'I Was There' Moments

Letter From the Editor


Published:

Reminiscing can be fun. So let’s start backward with a glance at this issue’s last page. Usually, ace author George Bulanda ferrets out our “The Way It Was” gems. But once in a while, I chip in with an idea. 

To wit: One of my favorite topics of conversation focuses on musical memories. Years ago, I was describing shows I’d seen — the Talking Heads’ first local appearance at the long-gone Punch and Judy Theatre; catching the Romantics in Hamtramck dive bars before they got big; seeing The Bob Seger System (way before “Night Moves”) at Fraser Hockeyland.

Others weighed in; then a co-worker trumped us all: “The Who played my high school.” 

Say what? At first, we weren’t sure whether to believe her. 

But on a 1967 U.S. visit, the British rockers really did perform at Southfield High. I recently posted a query about the show on a Facebook page for fellow music geeks called “The ’60s & early ’70s Detroit rock scene.” 

Jackpot! Thanks to the Internet — and Don Henderson, who answered my note — we have a picture. 

The find didn’t just vindicate my co-worker. During my annual turn manning Hour Detroit’s booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, (we’re a media sponsor), I struck up a conversation with an ex-Detroiter now living in California. Somehow the topic of old shows came up. (Jeez, am I a broken record.) 

When I relayed my Who anecdote, the woman triumphantly told her companion: “I told you so!” Apparently she was there, too, but her claim had been met with some skepticism. 

Also in this issue, I met Rob St. Mary, whose book about the rise and fall of Orbit Magazine comes out this month. Of course I enjoyed references to bands I had seen over the years, but one gem stood out: 

A regular presence at Bookie’s Club 870 was Jerry Peterson’s comic punk band the Boners. … [Peterson’s] most iconic and well-remembered performance with the Boners was as the Flying Nun. … Peterson belted out tunes while being suspended by aircraft cable from the ceiling. 

I realized that I was there! I think it was at a Halloween show. In addition to the nun, I vaguely recall a group of four guys wearing nothing but white tights and various colored balloons — costumed as the mid-’70s TV commercial “Fruit of the Loom” underwear guys. (You had to be there.)

Enough memory lane tripping. This issue has a lot of forward thinking, too. There’s a Murals in the Market initiative, a look at how the Detroit Lions have made huge strides on the field and in affirmative action hiring, and a story about a 50-year-old Cranbrook Schools program that benefits Detroit students.

We also check in with what Mayor Mike Duggan has been keeping busy with, how Antietam is becoming one of the city’s best restaurants, and more. 

We’re also pleased to announce this year’s Best Dressed winners. Come see whose style caught our eye as our society watchers hit the local party circuit and beyond. 

Meanwhile, two of the remaining members of The Who are coming to town in October. Maybe it’s time for a new “I was there” moment. 

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