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November 18, 2004 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-18

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S6
6B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 18, 2004

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I

MUSIC FOR A NEW
MOTOWN: DETROIT'S
CHANGING ROCK SCENE

By Lauren Smith
For the Daily

The Shelter at St. Andrew's Hall In Detroit is a popular venue for both local and national bands.

In the living room of 2648 West
Grand Blvd, Detroit, in the summer
of 1959, Barry Gordy created "Hits-
ville, USA," a space that would
soon become a vortex of musical
history, the voice for street-cor-
ner, gospel choir, rhythm and blues
sound conjured in living rooms and
basements. A name that began as a
variation of "Motor City" became a
resonating word in American cul-
ture: the sound of Motown.
Driving down West Grand Bou-
levard today, some cold November
weekday, with the nostalgia longing
for the echo of Smokey Robinson,
the groove of the Funk Broth-
ers, the harmony of the Supremes,
where are the ghosts of that legend-
ary Motown sound?
While standing amid the chaotic
organized clutter of vinyls, CDs
and tapes of Ann Arbor's Encore
Records, Fred Thomas of Saturday
Looks Good to Me says, "Motown
is forever. That's what good music
is all about."
But, Hitsville, USA, is a histori-
cal museum today, not a basement
full of music-makers.
"Motown was a scene that lasted
for its decade or so, like most other
musical movements," says Larry
Lanzetta, vocalist and guitarist in
"hard-core trip-hop" band Johnny
No Stars. "It sort of floated away
but it definitely left its traces. These
can definitely be picked up on. But
you have to create a scene. That's
what we're trying to do. Create a
scene."
But what is the scene in Detroit
today? Does Jack White with his
White Stripes and the explosion of

garage bands speak for the Detroit
music scene? Do Eminem and the
"8 Mile" hype, or Slum Village and
their Detroit Deli, with hip-hop
and head-to-head rhyme battles? Is
it in the electronic explosion from
the mid-'80s through now, with
the Detroit Experiment, the Under-
ground Resistance, Carl Craig and
the Techno Boulevard? Is it with
experimental fusion of funk-beats,
percussion and indie-improv of
Nomo and Cloud Nine?
Windy Weber, who owns Stormy
Records in Dearborn, a source for
independent music and host for sev-
eral small shows, affirms that "peo-
ple are doing every kind of music
you could possibly find. Of course,
the media pays attention to blues
and garage rock, but Detroit's base
is really an eclectic one." All these
various types of music find their
hearts in one similar vein, a Detroit
home base.
As Greg Baise, director of mar-
keting and promotions at the Majes-
tic Theater, says, "People respect
Detroit musically from the old
Motown stuff and the '60s rock
bands. But it's about the Detroit
techno too and the new garage
bands." The music scene in Detroit
today - whether it's blues, rock,
electronic, indie - remember
its roots. Baise, who has lived in
Michigan all his life, from Detroit
to Ann Arbor to Plymouth, says of
Detroit, "It's a real-deal town."
Thomas, who has been in play-
ing music in the state since he was
12, says: "I'm now 28. I've been all
around and there is no other place
like Michigan. There's different
concepts and themes today, but
no matter what the music, there's
See MOTOWN, page 14B

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