ROCK AND REEL – #1 – August – September, 1979, Detroit
It’s time to try to get another section started in the Scene – Rock Film! I already started up with a look into Free, aka the film that was used in Cin-a-Rock, also known as The Day the Music Died, also known as the film that featured one of Jimi Henrdix’s final performances, but that was more on a whim – this should be the start of the real deal focusing on plays in Detroit.
In a way, I view the Rock Movie scene of ’79-Early 80’s as something that took over the dying Disco trend (When Fabian and Casey Kasem star in one, it was the end – see Disco Fever!), and one that pre-dated MTV and showed that there seriously was an audience for the sound and vision for those who were living in the smaller areas not touched by the mega-promoters who commanded high prices and aimed for the stadiums or without a center for the new breed of Punk and New Wave to play plus those who were too young to see anything but yet still of age to see the usually PG-Rated flicks. Although the Music scene in The States in 1979 was messed up (anyone with a more cynical view will go on and on about that), there was a lot of good things happening, and those who just wanted to cool off at the movies had some great choices – even if the classic Punk Rock Movie From England did not touch a screen in The D (Cinematic had some connections with the Downtown screens, but they won with the Martial Arts, knowing that Punk in the pre-Saint Andrews days was a tough sell).
You could say that the Midnight showing s of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was the start of this trend which broke the Rock Film out of the AOR and more into the New Wave of things. The ad shown here is from 1976, from the Towne’s original run in October, but the midnight play I’m referring to was as The Movies at Prudential, which was going well in August, 1979. Knowing that there are a few RHPS fans reading this, here;s the trailer.
Just a small deviation before I go (and give this a little more color!) – The Bay City Rollers played the Royal Oak Music Theater on 8/10/79 promoting the overlooked Elevator album, with the Midnight show being the legendary Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones. We know the Stones’ flick, but The Rollers were moving into some good Power Pop, although their Bubblegum years in the spotlight seriously killed a lot of interest.
Then again, The Rollers are not out of place when you look at this vision, because it was also in this month the debut feature starring The Ramones would also happen in Detroit.. “S! A! T! U! R! D! A! Y! NIGHT! in “Saturday Night” = the legendary “Hey! Ho! Let’s! Go!” chant in “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Pop Star Shaun Cassidy was also promoting his 4’th album, Room Service in the area as well (the album would not chart,though…). Enough Bubblegum, let;s get back to the noise!
8/24/79 at the Maple 3 would bring in a show that connected to a lot of the 60’s Rockers in the city who were among the first (along with New York and Los Angelis) to put The Who on top as well as the small group of those into the Mod scene of the UK at the time which put their early albums as major influences, and of course the Album Rockers who got into their music in a big way, but without latching onto the culture that embraced them originally. In short, everyone who gave a damn about Rock and Roll (Although The Mods got their Who film later in the year…but that’s for later!).
The Maple 3 played quality, and this was one of the finest Rock films ever, stepping up the Roc Doc genre a hell of a lot…with a bang! In The 80’s, it will host a few of the others in the Punk and New Wave days (although the Punch and Judy would get some of the harder to find flicks until it’s close in 1984).
Midnight shows of Led Zeppelin’s the Song Remains the Same and the ever-playable classic nightmare that is The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter were spotted around the area, and More American Graffiti would look at the Late 60’s in a bittersweet fashion. The film played Detroit 8-17-79.
Still, the New had to happen, and one of the best films to usher it in while a lot of people were still cold to what was going on and still holding onto the past was the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll High School with the one and only Ramones along with Mary Woronov in an incredible performance as well as the lovely PJ Soles.
New World had a perfect way to being it in. Although “Detroit Rock City” will be forever connected to Kiss’ seminal song, it was a line that was also used for the Detroit area showing of the classic and ultra-fun flick along with The Kids Are Alright…The Who film, that is!
Then again, if your taste ran towards the legendary Neil Young, you had a major reason to celebrate his music with the incredible Rust Never Sleeps filmed Oct. 28, 1978 – Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh would suggest the title. This would play The Towne 9/7/79 featuring several Young classics, partially acoustic and the rest roaring loud with Crazy Horse, along with the roadies looking like Jawas and a very imaginative stage set. Easily the most successful Young film for all of the right reasons, mainly that the music is incredible.
A great line-up!