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Compilation captures "lost" era of Detroit punk rock scene

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

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Thanks to the likes of the MC5 and the Stooges, Detroit and Ann Arbor have been recognized as a breeding ground for punk rock. But Robert St. Mary hopes to tell the rest of the story.

On Friday, May 22, St. Mary and his Detroit Punk Archive project releases "End of the Night (1976-1983)," a two-LP anthology from a fertile music period he felt has been "overlooked" due to the notoriety of acts that came before and after, including the White Stripes. "I can understand a little of it," says St. Mary, author of "The Orbit Magazine Anthology" in 2015 and a reporter for WWJ-AM. "There was no real breakout band except the Romantics, and they were just one aspect of the sound and blew up quickly and went on to international prominence. The rest of this (music) has been kind of forgotten about."

St. Mary considers "End of the Night" as the "master's thesis" of the extensive and exhaustive detroitpunkarchive.com, which he created with private donations and a matching grant from the Knight Foundation. The limited-edition (1,000 copies) set features 29 tracks, 13 previously unreleased, by stalwarts such as the Ramrods, the Sillies, the Mutants, Cinecyde, the Seatbelts and the 3-D Invisibles. It also features early career recordings by Don Was (with the Traitors) and Figures on a Beach (as The Blind), along with tracks the MC5's Wayne Kramer produced for Cadillac Kidz and the Cubes.

The album was pressed at Detroit's Third Man Pressing and will be distributed internationally by Light in the Attic Records.

"This isn't just a rehash from old 7-inch records and compilations," St. Mary says. "This has a lot of stuff no one's ever heard before, and I was really excited to find these things. Back when they were created, it wasn't out of the question for a band to go into the studio and record things and then not have enough money to put it out. I think this will be illuminating for people, here (in metro Detroit) and around the world."

Web Site: detroitpuncharchive.com

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