Detroit has hit a rough patch of late, but to hear the veterans of its music scene tell it, the city has always been something of a rough patch – and that helps to explain the blue collar, underdog charm that infused its rock and roll.
Los Angeles had its Laurel Canyon folk-rockers and San Francisco had the hippie dreamers, but Detroit had snarl, with groups like the MC5, the Amboy Dukes and their wild guitarist Ted Nugent, and the now legendary Bob Seger.
For many of the musicians, the rock clubs and teen dances were the only ticket out of a life on the automobile factory line. The result was an emergent music scene that is still celebrated today by veterans like Iggy Pop and the Stooges and Jack White.
Steve Miller is the author of Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock ‘N Roll In American’s Loudest City, out now from Da Capo Press.