Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Five Decades of Rock ’n’ Roll in America’s Loudest City

Steve Miller, Author
Edited by Steve Miller. Da Capo, $17.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-306-82065-6
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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It’s not all Motown and rap—Detroit has contributed its share of rockers, vividly chronicled in this spirited oral history. Journalist Miller (Commando: The Johnny Ramone Autobiography) follows the rock scene in Motor City, its suburbs, and its satellite college town of Ann Arbor, from Ted Nugent and Bob Seger in the 1960s through the White Stripes and Kid Rock in the aughties; the presiding genius is Ann Arborite Iggy Pop, whose spitting, head-smashing, crowd-diving stage antics were the basis for punk rock’s etiquette and ethos. The reminiscences are standard rock soap opera fare, but harder edged: the drug use is more driven, the clubs grungier, the resentment of major labels more bitter, the groupies more heartless, the gunplay more casual, the attitude more defiant—“I had a straight razor in my boot, and I just, like, shook it in his face,” recalls one woman bassist—and the iconic rock mood of besieged apocalyptic rebellion more authentic against the city’s grim backdrop of bloody race riots and postindustrial collapse. Fans will find a trove of gnarly lore on unjustly (and not unjustly) neglected bands here—and an atmospheric portrait of the Wild Midwest frontier that spawned them. Photos. Agent: David Patterson, Foundry Literary + Media. (July)
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