Legendary Detroit rock band The Rockets release 4-song EP

therockets2014When original guitarist Jim McCarty decided in 2011 to quit the legendary Detroit rock band The Rockets, the brief reunion seemed over.  McCarty and drummer, songwriter and co-founder Johnny “Bee” Badanjek were members of  Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels, and later formed The Rockets, a Midwest, heartland rock and roll band that could never quite hit the heights of a guy like Bob Seger. Cleveland has the Michael Stanley Band. Detroit had The Rockets

A few years ago, the two enlisted frontman Jim Edwards, and made a comeback.  Live shows, but no albums.  Until now.  The great Gary Graff, a longtime Detroit area music writer does a terrific job telling the story of the new record.  Worth a read. The first studio release in 30 years is a four song E.P. called Greetings From Detroit

They played a show on Saturday, Dec. 28, at the Fillmore Detroit, debuting the material.

VIDEO: Truth and Salvage Co. in the studio

truthandSalvageCotitleThe coolest band in my world.  I’ve heard some of the new records’ songs on a demo.  Great hang backstage at the Avett Brothers show in Indy.  Always good dudes.  And they rock like I want a band to rock, with some country, some gospel and some Memphis soul.

Check out this video.  Best part?  As they are listening  to Joe South’s original take on “Games People Play” – great tune.


I saw Mellencamp do a Joe South medley for his encore at Cobo Arena in Detroit during the Scarecrow tour.  It killed.  Georgia Satellites did decent cover on 1989’s Land of Salvation and Sin album.

Oh, and at the 1:55 mark, the camera goes 90 degrees sideways, and we hear people singing “for he’s a jolly good fellow” and see a dog barking.  Surreal and kinda beautiful.

Roots Rock Notes: Gaslight Anthem live acoustic, Wilco on tour, Petty kicks back, Son Volt’s new album

I have your audio, your video, the news you didn’t know, and it’s all free. Unbelieveable, I know.
.: Hey, ho, rock and roll. Deliver me from nowhere… :.

•Brian Fallon and his band The Gaslight Anthem are one of the (deservedly so) hot bands right now – schooled in the art of the garage rock and the rock-with-a punk-edge bands like The Replacements. “I don’t think there would be a Gaslight Anthem without the Replacements,” Fallon told SPIN Magazine. He played an acoustic cover of the Minnesota indie band’s “Left of the Dial,” and it is posted on the magazine’s website.
Watch 3 song acoustic session including “That ’59 Sound” and “Left of the Dial”.

WILCO IN BLOOMINGTON w/ Hawk and a Hacksaw opening
•A legendary alt-country band, right? One step removed from Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy and his band are in Bloomington for a show at the Jeff TweedyIU Memorial Auditorium on April 16. It’s not sold out; kinda interesting. The band plays two nights in Milwaukee before coming to Bloomington, and both of those are sold out, though the proximity of Milwaukee to Chicago aids that sale. (you can hear two previous concerts on their website)

According to the band site, a still-untitled next Wilco album is nearing completion. Jim Scott and the band just finished mixing in Jim’s studio in Valencia, California. They list song titles, though the record isn’t sequenced and some titles may change:
Deeper Down
Conscript (aka I’ll Fight)
One Wing
Wilco (the song)
Country Disappeared
Bull Black Nova
Sonny Feeling
You and I

WILCO American Tour Schedule (from wilcoworld.net)

→Son Volt will return this summer with their sixth-full length album. The new record is titled American Central Dust.

→Rosanne Cash is dipping back into her childhood for her next album, “The List”.”‘The List’ is based on a list my father made for me when I was 18 years old,” Cash tells Billboard. “He called it the ‘100 Essential Country Songs’ and said if I learned this list, I would be truly educated. We are culling about 15 songs from the list, and re-interpreting them, with the respect of an archivist…”.

→Ron Wood said that he’s recorded about a dozen songs for a solo album called “More Good News.” Produced by Bob Rock and Wood , with gueststhat include Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

→Sister Hazel plays at the Bluebird in Bloomington on Friday night.

“We played on the last tour and there were some empty seats here and there and, well, there shouldn’t be any empty seats at an E Street Band show,” he told the LA Times. “I hold pride that we remain one of the great wonders of the world . . . so sometimes you got to remind people a little bit.”
read full story

The Beatles whole catalog is going to be digitally re-mastered and released on September 9. The remastered discs will be available individually in stereo and in two box sets – one stereo and another in mono. Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles for Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, The Beatles (The White Album), Abbey Road and Let It Be all get remastered, plus Past Masters I and II.

→The David Lynch Foundation’s Transcendental Meditation benefit in New York became a Beatles reunion of sorts as Ringo Starr joined Paul McCartney on stage for the show’s three-song finale at Radio City Music Hall
read story here

John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives
John Paul Keith is a native of Knoxville, TN, living in Memphis and has played in a lot of bands (The V-Roys, among others). Listen to his tunes on myspace and if you want to (BOOTLEG ALERT) download a free live album of his work, click on this link
“This was a gig I did in Knoxville at the Corner Lounge about 3 years ago, with a pickup band put together by Jeff,” Keith said. “This was an important gig for me at the time, because I hadn’t played my songs in public in about 2 years, and it was really great to play for the home folks. It really inspired me to get going again. Not long after that show, the One Four Fives eventually got together in Memphis.”

•Inside the randomness that is my digital library. Shuffling the iPod, and we take the first five tunes, starting now:

1. “Lookin’ For Love” – J. Geils Band
From a bootleg recorded in Detroit in 1977. They are the only band I have never seen live that I really wanted to. I grew up in Michigan, so word would filter out of Detroit that the band had played some four-hour show at a club. By the time they went big with Freeze Frame in 1980, the nastiness was a bit worn off. Their live albums before that, especially “Blow Your Face Out”, are essential.

After spending most of this decade on hiatus, they played the new House of Blues club in Boston in February and will return to Detroit to play the Fillmore April 24.. The HOB set was reportedly great, as the Patriot-Ledger described the band as “light-years beyond every expectation, inhumanly tight despite a lengthy hiatus, and palpably enjoying every minute of their return”.

2. “That’s What I Am” – Dan Baird
Off his first solo record “Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired”, this is a party song set to a Chuck Berry-meets-Replacements groove. The hit off this album was the cute but cool “I Love You Period”. I saw this tour in Fort Wayne, with a band that had (speaking of the Replacements) Slim Dunlap on guitar.

3. ” So Hard Done By” – The Tragically Hip
Who the hell is Tragically Hip, you ask? Probably one the most critically acclaimed rock and roll bands to come from Canada. Another show I saw in Fort Wayne (at the same bar as Baird too). Really underplayed on radio stations of America. They are like a Canadian Cheap Trick – been around forever, melodic songs, and great live show. They also harken back to the 70’s with echoes of REO along with a definite 1990’s alt rock taste, yet not overwhelmingly so.  I hear BoDeans in their music too.

4. ”Kiss Me in the Dark” – Randy Rogers Band
Some of that great Red Dirt country rock, out of Texas and Oklahoma. One of my favorite sounds is this little genre. Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney Larue, and Charlie Robison are just a few who have made a career touring Texas. Rogers has now been on Letterman and “The Tonight Show” in the past year.

5. “Fallen Angel” (live) – Poison
I’ve got no problem pledging my love to the golden age of Poison, and it survives, even through the whole Bret Michaels “Rock Bus of Love” thing. Part bubble gum rock, part heartland rock (the band is from Pennsylvania, in case we all forgot), and complete candy. Plus the original members are still together, so that counts fror something. Guilty pleasure? Your call.

Tom Petty
•Excellent interview with Tom Petty on his website from late last year that I just came across. It includes the greatest answer ever to the the following question:
Interviewer: “Tell me about a day-in-the-life of Tom Petty, off the road and out of the studio. What’s on the itinerary?”
Tom Petty: “It could be any number of things. That house I have on a lake plays a big role these days. I get some books, sit around and read for awhile, then maybe go out on my boat and try to catch a few bass, come in and watch a few movies in the evening, maybe smoke one, play guitar or noodle at the piano. But this not working thing is, for me, really harder than working” (laughs).

Read full interview (.pdf) – interviewed by Warren Zanes, former guitar player for Del Fuegos and now a Ph.D who teaches, and was a past VP of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BONUS: I am in Indianapolis. Heartland and shit. So I want to feature some Indiana roots rockers on the blog; there are many around who fit not-so-neatly into the Americana genre.  Look for them here soon.

“Check check. One-two.  Testing one-two…ssss. Ch…ch…Check.” 
Let’s make sure this thing is on…
Blue Flannel Shirt – Rusty Bladen

Busted Flat in Detroit

The man, dressed in a black t-shirt, khaki pants and worn loafers, was standing in front of me. He looked rattled, as if someone had just told him a friend decided to leave town.

Yeah, left town. The friend was cash from this man=s pocket.

This gentleman, not more than 35 years old, sporting a black beard riddled with pockets of visible skin, was smoking Marlboro Lights as fast as he could breath. But he was not enjoying the leisurely drag-and-exhale rhythm of a relaxed smoker.

Nope, this man was in the suck-and-blow zone, holding the burning cigarette between his third and fourth fingers of his left hand.

A trembling left hand.

The trembling undoubtedly was related to the $1,200 he had just lost.

Lost may be the wrong word. He knew where it was, what hole it had gone into. It was in someone else=s pocket

The man in black turned and walked my direction, rushing by, going somewhere, eyes looking past me. Maybe he was headed to an ATM machine.


While Las Vegas is the glittering land of opportunity, both grand and false, and all of Nevada calls casino gambling legal, Detroit is holding onto hope that casino gambling can cure one of the city=s main diseases – the lack of reasons for people to visit one of the nation=s largest cities.

Within the last 12 months, a decrepit Detroit has become home to a pair of full-fledged, land-locked, could-be-Vegas-after-a-few-drinks gambling establishments. The MGM and the Motor City Casino have invaded territory once and still crumbling, giving Detroiters a reason to believe their city may still be alive. But like Atlantic City before it, Detroit may have simply turned a couple of old buildings into places for state residents to give their money away.

While those who like the idea of casinos in Detroit point towards Canadian city neighbor Windsor as a reason to have gambling (Windsor had casino gambling for a few years before Detroit residents voted to have some too, fearing they were missing out on a giant windfall), one trip to Detroit=s slot and table establishments seems to make one thing clear.

Tourism isn=t what is winning.

No, nearly all of the auto license plates in the new Motor City Casino parking garage are from Michigan. There is no on-site hotel. Both casinos are in situated on a well-worn Grand River Boulevard, hardly a sparkling street full of pedestrian traffic.

Those doing most of the gambling on this particular Wednesday night were residents of the city, and commuters who lived close enough to drive a couple hours back home.

Not that any of the experience is wrong. Hey, it=s your money. Spend it any way you want. Only not everybody starts with the same amount of cash, and those who lose the most usually have the most.


Let=s wander over this way, towards the valley of the small-time gambler. The nickel slots, tucked into faraway corners of the first and second floor of the four floor Motor City Casino, are populated predominately by women, though most look like they can afford to lose a couple bucks and still be able to buy a cheeseburger or three on the way home. Coins clink into the metal slot machine trays, lot of noise signifying little profit. A top-end jackpot on these machines might net a player 1,000 nickels – 50 bucks.

Quarter slots are very everywhere, as are 50 cent and dollar slot machines. Most of the folks hopping from machine to machine don=t seem to excited to be playing, other than a twenty-something African-American fellow who spins and wins $600 on a dollar machine as I walk by.

AI=m out, dude. No kidding, I=m done,@ he tells a friend standing alongside as the machine spits out his winnings.

Really, we=re out,@ he repeats, trying to convince himself he needs to quit.

But most people playing don=t get to make that kind of decision. After a couple hours, and a hole $140 deep, I have begun searching for interesting people to watch. I have reached by self-imposed limit and it is time to find others who lose better than I.


Sitting at a blackjack table alongside the woman with silver hoop earrings, gorgeous jet black hair and a low cut black dress is a man who could be president. He looks like Bill Clinton, with the same coifed gray hair, similar bit of a bulb nose, and a seemingly endless supply of cash.

Sporting a denim shirt with a button-down collar, here is a guy who thinks he has it going on. While the woman is not with him, he glances at her, especially when he wins a hand. He is betting enough on each hand to make my house payment.

This guy is playing blackjack at a table marked with a A$100 minimum@ placard. He starts most deals with $300 per hand, and he is playing two hands.

He is losing, and doing it consistently.

The woman is not glancing back. Through one rack of cards, lasting no more than ten minutes, he puts more than $5,000 on the table, any is down about $2,000 in the few minutes I have been standing three steps behind him, centered between him and the lady.

Were it not for one spectacular hand that saw him win $800, he would have lost close to $5,000 as I watched. Ten minutes. Lots of green chips, worth 100 buck each, went into the

casino=s rack. Twice, when he lost both of his $300 dollar hands, the Bill Clinton look alike turned around, making eye contact with me. Like it was my fault.

And maybe it was, because it sure was compelling to watch someone lose that much money.


But even the thrill of success found through watching other fools Ago toilet@ with their money gets old. Four hours in a room with no clocks, no windows, and no free drinks is enough when you are not winning money. So I left.

On the way out of the building, passing the last row of table games, I spot the man in black again. He=s must still be losing, because he is spinning his body 180 degrees just as I walk by. He must have been dealt a bad hand. His luck must still be bad, because he has the same third-and-fourth finger shaky hold on his Marlboro Light and is still sucking and blowing, as if the harder he smokes, the more quickly his money will magically reappear.

Shoot, maybe he won it all back. He was still playing as I swung the double glass doors open to a lit parking garage. Making tracks towards my car, a man in a tattered Detroit Lions shirt is standing at the end of a parking row. As I walk past him, he asks if I have a dollar. I say Asorry, not today.@

But buddy, just inside the glass doors, that=s where the money is. But most of it isn=t coming into the parking lot tonight. Or any night.

And just for fun, watch a Detroit legend….