Frontman Martin "Tino" Gross' trip to the Motown Historical Museum earlier this year helped kick the Howling Diablos new album, "Return of the Funk Hand," into gear.
"That's when I really got inspired," says Gross, who recorded the album with the band at his home in Royal Oak, where he also operates the Funky D Records label. "We took the tour and we were in the Snakepit, and I was just standing there by myself -- the (tour guide) had to come and find me, like, 'Hey, what are you doing?!'
"But I was just standing there going, 'Wow, this is how they did it, and I came home and just start writing songs that seemed to be inspired by that whole thing. It just kicked off something for me."
The 12-track set finds the Diablos joined by a wealth of guests, including the MC5's Wayne Kramer on three tracks, members of the original Vandellas, Mary Ramirez of the Detroit Cobras and Jimmie Bones of Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker band, among others. Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge, Crud, the Orbitsuns), meanwhile, co-wrote "George Clinton Got in My Car," which Gross says is based on a true story.
"(Dombroski) told me about how he was actually driving home, I think down Eight Mile (Road), and he saw George, who needed a ride, and he gave him one," Gross says. "I wrote (the lyrics) and took some liberties with the story, but it's a great concept. It seems like it might be a sleeper hit on the record."
The Howling Diablos, the Royal Blackbirds, Horse Cave Trio and DJ Linda Lexy celebrate the release of "The Funk Hand Will Get You" on Friday, Nov. 29, at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Cover is $8. Call 313-961-4668 or visit www.pjslagerhouse.com.
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