Destroy All Monsters: Performance and Interview

Destroy All Monsters, Detroit proto-punk rock band, performs and are interviewed on this cassette tape from journalist Walter Wasacz.

Track listing by Cary Loren

1. You’re Gonna Die (Music by Loren / Words: Niagara)
2. TH Queen (Music and Words by Loren)
3. Boots (Music and Words by Lee Hazelwood / Arrangement by Loren) 18:00
4. I Want to Live (Words and Music Loren) 25:00
5. Vampire (Words and Music Loren) 32:42
6. I Wanna Be Your Dog (By Pop / Asheton) 38:00
7. November 22nd (Music by Asheton / Words by Loren) 46:00

Notes by Walter Wasacz:

That recording was from the “infamous” Aug. 10, 1977 Kramer Theatre show that was sorta the catalyst for the best and worst of what was to come in the next few Detroit punk rock years. I was there trying to do an unannounced, gonzo-style interview with DAM for a fanzine Art Lyzak and I were looking to start up. I brought an inexpensive hand-held cassette recorder. We were calling it the “Detroit Bozo” but it never launched. White Noise beat us to it and began publishing a few months later. The lineup included DAM, Rob Tyner’s “new” MC5, the Sillies, and Bittersweet Alley. I had just come home from London, where I was taking a class in British film that summer and making the scene there as often as I could. I thought the Detroit stuff I saw and heard at the Kramer was dated in comparison, a hangover from the ’60s and early ’70s. The angry Brit and arty NYC scenes (which I dropped in on in ’75 and ’76) seemed so young and fresh. I was into the Stooges in ’69. Now I was more into Television and Throbbing Gristle. I didn’t know anybody in the Detroit scene outside of the Mutants and the Romantics and just busted backstage at the Kramer. I got the attention of DAM manager David Keeps (met him for the first time that night), who introduced me to the band. It was Ron, Mike, Rob and Niagara. The Miller brothers were out. Cary was out. It was essentially a heavy Detroit-Ann Arbor power trio fronted by Niagara. [Editor Note: Cary contends that the Miller Brothers indeed played on this gig.] Ron talked for a few minutes into the recorder then said they had to go on. I kept the tape rolling from the side of the stage and captured the performance. I wasn’t even sure I did that until Carleton [of the DSC] and I found that cassette in my attic last summer. I have another one I did in ’78 or ’79 with Ron at the Old Miami that I know is better. He told lurid tales of the Stooges spending months in London practicing and recording Raw Power, about him walking around stoned in Soho in Nazi gear, and the band fucking up its relationship with Main Man. The tape is somewhere in the house in a box, I’m sure.

The best part of the tape we had digitized comes near the end. Ron is trying to end the interview and asks me to come over to the house any time and gives me his phone number. Mike Davis leans into the mic and says “If you suck dick, you can come over any time.” I had some subsequent great, but unrecorded, interviews with Mike during the next few years.

I would make the case that the tape is an accidental artifact of an odd piece of Detroit music history. Ron and Mike were trying to pick up the pieces after a decade of mad success and failure. Niagara was working the intersection of art and rock beginning to find her identity. Musically, it doesn’t come close to the sonic art experimentation that Cary, Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Niagara nurtured a few years before this. Not to mention the Millers’ contributions. That came from some other more undefinable inner space, still a mystery of creation going on 40 years later.

This wasn’t that.

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