Books Detroit Music NYC

McPheeters & Miscellany

photos by Billy Whitfield
photos by Billy Whitfield

It’s always interesting when punks get old. That’s why my emphatic finger-point this week is towards a story in Vice by former Born Against frontman Sam McPheeters. McPheeters ventures into one of the Midwest’s  strangest regions, the wealthy suburbs of Michigan’s capital, Lansing, to profile Doc Dart, former frontman for hardcore group Crucifucks. Dart, who calls himself “26,” appears to be suffering from several forms of mental illness, and has become a suburban pariah in the Mason-Okemos area.

While that area in mid-Michigan birthed a few great bands, notably the above, the Meatmen, Negative Approach and the Fix (whose drummer, Jeff Wellman, is now a real estate salesman in my parents’ town, according to Wikipedia) it remains close to the ignorant edge of small-town Michigan and has all but purged that rebellious tic that seemed to emerge from MSU in the late ’70s and early ’80s. It was nice to see the piece open in the Tuba Museum, a strange little restaurant in the area I had forgotten about.

Though we never find out why Dart is now calling himself 26, McPheeters writes a decent profile. He’s not a bad critic, either. Decipher some of his lyrics and you can see that. But he’s done a pretty good job of refining his style (and is hopefully able to make something near a living doing it). A few years ago, when he was having a closing-down-shop sale I picked up a bunch of old zine issues, but it appears they’re still available here. Dear Jesus, Error, Shooting Space and now Clog; it makes you remember, back before we just pumped words into processors and they emerged, a sort of literary mechanically separated meat, creative and interesting people were putting together homemade things a lot more painstakingly than this stuff. Stylistically, I’d argue that was much more beneficial for developing your technique; in Sam’s case, he isn’t a bad visual artist either.

McPheeters posts regularly on his blog, Loom of Ruin (though recently has been recycling older stuff in hiatus mode) and you’d be well served to let his views into your Internet-cruising route. And, it appears, he’s in New York next week for a few readings. Go check him out.


In other news I’ve added a Reading List page, to keep track of this year in books. As always, your recommendations are greeted like relatives from the old country, at first crowded up in the guest room but soon shirtless on the couch with legs splayed and a beer in hand.


Back to the music, a couple of buddys’ band, Gold and Gunmetal,has their first record out. It’s exciting. Prog indie rock. You should listen to it. True students of the freeconomy, G&G’s record label, Triple Down, has the album up for you to download until January 26th–why not sample it?


Lastly, this just in from the Solidarity Dept.: A few friends saw their jobs up and disappear this week. We’re here for you, and have eyes open. Everybody out there, if you know someone in the media who got “right-sized” (ugh!) or otherwise shitcanned give ’em a hug and take ’em to a movie or something.

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