Parasomnia Acknowledges Michigan Bands

Renowned Hollywood horror film director William Malone’s latest DVD release, Parasomnia, has a plot line that includes a significant nod to some of Michigan’s garage rock bands of the 1960’s. Malone, who was born in Lansing and played in a rock and roll band there in the 60’s, is probably best known for his 1999 big screen remake of the classic House On Haunted Hill and for 2002’s nightmarish FeardotCom.

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Remembering John Lennon

On a recent visit to New York City, Lynn-J and I had an opportunity to visit Central Park on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon in late September. Our main objective was to find Strawberry Fields, a 2.5 acre area in the park that was dedicated to the memory of John Lennon in 1985 and named after one of his most famous songs, “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

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Daniel's Den: 60's Teen Club

During the middle of the 1960’s, Michigan produced a great number of rock and roll bands. Inspired by the guitar-driven British Invasion groups and the irresistible dance beats of Motown, these young bands played a circuit of newly emerged teen clubs throughout the state. These included, to name just a few; The Hideout in Harper Woods, Band Canyon in Bay City, Mt. Holly in Flint, The Scene in St. Ignace, The Fifth Dimension in Ann Arbor, Sherwood Forest in Davidson, Club Ponytail in Harbor Springs, The Sceen in Lansing, and the Tanz Haus in Traverse City.

Among all of these popular venues, Daniel’s Den located at 2525 State Street in Saginaw stood out as one of the most elegant and well-kept teen night clubs in the state – every bit the equal of both the more famous Grande Ballroom and the Eastown Theatre in Detroit.

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Del Shannon’s Baker’s Dozen

The Rock and Roll Trio (John Len, Ron Witucki, and yours truly) decided to take on the songs of Michigan Rock and Roll Legend Del Shannon at our latest get-together. We agreed at a previous meeting to narrow down our favorite Shannon songs to a list of 25. This was probably a little more difficult for John and me to pick just 25, since I think I can safely say we are both major Del Shannon fans.

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Guy Mitchell Was Second Only To Elvis In 1956

Guy Mitchell’s name does not come immediately to mind when you think about Michigan rock and roll. But the popular singer had more # 1 hit singles during the first decade of rock and roll than a host of early Michigan Rock and Roll Legends inductees including Bill Haley And His Comets, Jackie Wilson, Del Shannon, The Marvelettes, Jack Scott, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, and Mary Wells. 

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Knight Moves: K J Knight Tells All

“And the drummer, he’s so shattered trying to keep on time” - M. Jagger and K. Richards

Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and crime  - it’s the perfect combination for a fast and enjoyable read, and Knight Moves, K J Knight’s memoir of his days as a respected member of Michigan’s music scene, delivers the goods and then some. Born Kenny Mills, the author played drums in a number of bands as a youngster before forming K J Knight and The Knightriders and adopting the stage name that he still uses today. The Knightriders won the 1966 Michigan State Fair Battle of the Bands contest, and for the next two years the band was a popular attraction at teen clubs throughout the state.

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Battle of Mickey’s Big Bop

"Rock 'n' roll smells phony and false.  It is sung, played, and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic retardation and sly, lewd in plain fact dirty lyrics....it manages to be the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth." - Frank Sinatra

As rock and roll moves through its sixth decade, it’s easy to forget that in the 1950’s it was characterized by government, religious, educational, and media spokespersons as immoral and sinful – and its purveyors as lazy and shiftless juvenile delinquents.

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