Monday, April 26, 2010
Big Rich shooting a show
An OBSESSION, that's what it was! I remember how it started... Spring of '87... We went on a Run with a couple hundred Harleys, way out in the country... People were throwin' beer cans at the guys in the 'Vette shootin' video.... I can do that... (shoot video), I figured... so I did.
Big Rich and BIG camcorder!
The next Run, my Brother Tony packed me and the Video Cam on the back of his Hog and off we rode. The Bikers LOVED it, all kinda scoots and chicks and fun and games.... They didn't throw cans, I'm here to say. Tony had a bumper sticker from Daytona Bike Week on the back of his helmet, it said, "SHIT HAPPENS"... Yes, it does.
Big and brother Tony
I just started shootin' every thing goin' on... It truly became an Obsession.The power to grab these crazy events and KEEP them was mind-blowing! No one I knew really took pictures, earlier it was Leni Sinclair... and then Sue Rynski, in the Sonics days.
It was like Art, but completely REAL, if you can dig that... At first I was usin' Mom's VHS camcorder, early on, tapin' my Rock N' Roll Babies and all, but I upgraded pretty quick. My strategy was simple, weakness=strength, no crew, just me and the box. I could go almost anywhere.
So... we were makin' these biker videos and needed soundtracks... the first one had a boombox off camera playin' STOOGES "Down on the Street"... most primitive. A BAD-ASS Guitarist named Bobby East, was playin' at a Club House Party in Roseville.
That was the first Show... shot a bunch of the band and bikers dancin' all day. Scott Morgan was good with the idea too, so they let me use their song "DETROIT"... it became our theme song. People would ask me to tape Gig's and everything just popped. Unbelievable to me now, looking back.
Ron Asheton was a "SHIT HAPPENS" Fan, he called it GUERILLA VIDEO, I liked that.
My partner, "Dangerous" Dan Hehr worked at a Big Time Video Production Company and we would go in after shows and hook-up the final tapes, stay up all night, then go right to work in the factory... Bands, Tattoo Conventions... anything. The Grimshaw Tapes were made there too. We used motion cameras to record the posters and stuff... I call that High Cotton...
Real Cool Time.
People were so Damn Cool. Like I said, I could go almost anywhere and tape, talkin' my way thru...I was like an embedded journalist or something... backstage, ON stage. Bands told me, " DO WHAT EVER YOU WANT"! So I did. Man... I shot a LOT of tape... all OVER Town... down in the pit at KID ROCK!
Hardly ever had any trouble... to speak of. Only had the Cam seized once, we worked that out... but that pistol scene after STANDFAST'S Show at Finneys marked the end of BIG VIDEO in DETROIT. Hope you Enjoy.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
In the early '70's the Detroit Teen Club and Ballroom Scene fell apart. The Big Festivals were BANNED after Goose Lake, and everybody was coming down from the Trip's. Grande and Eastown were history... people were scattering... our world was changing.
But the Rock N' Roll Army was regrouping in every part of town, local boys, and girls!, were forming their own bands in true Detroit fashion, building a fan base and Kickin' out the JAMS at a neighborhood bar near YOU! For a couple bucks you could Rock it almost every night! The Big Guns were still around, playing in various band configurations and keepin' it ALIVE!
Big Rich and Phil "Greasy" Carlisi
On 6 Mile road, just West of Woodward Ave, was one of the coolest joints I EVER hung out at... a Thursday Night Hot-Spot... square brick building with a simple neon sign in the window, "AORTA BAR''. Around '74 -'75 they were lined up down the street to get inside, in ANY kinda' weather! NO Band, NO Cover! DJ spinnin' our kind of music, Motown, James Brown, GET DOWN! Stooges... everything! People from ALL over came to party and dance their ASS off... REAL friendly... It was the place-to-be. Skipped out on the Night Shift regular to make that scene!
Iggy Fan club Handbill
A couple years later, I heard about a New Music Bar from Janet... our MC5 days friend, called BOOKIES CLUB 870, a VERY cool place over on 6 and Woodward.It was right down the street from the AORTA, my old hang-out, so I went.
BOOKIES CLUB 870
Quite a scene goin' on there, no doubt... skinny tie and leather guys... girls bathroom down stairs was often times, the place to be. Fell right in with a band called 27, hung out with Mark Norton, their Iggied all to hell singer.
I had seen 'em before, wrapped up in black trash bags and duct tape... out in Ypsilanti, at some hall party gig, still the "Ramrods" then...with Bootsie X. There were cases of beer stacked up in the middle of the room, Destroy All Monsters was playin' that night too... they had me sittin' on the Stroh's, so it wouldn't walk away.
Iggy Grimshaw Bookies Poster
The hippie hate'n thing was on, these were the new kid's on the scene. We're PUNKS, they said, made me laugh, I was a little too old for that... they threw each other around, weird way to go, I thought. Bookies was a lot of fun tho', Detroit Punk's were not the meanest in the land... I've been in hotter fires. They asked me to be the Bouncer, but I didn't swing that way.
Ben Waugh of the Sillies
We did our thing, saw a ton of bands... Monsters, Sillies, 27, Boners, our very own Sonic's Rendezvous, John Cale... Mutants... Wayne Kramer and Johnny Thunders with Gang War... We were barred during Iggy's week long gig... some kinda fight or something... wasn't me, Man.
The Cult Heroes Hiawatha Bailey smuggled me in the back door when the Police played. Just for fun... Thanks Hi. The BIG deal was the GUEST LIST.... it wasn't about 3 Bucks to get in.... it was STATUS, Man! When all was said and done... Last stop, White Castle... on 8 Mile and Woodward.
Sirius Trixon and the Motor City Bad Boy and Machinegun
East Side, was The Red Carpet, right down the street from Sister Ellie's house, on Warren. I saw a shit-load of Bands there,Sirius Trixon and the Motor City Bad Boys with Dennis Machinegun Thompson...
Rob Tyner at the Red Carpet
The Sonic's, with about 10 people in the house. CRAZY LOUD! Rob Tyner's Band played there too. There was I-ROCK and TRAXX, off Gratiot and 6 Mile, Paychecks and Lili's over in Hamtramck, a city within the city... The West Siders had Siverbird, Token Lounge, Key West and a shit load I can't remember.
Ann Arbor had Star Bar, and Primo's, where the Rockets and Lightning played all the time... It was going on EVERYWHERE! Seemed so natural, Rock N' Roll, Rhythm and Blues!
Downtown, on Cass Ave. was The New Miami and Alvins, Dark Carnival played there one night...dig my videos from that era... STOOGE Brothers Ron and Scott Asheton TOGETHER, with Greasy Carlise and Bootsey X doing a KILLER version of the Stooges TV EYE... This video has NEVER seen daylight and I'm puttin' it out NOW!
Times had changed, but Detroit people made the best of it. The CUBES became Rough Cut... their first gig was at my wedding, Cops raided the Union Hall out on Van Dyke... Sorry Fred.
Like any scene... in the beginning it's the "new IN thing", Cool... word spreads, lots of people start commin' from all over, the vibe begins to change. Then it goes to Hell.
Time to start something new.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Mike and Pops
We moved to Florida back in '98, after we got out of the family car parts factory in Detroit... I learned the boat biz from the bottom up, ended up as a Charter Boat Captain, had a lot of fun, went all over, caught a lot of fish... ran 90 miles South, to Key West, quite a few times... ANYTHING is possible out on the big water, nothing would surprise me.
Very LARGE animals live there, this I know! Mostly now I teach others navigation, give out free fishin' tips and spend as much time as possible playing with my friends, the locals, Bottle Nose Dolphins... they are smart, fun-lovin' and all-over-the-place, down here. They ARE the Hippies of the Sea.
Early one Sunday at my inside job, I traded e mails from Afghanistan with a young Army Captain... he wanted to book a boat trip so he could take his Lady to a remote beach and "Pop" the question.
Cpt J and fiance
I replied that in South West Florida we take part in OPERATION OPEN ARMS. A deal where Marinas and Fishermen hook-up American Military People with FREE FUN on the water! Well, we hooked him UP, she said YES, and he's now on his way back to Kabul... Heading EAST, he call's it. Best Wishes and God Speed to Capt. JP and his Bride to be! I was honored to be in his presence.
We HATE WAR, but we LOVE our Warriors.
Squid and Taylor
Capt. Doug, "The Rockin' Rebel" is, in my life, to Fishing, what Gary Grimshaw is to Art! The Man has taught me just about everything I know on the subject. Yeah BUDDY ! His sidekick and First Mate, Capt Josh, alias ''The Squid'' is the best fisherman I have had the pleasure of working with.
Alex and Doug
We tried to start a fishing show but it just didn't pan out. We made a LOT of offshore trips.... 50-60 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico... Shot ton's of video and pix and now I'm gonna share 'em with you-all! The music is all homegrown too. Just like the old days.
In our own version of Operation Open Arms. Capt. Doug took my Son Alex' Band, The Wholetones, my Son Mike and I Offshore yesterday... in honor of Mike's up coming deployment to the Persian Gulf with the US NAVY.
Tonite we had Capt. Rich's Coconut Snapper Surprise... The main ingredient, other than various Snapper Fish, is Pinia Colada Mix and Chohula Lime-Pepper Powder, give it a shot!
Hard to beat. Tomorrow it's snapper taco's... I have indeed been blessed. Like Iggy said... " I never thought it would come to this, baby..."
Capt Big Rich Dorris
Friday, April 9, 2010
MIXED MEDIA was a "Head Shop", down on Cass Avenue, in Detroit. I used to go there and buy stuff... cigarette papers, records, posters... stuff any good hipster needs. Robin Sommers was the guy behind the counter, who ran the place. Barry Kramer of CREEM Magazine fame, was the owner.
Mr. Natural by R. Crumb
I was actually at Kramer's house one time with Peter "The Witch" Canfield... huge Circus cartoon cut-outs by R. Crumb, (Mr. Natural) the Underground Comic Book Artist, decorated the kid's room... Ring Master, lion tamer, animals, like that... truly awesome to this would-be-cartoonist. Anyway, Robin was always in the shop... pretty cool guy, a little older, like the MC5 and Trans-Love people, than us street freek kids. Always a serious air of "Cool" around him.
Robin did the Light Show at the Grande for quite a while, with a whole slew of Trans Love people. I met him in the early '90's with Gary Grimshaw and invited him to check out some vintage posters from my collection... he agreed to meet me at the Cass Cafe near Forrest, down in the old Hippie Ghetto near Wayne State University. Right across the street was the first Unitarian Church... some very early MC5 events were held there, in the lower level. That area is also known as the Culture center of Detroit, Main Library, Art & Historical Museums and all that.
I brought noted Grande Guy, Charles Green... his collection, and my MC5 days Partner, Bob Grey, for 2 sessions of beer sippin', flash-backin' to the Glory Days of Old. Robin drew the Red/White Blue MC5 Grande Card with Brother JC Crawford on it. VERY nice!
Robin Sommers poster
I hope you all enjoy... Robin has some tales to tell!
Big Rich... Down on the Beach.
Gary and Rich
Gary Grimshaw has influenced me more than just about anyone I've ever known. THIS is the guy who IS who I WANT to be. ART, you do it alone... not a Band... usually not a team... not much glory... it's in your head and ya' gotta put it on paper. R. Crumb (Mr. Natural)said it's 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!
Gary in his office in San Francisco
I started drawing in '66 or so, maybe 15 years old. Stanley Mouse was at the State Fair, airbrush painting hats & t-shirts and all... Biker stuff & WILD Hot Rod Monsters... BIG news back then. Pretty COOL. I copied those images, sittin' at the kitchen table, then later in Art Class, using pen & ink.
The psychedelic thing happened and my drawings got a LOT more crazy, for sure. Kids were passing out Grande Ballroom Postcards at my school in Detroit... come to a ROCK N" ROLL Dance/Concert! Unbelievable craziness drawn with such precision, and COLORS! ULTIMATE cool.
Pop's wanted me to take Shop Math... not to be. He used to tear up my comic books, which made them all-the-more-desire-able. I have HUNDREDS of 'em now. You know how that works. I was drawing some real crazy stuff to amuse and amaze my friends... the chicks too, trying to get more far-out as I went along. A couple of large collections of this madness was seized and destroyed, just as well I guess. The Cops have a pretty nice collection of "Kilo" wrappers I painted... Such was life. Never made any cash, till I met Grimshaw.
He walked thru the door and I was stunned. After 4 years of staring at his artworks, I think my image of Gary was a "lightnin'-flashin'-neon-strobe'n WILD haired CRAZY MAN"... maybe some WING'S growin' out his head! I don't know... anyway,
There was the Man, he was BEAUTIFUL! Quiet, smilin', just back from San Francisco... long straight hair, regular clothes, BROWN shoes.
I was dumbfounded, he put me to work on the spot. That was 1510 Hill Street, the old White Panther/MC5 House in Ann Arbor. They produced the SUN newspaper there. Gary was crankin' out some TRULY awesome work all thru those years. Pete Andrews as DAYSTAR put on major events for U of M and Gary produced KILLER posters for all the shows.
I followed him to RAINBOW GRAPHICS when he moved on... upstairs from the Blind Pig, a Blues Bar in town. I worked there in the day and slept on the couch at night, truly wonder-ous times.
In 1972 Gary moved again, over on Liberty, John Sinclair and Pete Andrews were puttin' on The Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. They hired me as a sign painter... gave me 7 Bucks an hour and a 3 day, backstage pass... cash bar. Rented a room, a summer sublet... This is what I call "High Cotton"... "and the livin' was easy".
Grimshaw told me he was leavin' one day, next thing, I'm headin' down 1-94... back to Detroit. He called this one MOTOR CITY GRAPHICS, had a studio up on the 4th floor at Music Hall, right Downtown. We had a lot of fun... but I was pretty crazy then, unreliable... disappear for days on end... shit like that.
Around 1974,The Hilton Hotel was being operated by a young member of that famous family... John Sinclair and his Brother Dave opened The RAINBOW ROOM... in the lower level. They hired me to drive to metro Airport and pick-up band equipment... I had a van then and we would fill it with gear and instruments. SUN RA had TWO van full's of Conga Drums and all kinda crazy stuff. THOSE guys thought WE were far-out! I lived up in one of the rooms, Gary had a suite as studio/residence, life was good.
I knew Gary pretty well by then. What a guy! He IS the COOLEST Head I have EVER met! He told me once, as a kid he would climb up on his Dad's drafting table and trace his blueprints for fun... Cars, oh yeah! PERFECT lettering, as you can see. His Uncle ran Crown Press in Dearborn, they did a lot of the GRANDE posters, so Gary had the inside hook-up on how to put all these crazy ideas into a workable package. I was VERY impressed.
One night, around '75-'76, The Friends Roadshow came thru, they were an International Traveling Circus. I instantly fell in with these characters. A 5 piece band with a huge group of performers...kinda like The TUBES... fronted by D'Jango, a larger-than-life, fire-breathing, joke telling MADMAN! They invited me to run away to Amsterdam, to The FESTIVAL of FOOLS... so I did.
I never worked for Gary after that, we did some stuff... he hooked up with my Brother Kris, who ran The GHETTO PRESS in Detroit, they did posters and T-shirts, Art Shows, Concerts and ALL kinds of stuff. I shot a LOT of video at Ghetto Rags, over in Russell Industrial center... life was GOOD.