Load yer bongs
The increasingly ubiquitous Small Stone Records owner/PR flack/head of A&R/in-house-skeptic Scott Hamilton phoned us to yak about a band he’s just inked, which, as it turns out, is major coup of sorts for the local Marshall ’n’ ganja indie. Made up of hirsute, Sabbath-adoring men of the oft-dipped Seattle gene pool — including members of Kitty Kitty and one-time mega-unit-shifters Screaming Trees — the band dubbed VALIS (yes, all caps) includes former Tree Van Conner crooning and chording, his guitarist bro Patrick, skinsman Sean Hollister, guitar-synth wiz/producer Wes Weresch, and bassist Adrian Makins. The VALIS sound? “It’s kinda arty,” yaps Hamilton. “Kinda like the Trees meets Queens of the Stone Age, or something like that.” He pauses, laughs, and then adds, as if to sum up the whole Small Stone manifesto, “Only it’s not commercial.” You’ll note that Hamilton — whose working roster includes 20-plus stoner-ripe rock outfits — only signs bands that reside far beyond the 313/248/586 area codes. How unpopular!
Speaking of Small Stone, our Hit Singles-endorsed pal Man (whose barrel-gutted debut, Machine, is in stores now) will split for Europe in a few weeks to support Small Stone’s Five Horse Johnson. The beer-sodden, fuck-shit-up single-digit punk “band” will do eight UK shows supporting Five Horse before, uh, manning said band’s merch table to hawk T-shirts throughout Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. “It would be cool to do all the European dates with Five Horse,” spouts the Celine-quoting Man (aka Matt McGuire), who by day earns a wage fixing toilets and hanging drywall. “But I gotta sell the shirts to make money. …” A blue-collar man is something to be. ….
Hit Singles has learned that the musical library known as DJ House Shoes has finally taken off the leisure-guy slippers and slid himself into the studio to complete the long-awaited House Shoes Collection Volume One: I Got Next. Since the man himself came through on his word to put out an album, we came through on our word to let Detroit know about it. The self-released disc features guest lyricists including Phat Kat, Guilty Simpson, Fuzz Scooter, King Gordy of the Fat Killaz (who are preparing for a tour with Shoes acting as DJ), among others. Record should see shelf-life beginning Tuesday.
Upon meeting up with House Shoes in his Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hit Singles pressed flesh with the aptly named Big Tone of Wasted Youth, who happened to be in the passenger seat. Tone informed us that he is currently working on a solo album titled The Draught, which is expected to rise some time in the first quarter of 2004. Joining him in the affair are omnipresent local MC Guilty Simpson, Lacks, and a few other surprises. Tone also got us up to speed on the heavily anticipated sophomore effort from Wasted Youth. The record, called Teen Spirit, should be released in March. The album will be yet another Bling47 production.
No Lacking means
Recently, Hit Singles partook in the send-off of yet another local spreading the Detroit gospel, as it were, on the other side of the pond. Seems Lacks is currently in the midst of a Euro tour. While his stay here was only premature, the Motor City native flew in from his home in Atlanta and spent a week grinding in the beautiful-ugly Bling47 lab with Waajeed (we patiently wait to hear the results), who’ll be joining Lacks as his DJ. The 12-city tour has already included stops in Austria and Switzerland, with a one-night shot in Paris. The remaining dates find them on a slew of German shows, from Munich on the 14th to Weinheim on the 23rd.
Every picture tells a story
For an ultra-rare photo exhibit by the largely unheralded rock ’n’ roll photographer Tom Wright, a four-hour drive north to Traverse City is well worth it. Don’t trust us? Hell, Rod Stewart says his fave snaps of himself were done by Wright. Keith Richards, in fact, loves the man and his work, as does Pete Townshend, who considers Wright to be the principal Who photographer and documentarian. Joe Walsh once called Wright “the Jack Kerouac of photography.” Wright has snapped and documented — with a keen-eye toward sensitivity and context — the Who, Stones, MC5, Joe Walsh, Rod Stewart, Ted Nugent, the Faces, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Eagles, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and dozens of others. And it should be noted that the 60-year-old Wright (who now resides in northern Michigan) once ran, and resided in, the Grande Ballroom in its heyday in the late ’60s.
The show, which runs through January, kicks off this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with a special panel discussion primarily focusing on Detroit’s musical impact on the world. Hosted by journalist Rick Coates, panelists include drummer Dave Teegarden (Teegarden and Van Winkle, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band), Faces/Stones keyboardist Ian McLagan and appraiser of antiquities John Payne. As we go to press, those tentatively scheduled to appear include Walsh and Creem magazine publisher/photographer Robert Matheu. There will also be a post-show jam at Streeter’s Ground Zero nightclub in Traverse City. The exhibit is scheduled to run through the end of January. Word is Uncle Kracker, Eminem and Townsend all plan on visiting the exhibit before it’s gone.
The show is happening at the Dennos Museum Center (1701 E. Front St., Traverse City). For info, contact the Dennos office at 231-995-1055, or the box office at 231-995-1553. Or go to http://www.tomwrightphotography.com. Tickets are $20 and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sad to say that the buzz (er, stench) lighting up the interweb — where this kind of buzz is bound to be found — is that Marshall, Mich.’s foremost voluminous-yet-precision-tuned outfit, Small Brown Bike, has called it a day. Now, now ... we know what you’re saying: “But they just released their new record The River Bed on Lookout! Records, home to such punkity-rockity goodness as the Mr. T Experience, Ted Leo and oh, so many more!” And we know MT scribbler Nate Cavalieri was going to buy you a beer at their next show — no, seriously! But it looks like you’re going to have to get your dollar PBR from some other sap. And you’ll have to find another prog-punk guitar/bass/drums tribe with which to get your ears and mind shattered, kids.
According to one bored poster on SMB’s message board, he received an e-mail from the band stating one member was going to school in LA, another was playing with Bob “Bachelor” Guiney’s band. The other members will do their own thing, presumably, including SMB’er Mike Reed, who is busying himself with a duo project called Shipwrecked.
On a lighter note, the one band that Detroit could claim as its one remaining best-kept secret, the ill-named Bogue, will have to do a bit of re-branding as they begin the process of (finally!) proffering their brand of hooky racket to the outside world. Word is the Boguesters are hoping their debut recording will see the light of day some time this winter on Jim Diamond’s very own Jim Diamond Records. And, apparently in a bid to start with a clean slate, the band name will be changed. So, they’ll be hitherto known as The Finer Things. Now, they’ve not had a party to christen the new name — and Bogue has proved nothing if not that there will be no party before its time. See Bogue while you can, supporting Judah Bauer’s 20 Miles at the Lager House this Saturday.Send bitch slaps, quips and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.