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Third Man Pressing celebrates opening with VIP party

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- Braving rain and descending temperatures, Ashley Bernacchi of Berkley joined a group of friends in a tent on Friday night, Feb. 24, outside Third Man Records’ Cass Corridor store.

The were among several groups camping out overnight on Canfield Street to be among the first in when Third Man’s vinyl pressing plant opened to the public Saturday morning, Feb. 25. Crazy? “I think it’s pretty cool,” said Bernacchi, 19. “My friends really like records, and it’s great to have a place that makes them here.”

As the assorted camping groups hung out on the sidewalk, Third Man Pressing celebrated the opening of the 10,000-square-foot plant with an invitation-only party inside. There were performances by rapper Danny Brown, Detroit country group the Craig Brown Band and Birmingham native Kelley Stoltz. But the real festivities were in the plant itself, where black jumpsuited Third Man staffers pressed yellow vinyl copies of MC5 and Stooges albums, red vinyl copies of the first two White Stripes album and more on Third Man’s eight brand-new, German-built presses.

“We’re all one family,” Third Man founder and Detroit native Jack White said while toasting the opening. “We’re all together. This is ours together, and remember this moment because we’re making things beautiful for the next generation.”

Earlier, White -- sporting a pinstripe suit, yellow tie and yellow shoes -- said that he began envisioning the pressing plant when the started Third Man Records back in 2001 in Detroit. “We wanted to be a label that had its own pressing plant,” he noted. “It’s been a long time since Capitol and Columbia and all those labels had their own pressing plants. I knew one day Third Man was going to have at least a couple presses, so now we’ve got eight.”

And doing it in Detroit was key, White added.

“This is incredible,” he said. “I went to high school, like, three blocks away. My mom was an usher at Masonic (Temple). We played at the Gold Dollar. So it’s perfect. Out of the darkness comes the light, and what was considered the roughest neighborhood in Detroit.

“That’s what’s so beautiful about this rebirth. We’ve been waiting 40 years for this, and it’s amazing to be part of it.”

Third Man Pressing is the first plant to open with new presses in the U.S. in 35 years and can produce up to 5,000 12- or 7-inch discs per hour. The company hopes to grow its business to the point where it’s running 24-7.

Among the guests at the opening party were representatives from pressing plants around the country, from Vermont to California, as well as Detroit’s Archer Record Pressing. Reporters from Rolling Stone and Popular Mechanic were on hand, along with White’s mother and other members of his family and musicians such as Stefanie Eulinberg from Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band, the Detroit Cobras’ Mary Ramirez, Danny Kroha, the Oblivians, producer Mike E. Clark and more -- with the party raging into the wee hours of Saturday morning.

“Let’s hope that people appreciate it,” said Detroit techno pioneer Derrick May, who licensed a special 7-inch single for the opening weekend and attended Friday’s party whit his 12-year-old daughter Soren. “Let’s hope it inspired a lot of young people. It’s right here, right at their fingertips. We’re all excited.”

White echoed May’s sentiment, explaining that the vinyl plant is “not about being nostalgic. It’s about preserving something beautiful for the next generation so they can understand it, too. Tonight and tomorrow, some 12-year-old kid’s gonna buy a Stooges record and is gonna get turned on, and that’s worth all of this -- every cent, every bit of energy.

“Everybody here would agree with that, too.”

If You Go

• Third Man Records Pressing grand opening is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Third Man Records Cass Corridor, 441 Canfield St. W., Detroit. Live performances throughout the day, by The Mummies, the Oblivians and the Craig Brown Band. Exclusive locally pressed yellow vinyl versions of the MC’s “Kick Out The Jams” and the Stooges’ self-titled debut album, and 7-inch singles by Detroit electronic music icons Derrick May and Carl Craig. Call 313-209-5205 or visit thirdmanrecords.com.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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