LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, MR. SCOTT GROOVES
While the rest of the world caught up with Detroit techno via films such as Modulations, the real Detroit name rocking bells on the world's dance floors this year has been beatdown house producer/DJ (Patrick) Scott Grooves. The veteran deejay -- hey, he spun at notorious Detroit biker/booty club Outkast and helped break electro-eccentrics Detrechno -- made one of this year's best records, house music or otherwise, with the phenomenal Pieces Of A Dream, on Scotland's Soma label, which features among others, George Clinton and jazz vibist Roy Ayers. But instead of basking in his worldwide glory, Grooves is pushing ahead on the home front, as resident deejay Saturday nights at Better Days, and, now, producing tracks for former Sub Pop soul diva and current bar-band diva Thornetta Davis. "It's kind of like Inner City, like when Kevin (Saunderson) worked with (vocalist) Paris (Gray)," says Grooves, adding, "I feel Thornetta's the best-kept secret in Detroit." Well, not to anybody whose been to the Music Menu in the last five years, but you know what he means.
A few thousand copies of the Thornetta-featuring "Shoulda Been You" 12" are out now as a Soma white label. Meanwhile, the second single from Groove's Dream, "The Mothership Reconnection" features remixes by Daft Punk(!) and Soma labelmates Slam, while Grooves himself is working on an Exclusive Detroit Debut CD for a Japanese label featuring tracks form Eddie Fowlkes, Harmonie Park Records' Rick Wade and a track by Moodymann, aka Kenny Dixon Jr. licensed from Submerge Distribution's "Mad" Mike Banks, notorious for his distrust of licensing and other ownership issues. "It the first time Mike's ever licensed a house track," says Grooves proudly.
You can catch Grooves at Korie Enyard's "Go Deep" party Saturdays at Better Days (Woodward Ave. just south of Union Street); he goes on a 2 a.m. Come early, it gets packed to capacity by 3 a.m.
Carlos Oxholm, Motor co-owner and longtime area soundman, has officially taken over Michigan Avenue's One X club, but, admirably, will do so without interrupting current club programming in the warehouse-like gay club. "There's two ways I could have done this," he says, "One would have been to close up, spend a lot of money redoing the club and then come out with a bang, and the other is to keep it going, work with street-level promotion and let it build up to the same bang, and that's what I'm doing."
In addition to keeping the club's time-honored gay nights, like Monday's "Girls Night Out" lesbian night, which has become a kind of off-night hangout for area rave scene promoters and deejays, Oxholm has already enlisted area promoters to help program new club nights. Tim Price -- famed for his role in Richie Hawtin's famous Plus 8 parties of the mid '90s and more recently booking Hawtin's cozy 13 Below bar in Windsor -- will take over Saturday nights once he's gotten his late December party at Better Days out of the way, while area deejay collective Bang Tech 12 will host "Construct" Thursdays as a forum for up-and-coming deejays. So far, the Michelles (Funhouse and Punisher) will be the first party promoters to utilize the thoroughly legal bar-and-everything space with their late December "Wish List" party. In the meantime, Oxholm is updating the One X sound system and overhauling the storage warehouse/industrial porn set look of the joint. Words of advice: Keep the Demolition Man pinball machine, lose the soft-core cyberpunk ceiling plastic.
OFF THEIR MAILING LIST, BUT ON THEIR JOCK ANYWAY
Congrats to Carl, Hannah and the crew at Planet E for the shoutout the label received from Rolling Stone's year-end issue. Though the mag incorrectly cited Kevin Saunderson's E-Dancer's Heavenly disc as a collection of "new" material (it's actually mostly old tracks remixed), the label has been responsible for breaking the now rote Dee-troit techno mold with ambitious, non-techno releases from Common Factor and Recloose (the DJ-formerly-known-as-Bubblicious), as well as becoming a clearing house for Detroit-bred beatdown house music, with releases this year by afro-poppin' Kenny Dixon Jr., Alton Miller and Craig himself. Craig's "4 My Peepz" single under house alias Paperclip People is a Detroit contender for "House Track of the Year" against the Scott Grooves, Deep Dishes and Stardusts of the world.