Tag Archives: The 70s



My mom used to watch The Mike Douglas Show “religiously;” she thought he was “so handsome,” and “you know, I believe he’s also Catholic!!!” “But then he has “SUCH WEIRDOS” on his show, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT HE’S THINKING!!!” “That foul-mouthed Richard Pryor, and who is that freak with the Afro?” “And Zappa? Where is HE from?” “Don’t even get me started about Lennon – we should never have gotten you those Beatles records … you might have turned out normal.”

Thanks, mom, if you hadn’t gotten me those Beatles records, I might have turned out normal.





Sit Down!


I can’t remember what year this was — maybe 73 or 74 — Sly and the Family Stone were doing two nights at the Royal Oak Theater. My friends and I had tickets for the Saturday night performance. Well, Sly, um, had some problems or something on Friday night, and didn’t make it to that night’s show. Being it was the mid-70’s I guess it wasn’t a problem to let all the Friday night ticket-holders into the Saturday night show (both shows were sold out, of course.) So it was completely, fire-hazardly, packed in the theater, and when they were doing “Stand,” people were all standing up on the seats, some standing two to one chair. Sly singing “STAND!”, and the security guards screaming at everyone, “SIT DOWN!!!” One of the greatest shows, ever.

P.S. You try dancing on an upholstered chair with 5 inch platform shoes and live to tell the tale.

Memories 1, 2, 3


My dad’s favorite joke: At a dance a guy with a wooden eye goes up to a gal with a hairlip and he asks her to dance. She goes, “oh, would I, would I,” and he goes, “hairlip, hairlip!” He’d tell that joke after a couple of scotch and sodas and just laugh and laugh. Oh, dad.

My youngest brother and sister, who were born eight months apart (Irish twins) had their own language that no one understood. They’d sometimes say the same word at the same time, and they’d go “jinx,” and then “you ate it.” And then laugh hysterically.

One time as a teenager I came home stoned and almost late for supper. This used to infuriate my father – he wouldn’t really know that I was stoned, just that I was late for dinner. So this time I was late and he goes, “You’re DOCKED!” And I go, “I AM NOT!” thinking he was saying that I was stoned. I didn’t realize that he was saying that I was grounded. The initial grounding went from two to three weeks, which I thought was extra punitive.


Psych from Afrika


Continuing my Saturday morning diskjockering…. There was so much fuzzed out greatness going on in different parts of Africa (particularly Zambia) during the 70s which much of the world didn’t know about. http://www.nuvo.net/ACulturalManifesto/archives/2013/08/20/african-psychedelic-rock  For a steady diet of this kind of stuff, check out Kinda Cloudy Radio on kfai.org/kindacloudyradio – DJ Steely will hook you up with some amazing Afrobeat and more.

Happy Birthday Wayne Kramer.


I’ve had two job interviews this week, and at the end of each of them, they asked me about music. I LOVED THAT! One question was what album would you take to a deserted island (that would be Funhouse by The Stooges) – they liked my answer. And at today’s interview, the question was what type of music do you like, and I went into my, “Well, MC5 and The Stooges and stuff from early 70’s Detroit,” and she knew what I was talking about, and said, “Oh, cool!” I LOVED THAT, TOO! I will like working at either of these places – I mean for other reasons, of course, but asking these questions at the end just put the cherry on the sundae for me.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Brother Wayne Kramer, your existence on this planet changed things in strange and inexplicable ways. I can’t imagine how it would’ve gone down without you…I mean we would’ve had Sonic, of course, but – I don’t know – the MC5 might not have gotten started. Who knows? And that would’ve been BAD.

I am here to tell you…


…that Bob Seger was cool at one point in time, coolness being relative, of course. I saw him before he “broke out” with “Night Moves,” at the Lincoln Park Theater (here’s a link to a Detroit Free Press interview about “those days”) http://www.freep.com/article/20070312/ENT04/103120103/A-definitive-oral-history-Seger-s-early-years – and by a lot of accounts, including John Sinclair, Bob was a pretty nice guy. So his pop music got pretty cheesy with his commercial success, and I’m sure a lot of people resented that, but whaddya gonna do? Um, he didn’t turn into Ted, did he?

So my (now) hubby and I were interfiling our record collection many moons ago (that’s how I knew we’d be married some day.) He gave me so much grief when he came across my Bob Seger Sound System “Mongrel” album – at the time I was trying hard to be a cool dj or something. I felt awfully embarrassed about owning that lp, and actually sold it to our roommate from Detroit. I was such Bob_Seger_-_Mongrela fool to succumb to such hipster bullying and pressure – I have made his life miserable for over twenty one years now, so there’s that. And now I need to replace that album, cuz I want it back!




Onaway to Onaway


The 3 Water Nymphs of Onaway

Talk about a Throwback Thursday! My dear friend Sue Zuke O’Shaughnessy (Suzuki) just sent me this pic of her (middle), Robin Duke (left) and me (right) – we are posing pretty in a stream during a camping trip to Onaway, Michigan. I remember the moment and the weekend (well, most of it.) I think I was about sixteen there. I know, rawowwww, right? We were such little shits. We all used to lie to our parents as to where we were heading for the weekend – I think we used to use Marcie Byrnes’ mom for a lot of our stories – I believe the story was that Ma Byrnes had a cabin somewhere up north (she didn’t.) But it seemed plausible to our trusting parents. And Ma Byrnes would cover our asses if anyone ever called her about it.

I think Jenny took this picture and was the driver this weekend – we had her Dad’s Ford Lincoln Brougham – we were pimpin, man! But Jenny drove that thing like it was an all terrain vehicle. I don’t think she ever wrecked anything, but there’d be grass, hay and twigs stuck to the bottom when we’d return – I can’t imagine what her Dad thought. My Dad would’ve killed me.

We had quite a few weekends like this one, but the weather was really great for Onaway, the partying was lively with our little biker crew from the big A-P (Allen Park), no one got hurt (safety was always on our minds), and enough beer was consumed. How do you spell success?

This is Paul Butterfield’s Harmonica


I really could have much worse songs stuck in my head today, correct?

An old flame of mine (I’ll call him “Frank,” because his name was Frank) played bass, regular guitar and harmonica – we’re talking mid-70s – and he used to tell everyone that Paul Butterfield gave him his harmonica. Of course, I was so enamored with him that I believed him. Frank would disappear from our little scene (a park we all hung out at) for weeks at a time, and then return and tell us he had been to Chicago playing with various famous blues people.

We spoke on the phone several times 30  years later, and he denied ever having said that about Paul Butterfield. “No, Frank, you were a total bullshitter,” I reminded him.

Oh well, no harm done. Not about the harmonica, anyway.

P.S. I went to a Paul Butterfield show with a 103-degree fever, and I would do it again.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

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Everyone Should See Detroit At Least Once!


People tell me that they’ve never been to Detroit but would like to see it once and I always tell them – “Yes, go! You’ve got to see it to believe how awful it is!” Forbes Magazine recently gave Detroit the enviable title of “Most Miserable City in America.” Poor, poor Detroit.

Before your trip, check out the award-winning documentary Detropia. It will give you a little context on the phenomenon that is Detroit. It is an excellent movie that tracks several Detroit natives and really goes into the background of these people’s lives and their perspectives of why Detroit is the way it is. Detropia’s producers started out with the intent of making a film about the young artists who have moved into Detroit and converted warehouses into art spaces, and empty lots into gardens. It was supposed to be a “feel good” movie. When the producers began doing their research and saw the real Detroit, the focus of their documentary completely changed and they felt they needed to show what was truly happening there.

Detroit’s really been messed up since the riots in the 60s. My family moved to the Detroit area in 1971, and I can recall taking our first tour of the city and seeing burned out tenement slums left over from the riots. Even Newark, New Jersey, where my grandparents lived, seemed to have recovered better after its 1967 riots.

This is a quote from the WebUrbanist.com:

Following the riot, the city [Detroit] continued its rapid decline. The industry that built Detroit moved on to other locations. Inner-city residents fled their homes by the thousands. Every race and every economic class was affected by this exodus; the city simply bled away until it held less than half its former population.

I have read theories about the reasons for Detroit’s decline having to do with poor city planning and the lack of diversity in industries. Yes, it’s Motor City, they make cars and trucks there, or at least they used to. But the area was too focused on that one industry, and that was just foolish. Add in the insane politics and politicians that Detroit has had, and you can see why this poor city has taken a beating.

At any rate, you should definitely go there, by all means! Stay at the MotorCity Casino Hotel, where one visitor stated it was “nice, but run by thugs.” I think this hotel would provide the appropriate mood for your visit. Make sure you tip everyone at the hotel generously, and of course bring plenty of extra cash to lose at their casino. It’s doubtful that you’ll win anything.


The Grande Ballroom

Take some anti-depressants and take the “Ruins of Detroit Tour,” a guided bus tour of the famous remains of some of the historic mansions and formerly grand buildings, especially the abandoned Michigan Central Station, a huge majestic train station. Hopefully, you’ll also get to see the Grande Ballroom, where the mighty MC5 and The Stooges tore it up on the stage and created the Detroit Rock City sound. Detroit’s crumbled remains have been the subject of many photographers who have seen much beauty in the rubble, so bring your camera along.

If you’re feeling brave, you can drive around the city on your own. Be sure you fill up your tank with gas, because you won’t want to run out in some of the areas you’ll be driving through. You will see blocks and blocks of empty lots and dilapidated houses. The last time I was there, I saw a neighborhood full of small red brick houses with overgrown bushes all over them, like a jungle just formed around them. Several of the houses had trees growing right through the middle of them. The neighborhoods look like something out of a science fiction movie – one of those “fifteen minutes into the future” sort of stories. Just gives you the creeps.

For even more adventure and fun, the website http://www.motorcyclemonster.com/ gives you the latest happenings from Detroit’s finest bike clubs. Go rent a Harley Davidson and join in the fun and games. I don’t know, maybe you’ll quit your job and live the biker life from here on out. It could be a life-altering experience. I remember one fun day when I was hanging out with Al the biker – his club had stopped traffic in a park and were making people get out and do a little dance before they were able to pass. Just good clean fun!biker

So make your reservations now to go to Detroit City – it will treat you bad. But you’ll be glad you did. You’ll kiss the ground when you return home and look at your own life in a whole new light.