Detroit musicians at Woodstock? Here are three.



So how many Detroiters performed at Woodstock, which took place 40 years ago this weekend?

We recently received an e-mail from percussionist Muruga who noted that (news to us) he was there with folk singer Tim Hardin and that he can be heard with Hardin for one song on the new Woodstock: 40 Years on Back to Yasgur's Farm six-disc CD set from Rhino.

And on his MySpace page, the former Steve Booker explains that it was at the festival that he “met Swami Satchidananda who gave him the name Muruga. After Woodstock, Muruga studied under Swami Satchidananda and also recorded on a 1969 meditation record with him.”

We recall that the late pianist Teddy Harris Jr. and bassist Rod Hicks were both there with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Harris, an elder of the Detroit jazz scene and a prominent Motown musician who passed away in 2005, was Butterfield’s musical director at the time, commuting between Detroit and Butterfield’s place near the festival.

When we talked to Harris for a profile in 2002, he tried to convey the magnitude of the whole thing, including flying in by helicopter over the traffic-jammed roads. And he told us about the scene from the stage: “As far as the eye could see in any direction was just a mass of people. I’ve never seen a demonstration of love like that in my entire life.”

Hicks told us about looking out at night and seeing that audience estimated at 300,000 or more. With the darkness dotted with fires, he felt he was looking at the “biggest Indian pow-wow in the world.”

We’re waiting to hear whether Muruga has any more Woodstock memories to share with us. Anyone out there have Woodstock memories to share or know of other Detroit musicians who partook in the scene?


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.