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Detroit (a.k.a. The Band Detroit, so as not to be confused with the city of Detroit) was a spinoff of rock group The Detroit Wheels. This revised version of that band was formed by Mitch Ryder as a successor to The Wheels in 1970. The only original Wheel in the group was the drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek; other members were guitarists Steve Hunter and Brett Tuggle, organist Harry Phillips and bassists W.R. Cooke and John Sauter. A single album was released by this grouping, a 1971 self-titled LP issued on Paramount Records (US #176 in 1972). They had a hit with their version of the Lou Reed – penned song “Rock & Roll”, which Reed liked enough to ask Steve Hunter to join his backing band. Ryder quit the group because of voice problems in 1972, and Detroit vocalist Rusty Day (formerly of the American Amboy Dukes and Cactus) took over his spot; without Ryder, the group floundered, and eventually broke up in 1974.
While not as commercially successful, Rusty Day’s era of Detroit was a powerhouse to be reckoned with. He used to sing for Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, and was soon to form Cactus. Rusty, having been the original singer, picked prior to Mitch’s return from Memphis and being asked to sing with them due to Rusty’s having other commitments. Rusty’s time at the helm waited. When he returned the band was Re-energized, and managed by John Sinclair, and Pete Andrews. The band toured all over spreading the gospel of Detroit Rock n Roll. Day, backed with soon to be legendary guitar hero, Steve Gaines (who would later form his own band, Crawdad, and would eventually join Lynyrd Skynyrd); took the band in a different, but in a still solid rocking direction This lineup also featured Bill Hodgson on guitar (formerly of Shadowfax, soon to reform the band), Ted “T-Mel” Smith (formerly of the Spinners), Nathaniel Peterson (later to become of Leon Mills’s band Brat Axis), and Terry Emery (later to be a member of Crawdad and eventually .38 Special). Some recordings exist out there of this era.
Cirith Ungol did cover their song Rock ‘n’ Roll in their early years. That song was also included on Greg Lindstrom’s Heavy Rockin’ Raw compilation CD. Rock ‘n’ Roll is actually not a Detroit original, but originally by Lou Reed.
Greg Lindstrom: Early on in 1971-72 we were playing all cover songs: … ‘Rock And Roll’ (Detroit With Mitch Ryder version of the Lou Reed song) … (Psychedelic Baby Mag)
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