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Motor City Cribs



Thunderbirds Are Now! keyboardist Scott Allen's Big Mess is a band of bros in more ways than one. Everyone in the new, Tom Petty-inspired combo grew up, and continues to live, within a mile of one another in Livonia. And there are three brothers in the band, two are twins. No doubt there's some long-standing kinship at play, a friendship-tension that makes the band frog's-rectum-tight live and a worthy addition to Detroit's Americana music scene.

Twin brothers Rob (drums) and Mike Carden (banjo, acoustic guitar, lap steel) live under the same roof — Mom's. Brother Pat (lead guitar) moved out a couple years ago when he got married, thus Rob turned the basement into his ultimate man-cave. A La-Z-Boy chair and couch front his HD TV and PlayStation, a custom drum kit rests off in a corner, his bed is in the other corner, and the suit of armor he scored for the price of good kicks overlooks the whole dude tableau.

The upstairs could be the yin to the downstairs' yang, or something. Mike's upstairs bedroom is a bit more sedate. And mother Mary (who teaches special ed in Wayne and Westland schools) has impeccably decorated the upstairs in country and folk motifs &mdsah; maybe a little too impeccably for her sons' tastes.

"I call the living room the furniture museum; no one ever sits in here," Mike cracks over his mom's protests while posing for pics in the spotless front room, a neat sanctuary from the boyish chaos downstairs. Rob joins in, "There hasn't been anyone through that front door since we moved in three years ago!"

The Big Mess CD release show is Friday, March 26, at the Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Rd., Westland; 734-513-5030. For the band's music, see

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