Blog: Brett Callwood

Music writer Brett Callwood hopped the briny deep to follow rockers like the Dirt Bombs and Insane Clown Posse (who got big play in his native England) to Detroit in 2008. This week Brett, author of MC5: Sonically Speaking, the first full biography of the harbingers of punk rock, plumbs the local music scene and its old school influences.

Post 4: The Pencil Driver

Don't make the mistake of thinking that I believe life in Detroit is easy. Since moving to the Metro area, I've worked myself into the ground only to have the rug pulled away from under me from time to time. I know how difficult life can be here.

Only last month, an advertising house that had been employing me as a copy writer decided they didn't have an opening any more. Thankfully, I'll forever be more driven than they are. A huge chunk of my income, and health insurance for my wife and I, is temporarily gone at the time of writing, and we're going to have to scrape by for a while.

Welcome to Michigan, right?


No matter how difficult times have gotten, I've never entertained the idea that Metro Detroit isn't the place for me. My wife is a big reason for this. Toni is an amazing person. I know everybody says (or should say) that about their spouse, but she really is. She couldn't be more supportive, even when the aforementioned dark days come. Especially when, in fact, the company that she runs, Stiv Deville Productions, books shows for various venues and events, and she's extremely good at her job. Needless to say, I love her more than life, but I respect her deeply also.

Professionally, I can't see myself ever not writing about the local music scene. I love the art of writing, of putting words together so that they flow beautifully. I could have fun writing a 5,000 word thesis on a pencil.

But music, and specifically music that is local to here, will always be my favorite subject.
That is why the Metro Times and I are such a good fit. When I first arrived in Detroit, former Creem editor Bill Holdship was the music editor and he welcomed me into the country with enthusiasm and grace. Obviously, there was a learning curve. I knew more about the current music scene than many, but I didn't know everything that I felt I needed to know. I'm not sure anybody ever will.

I did, however, have more than enough knowledge to get a good head start with the MT. My early features were on bands that I still love – the psychotic punk brilliance of They Never Sleep (featuring former Thrall duo Mike Hard and Karen "Queen Bee" Neal), the garage-blues swagger of the Readies (featuring former Demolition Doll Rod Danny Kroha) and the '50s influenced rockabilly Ronettes swing of the Gore Gore Girls (although now front-gal Amy Gore plays in Gorevette).

A few features in, and I was swinging for home runs.