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ROCKR0LL POfï Continued from page 5 din...

ROCKR0LL POfï Continued from page 5 din... image
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ROCKR0LL POfï Continued from page 5 dings and disk jockey hops - and that was all that they had in those days, and the rest of their time was spent sitting around in junior high and high school waiting for the blessed weekends and the holy rock and rollto happen. And I was born in 1948, and my daddy was a tooi and die maker at a local shop (later at Ford's) and my ma became a clerk at Pershing High School and they saved their money so that I could "go to college. " I went to the all-boys' Catholic college prep University of Detroit high, got plenty hard up, and one day heard the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and was never the same again. I was going to Wayne State when I got a job as the first announcermanager of the Grande Ballroom so that I could be near rock and roll and some f riends I hung out with who were in the MC5; and I dropped out of college and eventually quit the Grande gig after I met Bob Rasmussen there one night and, together with Gary and a drummer named Vic Peraino, formed the UP. Our first job was at the Grande, late in the summer of 1967. R was just before and during those early days that we met John Sinclair and the people who lived with him downtown at Love Energies and it was through Sinclair that we learned to define the music we wanted to make. CXir close association with bands like the MC 5 that played regularly at the Grande was what gave us the idea that if we took the most exciting, meanest, hardest, fastest, tightest, juiciest, most moving music that we heard and put it together and made it our own, if we did that then, shit, we would really have something- something we saw was amazingly like the "new music" that Sinclair turned us all on to, the music of black musicians like Archie Shepp, Ornette Coleman, Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane, something we had to cali high energy. That was the idea we started with, that, and the knowledge that if any bunch of musicians, any band, stuck together long enough and worked together hard enough they could eventually achieve their highest goals and get where they wanted to go. And where we were at around that time wasn't very hip, admittedly. I mean, I was sleeping on the floor of a downtown apartment along with four-fifths of the MC 5 and f riends and we ate Coney Islands at the corner Dairy Queen I for dinner every night--that was where our ecol nomic scehe was at. But one ,da Sinclair. ed to help us and found us a house and got us some jobs and got his brother, Dave, to become our manager. And that made us an "official Trans-Love band" along with the MC 5 (and later the Stooges f or a while, too) and when TransLove moved to Ann Arbor the summer after the Detroit riots (1968), so did we. Until we moved to Ann Arbor the UP had never lived together as a total unit-Bob and Vic and Dave Sinclair and our equipment man and myself all shared the same crumbling, leaky stone house overlooking the grimy John C. Lodge-Edsel Ford Freeway interchange, but Gary was so young that his parents wouldn't give him up until we got our nice "new" place on Hill Street. Once we were all under one roof in A-Square we grew to see that our drummer did not share the same visión of high energyhard working tightness that we had, and Vic went his own way (and is still kicking out the jams somewhere in Detroit) and we found a real freek (as John put it) named Scott Bailey who got us moving again. Scott was born in 1951 in Texas, had a variety of fathers and moved around the country with them a lot, and eventually settled up north in Elk Rapids, a small Lake Michigan cherry picking town just outside of Traverse City. He went to military school for a while in what was a futile attempt by his parents at giving him a career in the "armed services", and his mother sent him to the classical music school at Interlocken until she found out that he was playing drums in a awf ui rock and roll band! in his spare time. After that (when he was 15) Scott split for Ann Arbor, became a hippy, and eventually joined with us. Scott's moving in with us late in the summer of 1967 was the biggest step the UP had taken since its birth in Detroit a full year bef ore. For the first time we were able to begin to get organized in a very real sense - we lived together as closely as possible and all of us were finally able to work together on a closest possible term, too. And the organization of our music and our Uves into a single, whole, powerful thing is what made it possible for us to stay together and play the music that we knew we had to play. After another year together (by the summer of 1969) we had seen first hand some of the most important changes in the history of Michigan music. Trans-Love became the White Panther Party as they saw the righteous need to organize all our people to bring about the changes we wanted to see in our lives - just as we and the MC 5 had begun to organize ourselves to play our music. The MC 5 became the most powerful f orce on the whole music scène and forced people to start checking out the entire high energy . - 5 "icifö _ i midwest music phenomena. John Sinclair got sent to prison for 10 years for possession of 2 joints. And the MC 5 split f rom the W. P. P. and slowly began to lose the force and power that had made them famous as they got manipulated by the pop star scène and started to lose sight of their original high energy purpose. The W. P. P. people closed down their house next door 'and combined f orces with us. And, as the UP got tighter within itself and within the Party, we kept on playing, more than ever, wherever people wanted to hear us - we played roughly 5-10 times a month and nearly a third of the time it was for free at concerts in the park or benefits for people's community organizations. We saw that the most important aspect of our music had to be its relationship to the people - the energy generated by crazy dancing rock and roll maniacs is what our music has to have to exist at all. The ref rigerator was empty a lot and we've smoked lots of sticks and sterns, but we've always done whatever we could with what we had to play the music for the people - because that's what U's all about. And in the nearly 3 years that we've been together like this (nearly f our years since the start of the original UP) we've played at a lot of halls and schools and churches and clubs and ballrooms and pop festivals and, along with the people, we've learned how to make the music better. And harder, and f aster. Tighter. Higher energy. And we know we still got a long way to go. We're glad of that- there's still plenty of room to move, plenty of ways to make the rock and roll grow. And growth is life and that's what Tm talking about. This music is plenty alive and will be as long as there are people to hear it. Anybody who can really hear the music knows in a minute that it ain't about to "die"- the music itself is what life is all about. I'm sorry to say that we've only made one record, the "J ust Like an Aborigine""Hassan I Sabba" single on our SunDance label (released in May, 1970), that you can listen to right now on your record player, but we're getting ready to change that, too. Until we do the music critics will just have to take the words of the hundreds of people that have squeezed with us into the Canterbury House and the Union Ballroom, and jammed with us on stage at Detroit's Tartar Field and at Bowling Green and even at Lincoln, Nebraska- ROCK AND ROLL IS HERE TO STAY ! 1 ! All Power to the People ! ! Long Live Rock and Rpll !{ - a ■ ■ ■■