with jukebox: Scott Morgan, Deniz Tek, and others to salute Ann Arbor rock
Chris Taylor is living his own rock ‘n’ roll fantasy. Except in Taylor’s case, his fantasy has become real life, allowing him to perform with some of his all-time favorite musicians — people who have defined the Ann Arbor/Detroit high-energy rock culture in bands like The Rationals and the MC5.
“I like the idea of setting it up as kind of a revue,” said Taylor, who plays guitar with Mazinga and bass in Morgan’s Irrationals, which revisits his classic Rationals material. Taylor also will play bass in the unnamed supergroup featuring Morgan and Tek, which will headline the five-band bill at the Blind Pig on Friday, December 18. “That’s how the shows were set up back in the day at the Grande Ballroom and other great venues. “It’s like an old-school rock show.”
In fact, this is the fifth “revival” Taylor has organized, dating back to 2002. Other featured guests have included Mitch Ryder and the late Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton. But the common denominator (aside from Taylor himself) is Tek. “Whenever I can get Deniz to come to town, I like to put one of these together," said Taylor, who describes himself as a huge fan of Tek’s band, Radio Birdman. Tek grew up in Ann Arbor and attended the University of Michigan before moving to Australia in the early 1970s to study medicine. While down under, he formed Radio Birdman, which based a lot of its hard-rock sound on the bands he loved from back home, like the Stooges and the MC5. Now a physician out west, Tek still occasionally performs with a reunited Radio Birdman, and makes occasional returns to Ann Arbor play with old friends. For the Revival show, he’ll be joined by Morgan, Taylor and drummer Al King, as well as another local legend, Hiawatha Bailey, with whom the band will pay tribute to Asheton. (Former MC5 drummer Dennis “Machine Gun” Thompson was also supposed to be on the gig, but had to cancel for undisclosed reasons, Taylor said.) He said the headlining band — which as of yet remains unnamed — will perform rarities from the various bands the members have been in, including some Birdman and some Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, as well as some Stooges and MC5 covers. “I’m excited about playing a bunch of things we’ve never done before,” he said. “There aren’t any ‘rock stars’ in this band — just a bunch of friends playing all of these great songs.”
PREVIEW Ann Arbor Rock 'n' Roll Revival Who: Local heroes including Scott Morgan, Deniz Tek and others. What: High-energy rock. When: 9:30 p.m. Friday, December 18. Where: Blind Pig, 208 South First Street. How much: $10. More information: Blind Pig web site.