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Cactus Guitarist Ready To Play In Pain

Of the Oakland Press

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Veteran Detroit guitarist Jim McCarty will be playing in pain when Cactus takes the stage for its first area show in 35 years tonight.

McCarty is suffering from a ruptured disk in his back, part of a chronic condition he’s had for the past 20 years. He considered postponing the date, one of a handful Cactus is slated to play this year, but when he heard that fans were headed to Detroit from all over the country, McCarty decided that “canceling was not an option.”

“It’s just pain,” notes McCarty, who came to fame with Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels and also has been in Detroit, the Buddy Miles Express and the Rockets. He now leads his own group, Mystery Train.

“What I’m hoping happens is that the music is like a wave; you catch that wave, and when you’re riding it, you transcend the pain. You’re not conscious of the pain ’cause you’re in the music. Then, at the end of the evening, you collapse.”

McCarty says Cactus — which critics dubbed “the American Led Zeppelin” — is worth it. He recorded three albums with the group founded in 1969 by the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, before leaving over creative differences. A New York-based fan, however, financed some reunion recordings with new singer Jimmy Kunes (original vocalist Rusty Day was fatally shot over a drug deal in 1982), resulting in last year’s “Cactus V” album.

“The new stuff is much more to my liking,” McCarty says. “Before, I thought it was an experiment that never really worked out for me. Now it’s much more controlled.

“With age there comes wisdom and maturity, I guess.”

Cactus, the Muggs and Bobby East & James Wailin perform Friday (July 27th) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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