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Interview:
The Average White Band does not forget the Motor City
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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After its 2013 at Detroit's Campus Martius Park was washed away by heavy rainstorms, the Average White Band is happy to get a chance to make good on the date -- partly because it hates to miss a show, partly because it just loves the city.

"We love the Detroit audience," says singer-bassist Alan Gorrie, one of two founding members -- along with Onnie McIntyre -- left in the Scottish R&B group, which is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its signature hit "Pick Up the Pieces" this year. "We've had great times in Detroit, and I'm really glad to see the city's trying to pull itself up by its bootstraps.

"When I told the guys in the band we're going back to finish the job we couldn't do last year, there was a big cheer. The whole gang is looking forward to it.

And, like so many other acts, Gorrie, 68, says being in the home of Motown also makes Detroit a special stop for AWB.

"Motown was a huge part of our upbringing," he says. "Motown was the biggest dance music in Scotland. In the bands we were in before Average White Band, if you didn't play Motown stuff you didn't get gigs. And because it was impossible for one lead singer to cover all those songs, typically bands would have two or three lead singers -- which is why in (AWB) we had two.

"And I would say my bass playing is really pretty much modeled on James Jamerson, the Motown bass player and to my mind the lead instrument on so many Motown tracks. I am still to this day a solid gold fan of his bass playing. The guy was an absolute genius."

AWB recently released a box set of remastered versions of all of its studio albums, which is out in the U.K. and Europe but available via the Internet. Gorrie, who splits his time between homes in Scotland and the U.S., says he hopes to get the group working on a new album, its first since 2003, later this year.

Average White Band, Amp Fiddler and Lookin' Back

5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22

4th Friday at Campus Martius Park, downtown Detroit

Admission is free

Visit www.campusmartiuspark.com

Web Site: www.campusmartiuspark.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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