Longtime Soundcheck listeners may recall that we used to regularly get calls from “Jerry From Queens” when we opened the phones. That’s my brother Jerry, who before changing jobs had a position that kept him in his car and on the road a lot, so he’d often call in, because, as I like to say, he’s never had an unexpressed thought.
The fact that most of those thoughts have no basis in reality just makes them all the more entertaining, like the time he called in to tell Tommy Ramone that he enjoyed Tommy’s work with the Misfits. Sadly, that was Marky Ramone, not Tommy. Or the time he told us how he liked the jazz band doing Sidewalk covers but preferred the original tunes by Sidewalk themselves. Pavement fans got a real chuckle out of that one.
Anyway, Jerry still calls or comments when he can, and last year, when we did our Smackdown debate on which place has better music, Long Island or New Jersey, Jerry left a typically unhelpful comment saying that England had all the best music. But then he added that “if we need to stay in the States, Detroit wins.”
I could see through the control room window that the crew was having the same reaction as me: Jerry was right.
Detroit rocks. We all know Motown. Eminem is apparently not going away anytime soon. J Dilla, sadly, has gone away, but he’s a Detroit treasure waiting for wider discovery. Jack White, Bob Seger, MC5, the list goes on. And on… which is the point of this year’s Ponderosa Stomp festival at Lincoln Center. When you get beneath the famous names from Detroit, the good stuff keeps on coming – from a whole forgotten music scene that was thriving in Detroit half a century ago.
How much of this did Jerry know? Well, enough to nail it. Detroit rocks, and has for a long time.
Do you have a favorite, and perhaps overlooked, Detroit musician or band? Leave a comment.