the term “reboot”. Reboots are suppose to be film franchises that restart in a… Read More…

Dreaming and Hoping: Cruising Woodward, Happy Days and Retconning a Decade with Fictional American Idealism

I can see why a lot of people don’t like the Dream Cruise, especially if you live in that area. Or, as is in my case, the Dream Cruise can be a big ol’ inconvenience to those who have to work in the Bloomfield Hills to Royal Oak area. It’s loud, a lot of the people are annoying. You can’t get anywhere quick, if you can get anywhere at all. Vendors are closed, and it’s no honeymoon trying to make the last FedEx pick up in Birmingham the Thursday and Friday before the actual Dream Cruise.  So, I get it. It seems there are more haters every year, though. In classic Michigander style, we like to complain when there’s nothing going on as much as we like to complain when an event prevents us from doing the nothing things that we would typically do on any given weekend. From the… Read More…

5 Songs That Will Shave 10 Seconds Off Your Mile

‘shopped by John Kalmar, @johnkalmar I used to be as inactive as it gets. My life was just sitting and watching other people being active in high school. I’d sit around and listen to music, play video games, watch movies, watch sports. But I wasn’t really getting around and doing much. By the time I was 16, I started to realize that if I wanted to, I could really go out there and be physical in my spare time. In order to motivate myself, I decided to get into the podcast scene. I’d throw on a podcast, and go for a walk. Walks turned into sporadic running and sporadic running turned into running, no walking. Eventually, I wanted to be better, faster, stronger. I began to find that there were certain songs I could listen to that would actually dredge up emotion within me that would push me to limits… Read More…

Motown’s Magic: Soul-Searching at 5th Grade Camp

I work a lot with people who are from out of town. When they ask me what’s special about Michigan and Detroit, the thing I bring up first is always Motown. A lot of people who don’t grow up in the area aren’t as conscious about Motown and its history as we are here in Southeast Michigan. The thing about Motown songs, though—just like, I’d say, songs by The Beatles—is that even if you aren’t a hardcore fan, you still “know” every song. So when I tell people that “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” “Baby, I Need Your Loving” and “Do You Love Me? (Now That I Can Dance)” all came from Detroit’s most successful pop culture think-tank, Motown Records, everyone is always impressed and intrigued about Detroit’s cultural history. And these songs and talents resonate with us so. Growing up, it seemed like 104.3 was always on in my car when… Read More…