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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. headlines Detroit's Record Store Day festivities

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

It's certainly been a busy world for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. since the Detroit duo released its debut album "It's a Corporate World" last June.

"In the past seven months I don't think we've had more than seven days, nine days straight at home, or something like that," says the group's Joshua Epstein. "We've been gone quite a bit."

Epstein and Daniel Zott have dialed down their touring schedule a bit recently, but they're doing some playing while at home with a special Record Store Day show at the Majestic Theatre. The time off the road, meanwhile, is also letting the pair start of focus on their second album.

"Josh has the gift of always moving on to the next thing," says Zott. "He's got a million ideas in his head. We've already recorded some demos. We probably half an album right now of songs to get recorded and sort of work out."

Epstein puts the count at "four or five songs" finished, but with DEJJ not slated to play another show until the Bonnaroo Music Festival during June in Tennessee, he says he's "confident we can finish the stuff really quickly."

"We're just kind of eager to get back and hole up in the studio for a couple of months and try and finish an album," Epstein adds. "Obviously we've been fairly busy with going out and playing shows, so it's been tough to kind of lock down and finish something like we did before we were traveling so much. But we've been working on a lot of it and have a lot of really exciting ideas."

He says the new music is "a lot more thought out" than it was for "It's a Corporate World," too. "The last time I think we did everything as just a first take, real spontaneous," Epstein explains. "This time it's a little bit more planned, so I think it's definitely an evolution for us."

While it works on that, DEJJ is also putting out some new music for Record Store Day. The duo's "We Almost Lost Detroit" EP will feature its version of the late Gil Scott-Heron's "We Almost Lost Detroit" from 1977, which was inspired by the partial meltdown of the Fermi 1 nuclear reactor near Monroe in 1966. The disc also includes a remix of the song by Stepdad, DEJJ covers of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" and Sixto Rodriguez's "I Think of You," and remixes of the group's "Morning Thought" and "Simple Girl."

"We Almost Lost Detroit" is also causing a stir thanks to a new video that shows Epstein and Zott tooling around the Motor City in a commercial van, with plenty of local sites and citizens included in the clip.

"We were really proud of the version we did," Epstein says. "We felt like we brought it a little bit closer into the catchy pop world that we like to kind of have one foot inside of. It just really kind of fit what we do, and it's a great song to begin with."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., the Hard Lessons and Phatasmagoria perform Saturday, April 21, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com. Record Store Day 2012 takes place on Saturday, April 21. For a list of participating stores and special releases, visit www.recordstoreday.com.


Ypsilanti's own Iggy Pop, co-founder and continuing frontman of the Stooges, is bringing some Michigan rock 'n' roll attitude to his role as Ambassador for Record Store Day 2012.

In a video posted on the official Record Store Day web site, Pop says that, "I got my name, my musical education and my personality all from working at a record store during my tender years. Small indie shops have always been a mix of theater and laboratory. In the 50s and 60s the teen kids used to gather after school at these places to listen free to the latest singles and see if they liked the beat."

But, in typically outspoken fashion, he also uses his position as an opportunity to bash the current state of the music. "I think there are some ages, like the one we're living in, when the game is kind of rigged towards products that contain music -- sort of like those cheap drinks you get in a bad supermarket where it says, 'Contains 10% juice.'There's a lot of stuff out there with a bit of music to it, and I think that's OK, but it reminds me of how bad it was to turn on 'American Badstand' (sic) in the 50s and see all the endless, gutless...imitations of Elvis that the American industry decided to push on the kids."

You didn't really expect Mr. Raw Power to pull any punches, did you?


Among the exclusive Record Store Day release of Detroit area interest are:

* The White Stripes' vaults yield a pair of rare tracks from 2000, "Hand Springs" and "Red Death at 6/14," on a 7-inch single.

* Iggy and the Stooges` "Live at All Tomorrow's Parties," a 12-inch picture disc featuring the group's performance of 1973`s "Raw Power" album in its entirety along with an interview.

* "Kick Out the Jams," an exclusive 7-inch single featuring versions of the iconic song by the MC5 and Afrika Bambaataa.

* "Respect," with Aretha Franklin's version on one side and Otis Redding's on the flip.

* The late Doug Fieger is remembered with the Knack, "Live in Los Angeles 1978," a 10-inch mini-album with two live and two rehearsal performances.

* The Mynah Birds' "It`s My Time"/"Go On and Cry," a 7-inch single from the short-lived Motown rock band that featured Neil Young and Rick Matthews, later known as Rick James.

* Brendan Benson's new single, "What Kind of World," backed with "Go Decco," a song in honor of his son Declan's second birthday, which falls on Saturday.

* Flogging Molly, whose Dave King and Bridget Regan spend part of their time in Ferndale, pair 2002`s "Drunken Lullabies" and last year's "A Prayer For Me in Silence" on a 7-inch disc.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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