I am still trying to confirm all the details but this is what I believe to be true at the moment.
Sometime back in the year 2000, I was 25 years old and very much enjoyed going to nightclubs. I had previously visited the now legendary nightclub in Hamtramck Michigan called The Motor and I liked the place.
I don’t remember why I decided to go there again that particular night. I think I was just bored of the other places that I frequented at the time. I went alone.
When I got there, it looked like a party was wrapping up. The song was on the speakers. I had never heard it before. I didn’t know anything about Detroit Grand Pubahs.
There was a table with a large club-sub sandwich. Most of it had been eaten. I’m talking about the kind you might get at a work lunch. Something like this photo.
I had no idea what was going on exactly. It was not until much later when I encountered the song online that I pieced together that I might have inadvertently attended its release party!
The song ended up on the dance music charts in both the US and UK. Then they made the goofy video you see at the top of this blog.
The track makes use of a pitch-shift effect on the vocals that produces a chipmunk-like voice. For that reason alone it made it to rotation here at FunHouse Radio.
Jonathon Round sounds like The Decepticon named Starscream in his 1971 cover of “Sympathy For The Devil” by Mick Jagger, first released by The Rolling Stones. It’s uncanny. Listen to this track.
Christopher Collins was the voice actor that played Starscream on the original animated series from the 1980s. Maybe he heard this album in the 70s and then did his own take on the voice for The Transformers original animated series. It’s plausible. At times in this recording Round sounds like Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe. Collins voiced that character as well.
Some of the Mick Jagger penned lyrics are recited in a creepy somewhat Victorian style rather than sung. Sometimes the singing sounds like it belongs on a Black Sabbath track rather than an acoustic-folk number. When he belts out “Anastasia Screamed” and also when he laughs, it sounds just like that Decepticon from The Transformers.
Ever since I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, we would pull out The Jonathon Round LP around Halloween to play this cover. Not only is the song about The Devil, it has spooky sound effects.
Round (1949-2009) was apparently from the Detroit area. This would explain how my mother got a hold of his self-titled album. I still have the LP and we play it on the live stream during the Halloween season. In researching the album, I was shocked to find out that it was also released in Germany, Britain, and Spain.
Neither discogs nor allmusic have much information about this artist. It took some digging to find out anything. I discovered a few reviews of this album transcribed to a Facebook memorial group from eBay. I could not find these reviews on eBay but they seem legit.
“John was a larger-than-life man… a self-taught guitarist. His songs were a unique blend of observation, experience, fantasy, and politics. … [He was] most noted for his version of ‘Sympathy For the Devil’. Mick Jagger even mentioned this cut on-air as one of his favorite covers” (CaptainPeace, 2009)
“If you think Jonathon’s cover shots are scary, well, just wait’ll you hear this guy sing! This is the voice of a drama student on meth – overly emotive, nearly operatic grand gestures punctuated by that downright creepy maniacal laugh.” (fourthhostcelestials, 2008)
The folk-singer fad was over by the time he recorded this album.
“What you really have to wonder is how this album came out on the Westbound label. I mean, they were both from Detroit, but Westbound was known for funk and soul artists like Funkadelic, The Ohio Players and The Detroit Emeralds. Jonathan doesn’t fit into the funk category at all, but …somehow he got it done, and then got ‘em to release it in a fancy trick sleeve, all the while captivating audiences with his demonic stage show” (fourthhostcelestials, 2008)
Hell yeah! It’s National Chili Dog Day. You may know that I am from Detroit. What most people call a “Detroit-style” chili dog, we actually call a “Coney-Dog”, “Coney” or even “Coney Island”.
This style of hot dog was actually created by Greek immigrants that were living in Detroit after having spent a short time in New York City after entering the country. They borrowed the name from New York but invented it in Detroit.
A proper Detroit-style chili dog uses a ground beef based chili with no beans. It’s really just spiced up ground beef to be honest. Then you add chopped raw onions and mustard. That’s it. That’s a chili dog. I hope you can go suck on one today! And if you are in Detroit try the American Coney Island restaurant. I’d say they have the last word on the subject.
This goofy parody song has been done by a number of people. A guy named Tom McGovern got a lot of press about his version. The one embedded on this page appears to be the original but it is not the original upload. The original upload may have been taken down because of copyright issues. At this point the creator is unknown. If know who it is, let me know.
If you would like to try to make these or yourself, here is a recipe.
I have a lot to say about Jack White. I’ll try not to spend all day on this!
First of all, I knew the guy back in the day. Jack was known as John back then but I will continue to use the name Jack for the sake of simplicity. He and I went to both the same grade school and high school. I was one grade ahead of him. I didn’t know him in grade school. We met in High school.
The grade school was actually part of a Catholic Church complex called Holy Redeemer. Jack appeared in a movie that was filmed on location. He played an alter boy in Rosary Murders in part because he was an alter boy in real life.
About one hundred members of the church community were invited to play church goers as extras. I got to be part of that crowd. Filming was a lot of fun. I was way in the back so you won’t see me in the movie.
Just like Jack, I had considered going to seminary school in Wisconsin but ultimately decided to go to public high school. We both ended up at Cass Technical in Detroit. I first met him in his second or third year. I wasn’t cool enough to get invited to watch his band practice but some mutual friends got to see them.
I remember asking Jack if his band could play at an environmentalist demonstration. He said maybe, but the band didn’t show up. I also remember asking him if he liked the new classic rock radio station, WCSX. He told me that he liked it but they played “Oye Como Va” by Santana way too often. I agreed but yeah, good song.
After high school, I went off to Michigan State and Jack went to work as a furniture repairman. While still in college, I tried to do what Jack ended up doing. I recorded music and tried to start a corporation, that is, a record label and promotions business. It went nowhere fast. I had naive dreams. Jack has the real talent to do it, obviously. I admire him.
We play “Corporation” on the air all the time because it is a bit odd. It reminds me of the excitement a child feels when the ice cream truck shows up on your street. The more serious meaning of the lyrics though strikes a chord with me personally. I own this track on vinyl. I purchased the LP Boarding House Reach at Third Man Records in Detroit.
I wish I could say I took the photo below but I found it in this very cool article on TapeOp about his record pressing plant.
What is your favorite Jack White track? Have you met him? Tell us your Jack White story in the comments.