Tag Archives: bands

rock on.

pine knob - the grateful dead

remembering 50 years of magical music memories at pine knob

one of the greatest outdoor amphitheaters ever, and still rocking.

i’m sure you can pick me out here,

on a typical night in the middle of the hill on the lawn

early 70s, where i saw my first live concert, Focus, performing their one hit, “Hocus-Pocus.” 

Pine Knob. A holy musical pilgrimage for metro Detroiters for 50 years. 

The award-winning theater was christened with a matinee concert by teenage heartthrob David Cassidy on June 25, 1972 (a few days later, old-school crooner Andy Williams and Quincy Jones hosted a five-night run at Pine Knob to mark the occasion). It was the largest venue of its type in the country at the time, currently able to accommodate 15,000 patrons.

A couple of weeks later, the first rock concert at Pine Knob forced the police to shut the place down — a sign that Clarkston’s new venue had a little something for everyone. 

When the James Gang rolled into Pine Knob that inaugural summer, an estimated 25,000 “young people” tried to storm the venue. That’s according to a report in the Detroit Free Press, which noted that the rest of the “hard rock” concerts scheduled for that summer would be canceled after the ruckus. That included an upcoming show by Detroit’s own Bob Seger, who would go on to play more than 25 sold-out shows at the venue over the years.

Maybe you were at that show, or the more than 3,000 other concerts that have taken place there. Thousands have made memories at Pine Knob over the years, whether blurry-eyed ones from the top of the hill or once-in-a-lifetime front row experiences from within the comfort of the pavilion (which, admittedly, could’ve been blurry-eyed, too).

When Pine Knob changed its name to DTE Energy Music Theatre in 2001, it was those memories that kept the original name alive. Even the bands that played there and recorded live albums there called it Pine Knob. “It’s always been Pine Knob to me. I always call it that from the stage,” Peter Frampton told Billboard earlier this year. “I am really happy Pine Knob’s true identity has finally been returned.” (Frampton recorded his 1999 album Live in Detroit at Pine Knob.) For its 50th anniversary, new sponsors made the wise move to tap into that well of nostalgia by bringing back the original name and some of the retro aesthetic to the signage and logo.

“you create a community with music, not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends.”

-david byrne



happy birthday paul mccartney

and thinking back to when i announced

in no uncertain terms

that my sisters’ choices of favorite bands:

the beatles and the doors

were stupid bands that would never last

and were nowhere near the level of greatness

of my favorite band

the monkees

they really should have listened to me

i know pure talent when i see it.

“most bands don’t work out.

a small unit democracy is very, very difficult. very, very difficult.”

-bruce springsteen



image credits: apple records, elekrtra records, rhino records

You’re supposed to be using your gifts and fulfilling your dreams, at every age. – Victoria Moran


great evening at the tap room, a classic no-frills, neighborhood bar in nearby ypsilanti


i went there with a family whose sons i’ve taught and stayed close to as they’ve grown.


the night was organized by alex and his wife who own the ann arbor music center

and the rock band school for children and musicians of all ages


alex is a powerful musician in his own right, who plays, teaches, and builds guitars.



he works with local businesses and festivals to give his young bands a chance to play real gigs around town. 

on this night, the place was standing room only, kids sat in front of the stage, and musician, theo katzman

stopped by to support the kids in the bands, and sat with the young fans on the floor. 


a’s band was amazing. everyone in it is 9-10 years old and played their hearts out.

a is on keyboards and his beloved teacher played with them and is the vocalist.

 tonight we heard them play green day, cheap trick, and beatles.

and it was a musical wonder. 

there were photogs, and fans, and musicians, and families, and joy all around. 

and the kids were so proud.

but none was so proud as alex. 



this is know (now) about nashville.



1. the bullets & mullets store

2. cowboy church

3. dukes of hazard museum

4. goo goo clusters

5. honky tonks

6. live radio shows

7. southern stack breakfast – slow smoked pulled pork, sweet potato pancakes, fried apples, fried egg, home fries (pile it up, pour syrup on top, and go)

8. everything tastes better in a mason jar

9. full sized replica of the parthenon in the middle of a city park

10. washtub, washboard, spoons and other random household items band

11. mosey-ing is a speed you amble through life with

12. speak-easy’s still exist 

 each of these are part of life there and i love them all.