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Interview:
"6 Degrees" show puts spotlight on Detroit music
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Martin "Tino" Gross wears a lot of hats as a performer, bandleader, songwriter, producer and co-owner of the local Funky D Records label.



"I'm not trying to be a talk show host," says the veteran Royal Oak-based musician, who also sports a trademark fedora. But Gross is, in fact, hosting a new TV show, "6 Degrees with Tino G," that debuts at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, on Detroit Public Television (WTVS-Channel 56).



The 35-minute pilot features Gross a multiple Detroit Music Awards winner who fronted Detroit's Howling Diablos and has worked with artists such as John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside and John Sinclair interviewing and performing with Motown Funk Brother Dennis Coffey. The two share stories and dissect Coffey's 1971 hit instrumental "Scorpio," joined by the Funky D All-Stars band, which includes Johnny "Bee" Badanjek on drums and Kid Rock Twisted Brown Trucker band members Jimmie Bones and Larry Frantangelo.



"This is shop talk among musicians," Gross explains, "me being a huge fan of music and talking to some of my heroes. It's fun. I can be myself, and we can also expose people to a lot of Detroit-centric musicians that maybe not everybody's aware of."



"6 Degrees" is produced and directed by Emmy Award winner Tony D'Annunzio, whose credits include the "Louder Than Love" documentary about the Grande Ballroom and several videos for Funky D artists. The program was filmed at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion, though for the opening Gross tools around town in a friend's 1959 Cadillac.



D'Annunzio says an 11-episode season is planned, though only the pilot has been filmed so far, while the program solicits additional funding and sponsorship.



"I think a lot of people are going to love hearing these stories," Gross says. "To me it's putting a spotlight on Detroit and the great music that came from here and is still coming from here."

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