Free John Sinclair (Revisited)

“They gave him ten for two, what else can Judge Columbo do” – John Lennon

On December 10, 1971, fifteen thousand people filled Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor for the Free John Sinclair Rally to protest the harsh ten-year prison sentence he was currently serving for offering two marijuana joints to an undercover policewoman. Although almost everyone in attendance was supportive of Sinclair’s plight, the main reason for the overflow crowd was the promised appearance of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

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Best Albums of 2011: Two Views

For the second consecutive year I’ve invited my friend and fellow music lover, Larry Van Cleve, to join me in making a list of the best CDs released during the past year. No one sent us any free CDs to review, so our lists are made up of what we bought, borrowed, and burned.

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Tommy James: Michigan's Favorite Son

The state of Michigan, which has done very little over the years to give recognition to its rich Rock and Roll heritage, is honoring Michigan Rock and Roll Legend Tommy James as a “Michigan Favorite Son” in a ceremony to be held in the Michigan Senate Chamber at the State Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan on Tuesday, May 25th.

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Nugent Rocks The River Roar

Michigan Rock and Roll Legend Ted Nugent made a triumphant return to Bay City last night with a full-blast performance on the Dobson River Roar stage in Veterans Memorial Park. Taking the stage to Keith Richards' immortal opening riffs of "Street Fighting Man", Nugent's power trio kicked the evening off with a blistering rendition of the Amboy Dukes' classic "Journey To The Center Of The Mind". The crowd was on its feet from Uncle Ted's opening chord until the band's encore nearly two hours later.

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Return Of ? And The Mysterians

Wow! I go back a long time with ? & The Mysterians. I was attending Delta College in 1965 when the then-young band played at a college beer party held at a small hall near Auburn, Michigan. One of the Delta frat boys had heard the Mysterians practicing on a Monitor Township farm while driving home from school and hired them on the spot. Fred Herter, one of the organizers of the event, claims that ? & The Mysterians were paid the princely sum of $10 for the gig.

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Roll-Air, Band Canyon, and a Not-So-Great Idea

All the publicity surrounding the latest attempt at opening a new teenage nightclub in Bay City called 'Roosters' got me thinking about "the good old days" of the 1960's when the unifying force of Rock and Roll was enough to draw in the kids to such clubs and thereby enable this type of business venture to be successful. By success, I mean make money. And by the end of the summer of 1964, it was clear that there was a lot of money to be made catering to the musical tastes of area teenagers

Although it technically wasn't a teenage nightclub, the inspiration for the ones that followed came from Roll-Air. Located on State Park Drive, the open-air facility became a magnet for area teenagers when the owners, Bay City educators Octavian and Christine Gavrila and Bob and Ilene Darbee, turned its 70 ft. x 206 ft. cement skating rink into a dance floor and started having Tuesday night "Battles of the Bands" during the summer of 1964.

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Madonna Misconstrued In Bay City

Madonna became the first person from Bay City to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 10, 2008. Inductees were honored with a video montage leading up to their induction, and listed below Madonna's name was Bay City, Michigan. It was certainly no accident that Bay City was placed under Madonna's name. The question is why? The city has never treated Madonna with very much respect.

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