Listen Up: Wednesday, December 26, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Scott Morgan’s Powertrane

Ann Arbor Revival Meeting (Real O Mind Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, Ann Arbor, a hip college town 40 miles from Detroit, played home to the MC5 and the Stooges, two pioneering high-energy bands that blazed the trail for both metal and punk and made a lot of people (mainly cops and record company execs) very nervous.

Today, Ann Arborites Scott Morgan and Deniz Tek, fiftysomethings who should know better, carry the flag of Five/Stooges noise and dementia. After leading Nuggets-era garage kings the Rationals, Morgan fronted Motor City supergroup Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. Now he annually destroys European stages with youngsters like the Hellacopters and Hydromatics. Tek, an expatriate to Australia, single-handedly started a punk explosion Down Under with his band Radio Birdman before spending a decade as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon/fighter pilot (Val Kilmer’s Top Gun character used his call sign). He returned to music in the 1990s with a half-dozen albums — now difficult to find —that mixed the hardest rock with unbridled experimentalism.

Last spring, the two joined with new and old Ann Arborites to play a series of East Coast and Midwest dates. They included ex-Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, ace Mitch Ryder axeman Robert Gillespie (whose boss says he respects Morgan more than any other singer), and two young firebrands, bassist Chris “Box” Taylor and drummer Andy Frost. (We think Frost is the true heir to Scott “Rock Action” Asheton’s Stooge thumper throne.) This set, recorded at Ann Arbor’s Blind Pig (think: the Wreck Room without couches), captures something like the undiluted, over-the-top essence of rock ’n’ roll. Morgan and Tek reprise their respective discographies (the uninitiated are directed to the Hydromatics’ Powerglide on Italian Freakshow and Sub Pop’s The Essential Radio Birdman, 1974-1978). Then, Asheton and singer Hiawatha Bailey show up for “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “T.V. Eye,” and a few other joints. It’s wish fulfillment for aficionados of high-energy rawk. This one won’t be in local record stores so you’ll have to cop it online from www.realomind.com.


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