Sunday, May 24, 2015

"They Would Pick Him Up When He Fell." Rolling Stones Visit Gibson Guitar Factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1975

Keith Richards and Ron Wood tour the Gibson guitar factory July of 1975.
Like most of the small to medium sized rust belt burgs located within the inescapable gravitational pull of Detroit, auto manufacturing was a driving force in the economy of Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Until the mid-1990s, K-Zoo was home to both the Checker Motors Corporation and GM's two-million sq. foot Fisher Body stamping plant.) But, in a textbook example that odd dichotomy and attitude that defined the rust belt, Kalamazoo was also home to Gibson Guitar Factory--i.e., "yeah, wood or metal, strings or wheels, it don't matter much to us, we MAKE shit here." Founded as the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg Co. Ltd in the early 20th century, Gibson called 225 Parsons St. home until the move of its operations to Nashville was complete in 1984. A decade earlier, the Stones came to visit.
Gibson was owned by Norlin in '75, and in retrospect quality was at an all-time low. Ron Wood was still a relatively new Stone, and the band was slated to play COBO Hall on July 27 and 28. Keef was still living in 24/7 party mode.
Jump on over to MLive for the rest of the photos and the complete story.
As for the old factory on Parsons St.? It's still humming, turning out some of the finest quality instruments available today as the Heritage Guitar company.
(Photos Courtesy of WMU Archives and Regional History Collections)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Burger Thang Detroit, May 29 - June 25

Neue Haus Detroit presents Burger Thang, a show of recent works by Matt O’Brien, Chris Moore, and Greg Bokor. Official Release: Around 1982 a small group of kids from Mt. Clemens, Ann Arbor, Hudsonville, Bloomfield Hills, East Lansing and Maumee, Ohio all would meet at a ‘hole in the wall’ around the corner of Cass Avenue and Willis. That ‘hole in the wall’ was called the Freezer Theatre. They played in bands together and hung out at the Burger King on Cass Avenue. Out of this petri dish came the bands; Negative Approach, The Necros, The Meatmen, and Bored Youth, to name a few.

Three of that small group, Matt O’Brien, Chris Moore and Greg Bokor have since focused their talents on making art amongst other ventures. This show reunites them and the city that gave them much of their inspiration during that time.

Burger Thang runs from May 29-June 25 at Spread Art @detroit contemporary on 5141 Rosa Parks, Detroit.

Public Opening and Artist Talk,Thursday, May 29 at 7pm with Matt O’Brien, Chris Moore, and Greg Bokor. Burgers and drinks will be available.

Admission: Free Donation of $5 is suggested.

Contact for more information or visit the tumblr 

Neue Haus Detroit is a roving art, music, and artisan exhibition. Augusta Morrison is the founder and curator. NHD focuses on emerging artists and creating experiential happenings in alternative art spaces.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Since 1927 – Green Lantern Restaurant

Click on image to view in fabulous PDGB Expandomatic™ glory

"Hamburgs and F-Fries." Owned and operated by the same family since 1927,  killer graphics, and choice vittles–What else do you need to know? The Green Lantern is located at 509 Broadway Street, Toledo, Ohio.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

#11 With an Anvil: That Time The Necros Outsold U2, Michael Jackson and Fun Boy Three #tbt

Recently unearthed RockPool Chart from 1983

Back when people still bought records, several organizations made a viable business out of reporting the sales numbers. One of them was Rockpool, an agency who devoted at least part of its energies to tracking  the latest trends in the independent and alternative scenes. It's no secret that these results were often less than clinical, and the numbers could easily be manipulated to reflect the the tastes of the store or distributor employee tasked tabulating the results. Whatever the case, scoring well on both coasts made a nice addition to the press kit.

This example, dated July 24, 1983, came our way via John Brannon (Negative Approach, Laughing Hyenas, Easy Action) and Larissa Stolarchuk / Strickland (L7), who found it on the desk of Detroit  promoter Vince Bannon at the original Clutch Cargo's, Located at 64 W. Elizabeth Street in downtown Detroit. John and Larissa where living in the building at the time, and promptly put it in the hands of  Corey Rusk, head honcho of Touch and Go Records and former Necros bassist.

Monday, July 7, 2014

This Machine Kills Teenage Boredom: Where Is It Now?

Ibanez Deluxe 59'er "Lawsuit" Les Paul Copy
Featuring a low price of entry and above average playability, this guitar was the ideal weapon in the war on teenage boredom. Some two decades before these gits were considered "collectable," this example came into my life wearing Grover tuning pegs, a brass nut, and a Dimarzio X2N pickup in the bridge and a Super II in the neck. In other words, massive ass kicking capability without the financial risk associated with domestic instruments. Artistic expression frustration soon revealed it possessed the almost supernatural ability to remain in near perfect tune, even after repeated aerial maneuvers and the associated hard landings. I had Lemmy sign it in gold paint marker in '85, but that had started to fade by the time it disappeared. It may or may not of had an "ULTRA 94" sticker between the pickups.

Unfortunately, it was "lost" in Minneapolis at 7th Street Entry in 1987. On tour with the Circle Jerks, the 59'er never made it back into the Necros van that night. Although the idea of this axe being haphazardly strummed by some 15-year old in a musty basement somewhere trying to play along with the Heartbreakers' L.A.M.F. LP is appealing, I'd rather have it back. In the slim chance this missive finds it's way to someone who knows of its whereabouts, do tell. The story alone will be worth the wait.

PS: They are called "lawsuit" models because Gibson sued-and won-to force Ibanez to quit using the "mustache" or "open book" headstock shape.
When lost, this Ibanez was in a generic case.
Circle Jerks, Necros, First Avenue, 7th Street Entry, Negative Approach, Punk, Touch and Go, Gibson, Fender, stolen guitar