ONE SMALL STEP FOR BLUES
Famous Coachman, who was a longtime fixture for blues aficionados tuning in to WDET, is back on the air. Coachman can now be heard on WHPR-FM (88.1 on the dial), Monday nights, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Granted, his return is on a station with a much smaller signal; it is nevertheless encouraging for fans of the blues and local blues musicians. The self-aggrandized-named one broadcasts a mixture of record spins and live music from the comfort of, well, the Comfort Zone nightclub (17321 W. McNichols, Detroit, 313-836-7464). From these environs, live music rules his airspace after 9 p.m. with featured guitarist Robert Penn, vocalists Dee Dee McNeil and Priscilla Price, and weekly guests. If you're in the Highland Park area, tune in to 'HPR and bend your ear to the Coachman's deep, deep love for the blues -- or swing by the Comfort Zone to see him operate.
Consider the dots connected! After this column posited the "mystery" surrounding area band 57 Waltz last week, occasioned by the band's recent 7" release on Spectator Records, several music sleuths came forward with information that we can now relate. According to Aaron, who runs Spectator Records, the 57 Waltz release is just the tip of the iceberg. Also out on Spectator is a 10" by Galicja. Both records are being distributed nationally. Upcoming releases include a Galicja LP, a 57 Waltz LP (both early '99), a single by new wave-Numan-Devo-tees, the Calculators from San Francisco, a single by teen pop phe-Mod-enons, the Sights, and a 12" by "an enigmatic man named Richard Panic" -- see, not every mystery should be solved.
On the 57 Waltz tip, the band -- Mike Canich, bass; Jason Sherman, drums; Matt Valade, guitar and vocals and a keyboard-second guitar player -- will see the February-March release of a single on Olympia, WA label Kill Rock Stars and will likely release a split single with Royal Oak pop trio Cloud Car. According to Valade, 57 Waltz should be playing a few live shows coming up, too, so keep your eyes peeled -- not literally! For information on Spectator Records, send an e-mail to SpectatorR@aol.com. See how this works, people?
HELP FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Musicians banding together to benefit those less fortunate is not a shocking new development, but you know what, it's always pretty damn heartwarming when you hear about a group of local musicians working with each other to make some Detroiters' holidays a little better. Case in point, the Detroit Musicians Alliance and the group's annual Holiday Charity Drive. The nonprofit organization "dedicated to educating and exposing the Detroit area music scene" is currently accepting donations of canned food, toys and pet food to be donated to area agencies St. Dominic's Soup Kitchen, Stewart Francke Leukemia Foundation and an animal shelter yet to be determined. Folks can drop off donations at one of two drop boxes at rock haunts Lili's 21 (2930 Jacob in Hamtramck) and JD's Macomb Theater (31 N. Walnut in Mt. Clemens). The latter site will play host to a Holiday Showcase December 10 featuring performances by Musician Alliance member bands. Doors are at 7 p.m. and those voting age and above can check it out. For more information, call the Detroit Musicians Alliance hotline at 313-734-SONG.
BTW, several Detroit Musicians Alliance member bands, along with many other outstanding Detroit rock units, can be heard on the new release from Detroit's Static Records, Pop O.D.: The Songs of Iggy Pop. The comp features all your favorite Ig hits, including brain-bending, disassembled and reconstituted versions of "Raw Power" by Jumbo (featuring Vin Dombrowski and Joey Mazzola of Sponge, with Howling Diablo Johnny Evans on sax) and "No Fun," by the Mog Stunt Team (reassembled themselves), and a well-enunciated take on "Lust for Life" by Twitch alongside true-to-the-original takes on all of Mr. Osterberg's other standards. Write Static at 17215 Mack Ave., Detroit, MI 48224 for more info.