Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Detroit Devil's Night Fires

Devils Night in Detroit was BIG news, when we were kids it was soapin' windows and ringin' doorbells... gremlin stuff for sure... it was also the only day you could dress as a person of the opposite gender... and get away with it... you know, Halloween and all. General FREAK show downtown and everybody had a ball...in later years it took on a more tragic and bizare tone as fires raged all across town... insurance jobs, I ben' told.

Now the ZENTA thing, which was never fully explained to us by the MC5, yet heartily embraced as our "Religion", had it's HIGH Holy Days of October 30-31, New Years Eve to us... with ritual, sacramental offerings of pyscho-active substances performed at every opportunity... weed, acid...like that. It was told to me by "Bob "Righteous" Rudnik, a DJ, poet and knowledgable rapscalion, that Zenta originated as a pan handling routine by JC Crawford in New york City... who knows, who cares...it was OUR's and we ran with it.

The MC5 recorded their first album, Kick out the JAMS!, LIVE at the Grande Ballroom on these 2 special days in 1968. Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson says it was the FIRST LIVE Rock n' Roll Album EVER recorded! There was a sound truck outside... a couple thousand crazed teen-agers inside...and they wouldn't let me in.

Trip ahead 28 years to 1998, when I, as BIG VIDEO, and our body guard, Kevin Ernst, was invited to attend the gala re-opening of the Grande with a Documentary film crew as they interviewed Dennis INSIDE the Ballroom, amid the tumbled down plaster and beams and very... heavy... vibes.

Check it out...it was really good for me.

1 comment:

Fast Film said...

Once again, fascinating recollections, particularly for those of us out on the coast.

Current Ann Arbor (and truly excellent) noise/power trio Awesome Color wrote a song about Devil's Night called "Burning" on the second of their three releases. Has anyone else?