Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Motor City?

I just spent 5 days in Detroit recording a fabulous new Whiskey Daredevils record. (Will this be the record to catapult us to superstardom and dry humping R&B singers with single names like Rihanna? Yes, probably.) Detroit is a very odd contrast to our home here in Cleveland. In both places the weather is horrible, the industry has collapsed, and homeless people wander around waiting to break into your car. The diference is that people in Detroit are proud of their city, whereas here people are embarrassed by the blight and missed opportunities.

I like the fact that the attitude in Detroit is "kill the weak". Folks strut around that city like they are some kind of Mad Max survivor and they can eat your spleen for lunch if they so choose. (Note: Many of them probably can, and have no other source of food, so be careful.) I was warned by a Clevo suburbanite before heading out to Downtown Detroit, to "be careful of the bad areas". As far as I can tell, they're all bad areas. Yet, I was also struck by the 26 year old Detroit native woman bartender (that should really get into modeling instead of bartending as I left a shamefully low tip) that had the "D" Tigers style script tattooed on her upper arm. I'm telling you, civic pride everywhere you look. Is it unfounded? Yeah...but I think it's better to be deluded than bummed out like we are here in Cleveland.

When in Detroit, make sure and stop at the Motor City Casino. We stopped in on a Saturday night after recording, and that place was like the bar in Star Wars. I have never seen a place with so many horrible freaks, misfits, low rent hustlers, and losers. I left a blackjack table that featured a collection of human beings with no redeemable qualities whatsoever, and I was winning. I can put up with almost anything if I'm collecting some jack. What was it like? I will try to set the scene for you. How often do you walk around a place and say, "Well, I have to say, this crowd is nowhere near as high class as that dog track in Daytona." and mean it? Amputees on scooters...80 year old black men in turquoise suits (with matching shoes) struggling around with canes... bloated white guys with 1986 hair cuts and rayon Red Wings jackets...cocktail waitresses so fat that you wonder what the girls must have looked like that got turned down for the job. There's two sections in the casino: smoking and heavy smoking. It's really an amazing place. Hell's Casino.

I would also recommend a couple coney dogs and bean soup at Lafayette Coney Island. Tucked next to hated rival American Coney Island, Lafayette is the real deal. It's small, dirty, and makes only a small list of menu items. All the guys look like they have been working there since 1974 (and might not have washed their clothes since their employment started). Do not let this liberal adherence to health codes get in the way of your meal. The hot dogs are great, the chili sauce is perfect, the soup is spicy, and the ambiance is like that old Saturday Night Live "Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!" skit. Plus, you can eat a complete meal for about 4 bucks. Highly recommended. Here's a youtube of the scene there... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qitl33LEm_g

Looking for a cheap watch or plastic bust of Athena? Look no further than Greektown! Taking a cue from their forefathers in the real Greece, the immigrants that moved into Greektown in Detroit turned to the one business they knew: selling crappy souveniers. Greece has been in a bit of a fallow period since what, 300 B.C. or so? After the death of Aristotle, Greece was forced to focus on their economic strengths of exporting poor quality gold and silver painted housewares, wall hangings of Greek Gods, cylinders of lamb meat to sell to college students as "gyros", and women with hairy forearms. The whole package really comes together in Detroit's Greektown, where you get the horrible fashion sense of Greece with the weather of Michigan. While we were there, oblivious suburban Moms walked their teenage daughters around while dark haired guys with bushy mustaches leered at all their asses (and mine too as far as I know).

Still, I like Detroit. There's a unique feel to the city, and plenty of interesting things going on. The confidence and pride people feel in the city have lead to a laundry list of accomplishments that other "great" cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas (for example) can't touch with a ten foot pole. People are out trying to make things happen and succeeding despite huge odds against them. So let's hear it for Detroit! Hey, what the fuck is that guy doing by my car?


At April 1, 2008 at 10:42:00 PM EDT , Blogger Mike D said...

This is absolute truth!! Grew up on the outskirts of Detroit and I couldnt agree with you more...I was laughing out loud for real cause it was like I was driving by downtown after a Tiger game ...good luck with the album!!


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