From John Lee Hooker to Eminem, from Alice Cooper to Jack White, Detroit can lay claim to some of the boldest and most vibrant pioneers in pop music’s history.
To celebrate the incredibly fertile music culture of Detroit, this season Carhartt WIP have produced a series of T-Shirts and sweatshirts paying homage to Rhythim is Rhythim, Eddie Hazel, The Gories and the Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit.
The second instalment of the "Sound of Detroit" Series is now available at Carhartt WIP stores, online and in selected retailers around the world.
Rhythim is Rhythim – It Is What It Is (Transmat, 1988)
Detroit is the birthplace of techno and Derrick May (aka Rhythim Is Rhythim and Mayday) is recognised as one of its three founding fathers, alongside Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. In 1988 their music had caught the imagination of young English listeners and Virgin Records commissioned a compilation of this new American dance music called Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit. This release was the first to distinguish techno as a distinct genre from house music rather than a variation of it. Legend has it that It Is What It Is was written by May at the last minute when Virgin realised they didn't have enough songs for the compilation – and so one of the most revered techno records was born almost by accident.
Eddie Hazel – Game, Dames & Guitar Thangs (Warner Bros., 1977)
Eddie Hazel may have been from New York, but this album's place in the Sound of Detroit series is secured by his long involvement with Parliament-Funkadelic, the legendary psychedelic R&B group led by George Clinton. Clinton's musical journey took him from writing songs for Detroit's musical powerhouse Motown in the mid-'60s to the wigged-out experimental soul-rock fusion of 1970s Funkadelic. Eddie Hazel was a 17 year-old guitar prodigy when he joined Clinton in 1967 and a 27 year-old genius when he released his only solo album, with the help of much of the Funkadelic family. Game, Dames & Guitar Thangs is just as freaky as the artwork suggests.
The Gories – House Rockin' (Wanghead With Lips, 1989)
Recorded in a tin hut by three Detroit natives who had never played music before they joined the band, House Rockin' remains a high-water mark for blues-punk and garage rock. Way before the White Stripes made waves with their no-bass line up, The Gories' drummer and two guitarists were making a racket you'll never forget.House Rockin' also contains a nod to Detroit's most famous adopted bluesman, John Lee Hooker, with a cover of his landmark single Boogie Chillun. Mick Collins, the band's lead singer, went on to found The Dirtbombs and play a key part in Detroit's infamous garage-rock scene.
Various Artists - Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit (SFTRI, 2001)
As a snapshot of Detroit's garage rock scene at the turn of the millennium,Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit cannot be beaten. The fact that it was wholly produced by Jack White and recorded in the basement of his house should be enough to make garage rock and White Stripes fans buy this record on sight. Sympathetic Sounds... features the cream of local talent, such as The Dirtbombs, The Von Bondies and The Detroit Cobras, and it was both a calling card and a middle-finger to the record industry. Jack White showed how far from the action local artists felt when he wrote scornfully in the liner notes,“no suit from LA or New York is going to travel to Detroit to hand out business cards.” The artwork shows the impressive Detroit skyline before its decay in the late 20th century.