Arts & Culture » Culture




With a sobriquet that dovetails with a perfected rock ’n’ roll aesthete, a sober effusiveness that rivals any drunken late-night raconteur and an obvious vulnerability to daylight, the glam-tinged Stirling (ne Alden Walker Gallup III) has been beguiling Detroit nights since 1970. And he’s never left.

From Bookies to Max’s Kansas City, Stirling has been described as a scenester on par with Warhol’s Factory-era glitterati. He once drove Lou Reed to a methadone clinic; watched cartoons and drank beer with Alice Cooper; he’s hung with Wayne, er, Jayne County. He’s traded rooster-hair hints with Rod Stewart and befriended Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin. He once visited his pal Iggy Pop in Berlin in ’78 (“he was actually in the Berlin phone book”), whereupon he befriended the Kinks.

Stirling has run clubs, promoted shows (his debut production was a ’75 Motor City Mutants gig at a Detroit VFW hall), and owned record stores. When video was in its infancy, he did crafty vignettes for galleries and commercial concerns of artists at work. Later he even recorded a locally embraced single called “Money, Marbles and Chalk.” He gave techno stalwart Derrick May his first gig in 1984 when he ran a club called Liedernacht (now the City Club).

The wispy, long-limbed gent — he bears an uncanny resemblance to Here Come the Warm Jets-era Brian Eno — presently directs the career of comely chanteuse Audra Kubat, and next month will enter Jim Diamond’s studio to do a single with musical support from the Sights.

What are Stirling’s pet passions of the Motor City? “Simple,” chirps the elder statesman of Detroit rock ’n’ roll, “the three things that have kept me here are the lakes, the elegance and decay of Detroit’s barren cityscape, and the re-emergence of Detroit rock ’n’ roll.”

Back to main index of Best of Detroit — A character study Send comments to [email protected]

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.