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R & R Crusader

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One of cue most beautiful happenings lately has been the change in the Grande Ballroom. Uncle Russ took a trip to San Francisco last month and blew his mind out there. He came back determined to make the Grande into the scène it was meant to be from the beginning a ear ago but which never really happened until just now. Starting with a booking by the Grateful Dead the wpek aLter Russ got back, continuing with a Saturday night coupling oL the dangerous MC -5 and the powerful Scot Richard Case, then this weekend with the importation oL the Chambers Brothers (with the MC -5 Friday night, and the Thyme Saturday night), and into September and October with bookings like the Case of E.T. Hooley (a Cleveland band), the CREAM of London fealuring Eric Clapton, the Paupers of Toroato, Je se Colin Young and the Youngbloods, the James Cotton Chicago Bines Band, etc, the Grande is becoming THE place to be on the weekends --something I really couldn't say a mor ago. My point all along has been that the ballroom scène offers a lot of unique sibilities, and now . 're just starting to loited. In San Francisco the ballroom scène e it possible for good music to be heard and established--they took rock music out of the realm of "entertainment" per se and made it a total experience, and the really great bands established themselves through their work in the alon and Fillmore. After the local scène was tir-gnly established, the Irooms started bringing in groups f rom outside area and playing them on bilis with the best SF nds. Standards were created and refined, and bands kn ad to be DOING IT ín order to work at the ballrooms. This hasn't been the case in Detroit until now, with Uncle Russ' new poiicy. ' In the future only the top Detroit bands w; ed at the Grande, and they will be coupled with od bands from outside e Detroit area so thafc ' people here can hear what is going on around country. As it has been e Grande, just about ar ad could get a gig there, and consequently no standards of excellence were set--all you had to have was four or five or six pi e ces and a tunny name and you couid play there. bands will have to we themselves worth g and dancing to or won't get the jobs. ds will know that they o have the original,.)d power of the MC -5, i rength of the Scot nard Case, the div and excite ment oL the Spikedrivers, the polish of the Rationals, etc, in order to get work at the Grande. Then we'll have some decent music in town all the time. Russ is also working out an exciting deal with the musicians union, the exact details of which we dont have at this time, Jout which will insure that bands who play there receive at least union scale (something like a minimum S?.O per man) for their work. The existing scène teeiy-bop "young adult night-clubs" and othplastic emporiums has ■ plastic disc jockeys reving a fee for being at lub, and the DJ's con some teen bands into playing for free in order to get "exposure," etc. As it has en, and band can play for years and still not receive anything for playing jobs in these places. The union apparently has devised a eeArsMu& Patser Y■ fV S CRJJSADE& by which bands can the union on an "ap-utice" program, paying $10 a month until their initiation fee is paid up, and the places that feature live music are being urged to work with the union so that all bands are paid scale if they are in the union. The Grande is the first teen place to sign the union contract, and if other clubs tollow suit the strangleold of the disc jockeys will be broken. The drawLck is that the union may a stronger hold on the scène than the club-owners )d disc jockeys have, but at least people will get paid for their work. We '11 try to have the whole story in next issue of the SUN. There is sorae weird going on at a place ed the Northland urnmp, or Middle Earth, or something like that. The owner, a Mr. Weinstein, has tried a number of different exploitation tactics and is apparently now filling some energetic young workers with a bunch of bullshit about what he is trying to do so they will do it for him. He bilis the Middle Earth as a hippie haven and has hired Bud Nelson and some other people to work for him, and is telling them and everyone else that he is brineine in the Mothers. Cream, Paul Butterfield, etc. The Crusader talked with the Cream's agent, and the Mother's manager, and found that , w nothing about ese alleged bookings. This kind of shit is really a drag. Watch out for these people. Still no decent radio shows in town, unlike San Francisco where Larry Miller (formerly of Detroit) and others carry on 24 hours a day playing nothing but the grooviest rock music, mostly album cuts. Stan (Mouse) Miller was in town for the state fair and told the Crusader that people don't even need record players out there any morethe radio plays all the records they would play in their homes anyway. In Detroit we have WKNR and CKLW, or plastic soul on WCHB and WJLB--but ROCK stations. Some people are getting interested in real rock radio, though, so maybe we '11 have something before too long. The commercial potential is overwhelming, but the moneypeople aren't hip to it. BAND NEWS: Scot Richard Case left Jeep Holland1 s A 2 Productions, as did Jeep's partner Pete Andrews. Scot & Co. are now managed by--Pete Andrews, and all seem happy. ... Billy C and the Sunshine have split up; rumor has it that Boot is now playing piano with Sam Uay's Chicago Band, and that Billy may join the bc loo. Meanwhile, Billy's moved to Am. hole r.ew group. Details next issue. . . . the Mighty Seventh Seal of Ann Arbor split up a couple oL months ago in one oL the tragic break-ups of all time.What a drag that this group wasn't recorded before it disappeared. Bill Kirchen and Danny Che slak are planning a new group it seems and are looking for a bassist and drummer. Rumor had it that the two would join with Pete Koerner and other elements of the defunct Urban Roots, but that seemed not to work out, Meanwhile, Ron Miller and Steve Elliptt of the Seal formed an electric jazz band, the Pigfuckers, wi Elutis Arthur Fie te her and pianist Bob Sklar and got tnto some amazing muai now talking of ieaving the country. . . . the Prime Mov - ers of Arm Arbor left the area for San Francisco to seek their fortune. . . . the MC -5 signing a management contract with Russ Gibb and are newly furnished with f uil Sunn equipment. Their old (Vox) equipment was repossessed at the Jefferson Airplane concert June 30 and they w. able to play together f month and a balf as a result. Now everythi is groovy and they working out a whoie new book, featnring many ncw Rob Tyner coinposilions,, Negotiations are still undcr way for an album wi P Disc, the avant -gar New York Label, to be pi cd by Traiirf -Love Energies of Detroit, cover Grimshaw. . . . Mouse will do the cover of the nc Cream album.- . .the Spil. drivers got shafted last month with a trip to Lim. Ohio, for a gíg--poor prornoiion, no guarai: id the band received $13 for the trip and a nih('s wc On the trip the ir newh' aquired schoolbus brokc and cost $450 to repair. Spikes have their own cording studio at home (see ad in this i; ind do demo tapes real chez Go to them. Spikes now writing a rnvisic coi,un for the FIFTH ESTÁTE, and Spikedriver Mn ibinotf, writing fo .SUN (see h,is column ■ sxxe). They lea ve for Vermont next v. f. wo-weck gig and r r a Stepten Oth job Gran MC-!