Detroit Rock City

Detroit Rock City

The Uncensored History of Rock 'n' Roll in America's Loudest City

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
From the Stooges and MC to Ted Nugent to the White Stripes, Eminem and Kid Rock, this definitive account of rock in Detroit, which has always produced more subversive rock music than any city in the world, presents the stories from the participants themselves. Original. 30,000 first printing.

Perseus Publishing
The definitive account of rock in the city that has produced louder, prouder, more in-your-face rock than anywhere else on Earth

Detroit Rock City is an oral history of Detroit and its music told by the people who were on the stage, in the clubs, the practice rooms, studios, and in the audience, blasting the music out and soaking it up, in every scene from 1967 to today.

From fabled axe men like Ted Nugent, Dick Wagner, and James Williamson jump to Jack White, to pop flashes Suzi Quatro and Andrew W.K., to proto punkers Brother Wayne Kramer and Iggy Pop, Detroit slices the rest of the land with way more than its share of the Rock Pie.

Detroit Rock City is the story that has never before been sprung, a frenzied and schooled account of both past and present, calling in the halcyon days of the Grande Ballroom and the Eastown Theater, where national acts who came thru were made to stand and deliver in the face of the always hard hitting local support acts. It moves on to the Michigan Palace, Bookies Club 870, City Club, Gold Dollar, and Magic Stick – all magical venues in America's top rock city.

Detroit Rock City brings these worlds to life all from the guys and dolls who picked up a Strat and jammed it into our collective craniums. From those behind the scenes cats who promoted, cajoled, lost their shirts, and popped the platters to the punters who drove from everywhere, this is the book that gives life to Detroit's legend of loud.

Book News
Journalist Steve Miller presents a history of the rise and fall of the hard rock music scene in Detroit, mostly in the 70s and 80s, in the form of interviews with musicians, producers, and scenesters. There is a center section of black and white photographs. The author is a Detroit native with experience in the punk scene, and the editor of Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83. As Miller points out, the epicenter of American music is Detroit, in terms of the variety of styles that have emerged from the city and their collective influence. This book deals with only one of them, the place where metalhead and punk aesthetics united with as much Funkiness and New Romantic gloss as straight white boys from the factory floor could tolerate, which wasn't much. The author's perspective is mostly present here as editor and compiler of stories, but he writes in his own voice briefly to make some cogent points, one of which is that abundant high-paying unskilled jobs made Detroit a cultural melting pot like no other. Here are reminiscences of Bob Seger rubbing elbows with Ted Nugent, plus the Romantics, Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder, the White Stripes, Suzi Quatro, and Sun Ra (described here as "the strangest Negro ever, there was no getting around that"). All was presided over by resident gods MC5 and Iggy Pop. The interviewees are mostly insiders rather than famous names. Some stories are predictably sad (mostly about drugs and random violence), and some are hilarious (answering the age-old question, where did they get those tight leather pants?). Color and gender lines are alternatingly acknowledged, denied, crossed, and dodged in fine Rust Belt tradition; it's a book mostly but not entirely about white boys, told mostly but not entirely by white men looking back. The stories are served up with the laughingly bitter hubris of Detroit barroom survivors. Miller's editing gets into the spirit; interviews often look like roundtables until the parties involved start to thrash each other or tell incompatible stories, when readers will realize they are separate interviews edited together for maximum effect. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

From the Stooges and MC to the White Stripes, Eminem, and Kid Rock, this account of rock in Detroit, which has always produced more subversive rock music than any city in the world, presents stories from the participants themselves.

Publisher: Boston : Da Capo Press, [ 2013]
Edition: First Da Capo Press edition
ISBN: 9780306820656
Branch Call Number: 781.6609 MILLE
Characteristics: viii, 312 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

rocknrollphilip Feb 24, 2015

Given the book's title, it's dismaying to discover the actual focus of this book is not the wonderful MUSIC that has come out of Michigan! However, if you enjoy lots of sordid tales about lots of scummy characters, you'll read it in one sitting!

Jul 24, 2013

I found the first half of the book a lot more interesting than the second half.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GL

To Top