I also had to collect many items for a work session later in the day. Well, I hadn't driven my 2001 Honda Odyssey in years and it is a beautiful van and looks brand new. Cool...So I get in the van and realize I don't remember how to operate the heater, nor the cd player, cruise control, etc.
So I spent 20 minutes in my driveway reacquainting myself with all the controls. Gotta be in Ann Arbor in an hour. Oh well, I'll get there when I get there. At my age I'm allowed to experience a senior moment...right? Right.
Time to go to work. We wanted to do some memorabilia and merch photos. After numerous back and forth phone calls we had a good game plan. Some of the pics are going to show up in a blockbuster blog post I've been constructing in long hand for some time now, but I need more time to finish it before we post it. Kim graciously took candid shots the rest of the day.
Kimmer--Lesley (my daughter the artist) and I hadn't seen Dennis in quite awhile and it was really exciting to have him come back to work with us again..We did so many events in 2009 and had such a great time..Now we are back together and creating lots of new ideas and making plans for the future. I planned to take Den to my favorite coffee shop in Ann Arbor, Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee on Jackson Rd. It is right by Ron Asheton's old house..Den wanted to see it again so we breezed by...
MGT--We finished the coffee shop photo shoot and got ready to take a trip down Ann Arbor memory lane. 1510 Hill Street ( MC5's second band house) was the most important destination for me, but we decided to stop at the local coffee house and blow 15 bucks on three lattes. Five bucks for a cup of coffee? Ridiculous. I remember gas & cigarettes being twenty five cents a gallon and ditto on a pack of smokes when I worked at a gas station when I was 16 years old.
Kimmer--There were two really cute girls working that day at the coffee shop. They asked me if they could take a photo with Den for their Facebook pages..they were so excited! I told them I was sure Dennis would accommodate their request.... :) Den said later that he wondered when they might post their photos on Facebook. I told them that they were most likely posted before we drove out of the driveway! LOL
MGT--Incidentally I was driving home one night from the gas station in uptown Detroit city when I first heard "My Generation" by the Who. I was so overwhelmed by the incendiary and audacious nature of this tune, I pulled on to the freeway's shoulder, parked and drooled over the ending of the tune when Keith Moon exploded into a boss drum solo under and over the music and vocals. This was a first in rock music!
Loved the stutter Roger (Daltrey)... That song cinched it for me to really attack the drums the way Moon did. In a year's time I had Moon The Loon's style down pat. Damn he was great.(RIP)
MGT--I commenced to reminisce about my life in Ann Arbor with my psychic twin (Kim) and I felt like I was back home. Feelin' mighty excited to get on with the tour...life is good today.
Kimmer--We decided to take the Main St route past the U of M Football Stadium to Hill Street. We pulled into the driveway of 1520 Hill St and parked. This is the famous house that had the bomb crater in the front yard back in the day...
Kimmer--The Luther Non Profit Group owns both Hill St Houses now and they do all kinds of good works for people in Ann Arbor. Below in the photo is Dennis on the porch of his old home at 1510 Hill St. Den pushed all the apt intercom buttons hoping to have a student let us in the house. No one answered. They were most likely in class. So we walked around to the rear of the big house hoping to catch someone there.
We got lucky and Jack Rosette was coming out the back door. I had met and interviewed him before for another story a few years ago. Jack took us inside! THANKS JACK!
MGT--Here comes 1510 Hill street! There is the rock! Painted blue now. Great landmark for those hazy nights tryin' to find my way home. This was our second band house and boy did we have a great and productive time. At any one day there was probably 14 to 24 people living there. We moved to this house in May, 1968. Too much police hassle in Detroit house. Gotta Keep Movin' ya know. Screw the dangerous drama, we had work to do, and AA was the perfect town for us at the time.
MGT--This photo below is of a resident named Jack and myself standing at the exact location of the photo Leni Sinclair took of the MC5 on the inside cover of our first album "Kick Out The Jams". The one with the White Panther buttons stuck in our chests.
MGT--As you can see in this photo, we are in the war room where we had a 12' long wooden table but now looking very cozy with some comfy looking furniture. This place is now rented out by the room to University of Michigan college students.
MGT--This is a photo of Emily, who is graduating this year as an aerospace engineer. Right on Emily! You go girl. She will be going for her master's degree after she graduates.
MGT--This is a huge house with a labyrinth of hallways. We only had two bathrooms if I remember correctly and now I counted at least five.
I found my room but it was locked and nobody was home. The student was probably at some lecture or other. My room was connected by a door to the only restroom and shower in the place. Hah!
Jack in one of the 1510 rooms
MGT--Anyhoo, my most vivid memory is of Lieutenant Stottlemeyer, head of narcotics on the AA police force. He used to come around just checking to see if we were behaving ourselves, you know do we have any fugitives, underage runaways, guns or drugs for sale.
We grew so comfortable around him he let us keep on smoking our joints and we could sit around the table with him and make him laugh by offering a joint to him! He was a good Joe after all was said and done 'cause we were clean anyway, so we had a good time with him.
Well to sum up, hundreds of people passed through that front door and this list is too damn long for me to type. Suffice it to say, the Sun Ra Arkestra stayed at the joint for their gig at the Grande Ballroom with us one weekend, and they were so cool to hang with. I am a very blessed man then and now.
MGT--Here I am sitting on the porch of the mansion.
MGT--Kimmer has played a key role in getting me kick-started to get moving again. Thus this day trip. Thanks Kimmer. As some of you may know, I lost my dearly beloved Patrice on April 11, 2014. We had been together for 33 years and loved each other profoundly. After her passing I went into the most horrendous and soul-crunching grieving. Toughest time I have ever gone through in my life. Period!! I am still in kind of a state of shock, but it was High Time to get to work again.
Enter Kim. I would not have come to Ann Arbor if it wasn't for her gentle pushing. Again, super thanks to Kim, (and Ralph, and Karen, and Sherry, my next door neighbors). Special thanks to my brother Pete and sister Donna for propping me up through my trip through the depths of hell. I wrote the song "Gotta Keep Movin'", so it's time for me the phoenix to rise from the ashes & KOTJ-MF'S one more time! Hell, I'm only 66 years old!
Thank you Miss Lesley Maki (Gullacass Art) and Kimmer retrokimmer.com for photographs!
Excelsior My Friends
Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson
November 9, 2014