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Motor City Cribs

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If SSM and Cyril Lords guitarist-vocalist Marty Morris ever gave up rock 'n' roll, he might well consider a career in interior decoration. The St. Clair Shores chapter of the Paul Green School of Rock that he decorated — with the help of local rock stars Eugene Strobe and Troy Gregory — must be seen to be believed.

Each of the school's rooms sports a different theme: You walk in and find the Who and the Flaming Lips rooms done up accordingly. Several instruction rooms all see different themes — there's the Van Halen room, the Kurt Cobain room, the heavy metal room, the punk rock room, the glam room, the Sun Records room, the Motown Records room and the Jimi Hendrix room. Then there's Morris' office — the Batman room — which is painted purple and adorned in Dark Knight memorabilia.

Each space is smartly and vividly designed around the specific music genre or theme, festooned with iconography. The overall effect is mesmerizing.

Morris had been working at the Rochester branch of the School of Rock run by Strobe since May. That branch began to do so well that its owner, Terry Longhway, decided to open this St. Clair Shores chapter in October, placing Morris as its music director.

Morris, Strobe and Gregory worked their decorating magic for surprisingly little cash. Says the University of Toledo film major Morris, "You gotta love a guy who's been poor his whole life decorating your place — so of course I'm going to know where all the deals are."

With sweet vintage furniture and Craigslist keyboards, vintage posters (from Morris' own collection) and materials scored on the cheap in southwest Detroit, Morris and pals set up a space that'd be hard to re-create with three times the dough.

And Morris is well-fit for passing the rock 'n' roll flame to the kids. Being part kid himself, the guitarist has the passion and patience it takes to alternate between instructor and sometimes babysitter to the next generation of rock. "I like watching the kids' musical improvement," he says. "They develop so much faster than I did!"

Go to the School of Rock's website or MySpace for more info.

See SSM support Blind Melon on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at the 89X New Year's Eve Rock 'N' Roll Ball at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency, 600 Town Center; 313-593-1234.

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