In 1990, the Gories immortalized band-member Mick Collins’ cheap Woodbridge neighborhood digs in the song “Detroit Breakdown.” They sang of a mythical joint at 1515 Merrick where “Mickey’s havin’ a party” and you “don’t have to worry about the neighbors, cuz they all moved out.” A decade after he moved out, the hood is still one of Collins’ (lately of Dirtbombs fame) favorite spots in the city.
“The place I was living in is now a $186,000 condo,” says Collins. “It was a $260-a-month apartment when I was living in it!
“I love how big the houses are. It’s so green and it’s a very urban area despite being so anachronistically Victorian. I still like to drive through there for no good reason,” says the Dirtbombs’ main man.
Collins’ next stop on a tour through his Detroit is Wyoming Avenue — the notoriously dicey stretch of road between Schoolcraft and Seven Mile, to be exact.
“It’s the kind of street that you could easily lose an axle on. But I like the challenge — not to mention that it’s not the best area of town,” he laughs.
“It’s been such a big part of my entire life. For years and years, Wyoming was the road we had to drive down to get to church when I was a kid.”
And even though resurfacing started last week, Collins figures the other drivers on the road will still pose enough of a challenge to separate the men from the boys.
At this point, it should be clear that Collins isn’t going to expose his favorite bar or record store or comics treasures.
It should come as no surprise that the third stop in his trilogy of hometown faves isn’t even open to the public anymore — the defunct amusement park, Bob-Lo Island.
“I remember my first trip to Bob-Lo because ‘Can You Get to That’ by Funkadelic was in heavy rotation on CKLW. To tell you the truth, though, I can’t remember any of the rides,” laughs Collins. “The only thing I can remember was the haunted house. They had a tape loop that played this great psychedelic funk music.”
But for Collins, getting to Bob-Lo (and back) was more than half the fun. “I loved the boats. On the Columbia there were these little mahogany-paneled alcoves behind the gift shop and they were perfect for relaxing in.” Now if he could only score a circa-1980 Bob-Lo souvenir sailor cap with a clear yellow visor …