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 7: Burning Records

As I sit to write the last of these blogs, I realize that I haven't said anything like as much as I would have liked to have said. The important thing that I wanted to get across is that everybody in the Metro Detroit area should embrace the music, not to mention the art, the film and everything else, that the area is spurting out at an impressive rate right now.

It's inevitable that people will look around and say "it was better in the '60s". Others will claim the '70s was the golden period. Etc, etc. See how redundant that exercise is?

The truth is that, while San Francisco shone brightly in the '60s, New York had the '70s, LA the '80s, and Seattle the '90s, Detroit produced consistently incredible, challenging and artistically relevant music throughout those decades and right up to the now.

That's something to be immensely proud of.

In the last blog, I talked about Marco Polio & the New Vaccines, and the influence that the MC5 has obviously had on them, even if it's indirectly (as it probably is). When I wrote my MC5 biography, Sonically Speaking, I wasn't writing about a quintet of old men, shuffling through life. I was capturing the essence of a band that burned bright for a brief moment, but man did they burn.

Now, just look around. Lightning Love, the Ypsilanti-based, female-fronted group. Is there a band in the world capable of writing a pop song that is more pure, honest, and exciting? Nope. They burn.

How about the Rogue Satellites, the electro-melodo-rockers regularly slamming across Detroit right now. They burn also. Gypsy-rock-frenzy-makers Punk Lightning? They burn like bastards. Country rocker Ty Stone? His voice makes us all burn.

The list goes on and on. Eric Hoegemeyer's Deep See Sound System incorporates dub rhythm in a way that would make experimental maestro John Sinclair proud. The Octopus doesn't know how to do anything but lay us all to waste.

We're all, all of us, absolutely lucky to live in the Metro Detroit area.

I know things get tough, and we all have real worries. As I said in an earlier blog, I lost a job last month. But this is Detroit, filled with the salt of the earth, and you can't keep a good man, or woman, down.

For as long as we need to, we'll keep picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and moving forward. And you can be sure that, in the process, the area will be producing the best music in the world.

It's what we do.