Lost links & Re-ups

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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

09 March 2014

Mick's Musick

If you’re not already familiar with Mick Collins, then I’m going to do what I can to remedy that right now.

Mick may well be the king of funked-out fuck-you garage punk. Mick was born in Detroit on December 18, 1965. He has been breaking guitar strings for over 25 years now but claims he still has only mastered two chords. He's fried the blues, soul, & punk rock in so many electric batters you could open a small restaurant featuring his many aural feasts.

Collins first got exposure to early rock ‘n’ roll music through his family's record collection. Also, living in Detroit, he was surrounded by Motown records, which also provided influence.

Collins first played organ in a band called the U-Boats in 1981. He then played drums in the Wire-influenced art-pop band Floor Tasters from 1984 to 1985. In 1986, the 20-year old Collins helped form the seminal garage punk band, The Gories.

The Gories is the real Detroit sound. Forget all that stuff  about how the White Stripes & The Strokes are saving rock ‘n’ roll, creating a new scene. The Gories had a profound understanding of both blues & garage minimalism. Mick Collins’ soul roar combined with Dan Kroha's punk wail mixed with a healthy dose of Peggy O'Neil's heavy thud created a sound capable of melting everyone’s brain. The Gories were the ultimate in totally minimalist, real bluesy garage rock. They epitomize GARAGE band. Primitive electric guitars & primitive drums with no bass. They released three albums & five singles before they called it quits after their 1992 European tour.

The Gories – I Know You Fine, but How You Doin’, New Rose Records ROSE 219, 1990.
all decryption codes in comments

Side 1 –
Hey, Hey We’re the Gories
You Make it Move
Detroit Breakdown
Goin’ to the River
Early in the Morning
Thunderbird ESQ

Side 2 –
Let Your Daddy Ride
Six Cold Feet
Ghost Rider
View from Here

Collins next worked in a basic garage rock band, Blacktop from 1994 to 1996. Much heavier & darker than The Gories, Blacktop ventured into the deepest, darkest corners of the garage for its sweaty inspiration. Among its gems is the rough & ready cover of Captain Beefheart's "Here I Am (Here I Always Am)" along with a slew of stomping originals that sound as if they were penned at a drag strip. Collins & Darin Lin Wood on guitars & vocals are always in fine voice & their anti-heroic guitar riffing merges perfectly. Bassist Alex Cuervo & drummer Janet Walker keep the low end down & dirty.

Blacktop – Up All Night, Au Go Go ANDA 188, 1994.

Side A –
I Think It’s Going to Rain
Tornado Love
Here I Am, I Always Am (Captain Beefheart cover)
44 Blues
Planet Earth (Goddamn)

Side B –
Mojo Kitty
Keep on Doggin’ Me
Let Me Go Home, Whiskey
Blazing Streets
She’s Mine, All Mine

After the demise of Blacktop, Collins helped form King Sound Quartet which had one single in 1996 & one album, The Getdown Imperative in 1997.  This band was made up of: Mick Collins – vocals & guitar; Tim Kerr – guitar; Alex Cuervo (from Blacktop) – bass; & Stephanie Friedman – drums.

King Sound Quartet -  Annihilate This Week 7”, Estrus Records ES787, 1996.

Side A –
Annihilate This Week
Side B –
Memphis Town

King Sound Quartet – The Getdown Imperative, In the Red Recordings ITR 052, 1997.

Side A –
I Wouldn’t Put it Past You
Inebreation ‘63
I Want To
White Streak
Sheer Terror

Side B –
Space is the Place

Another project around this time was The Screws. The Screws came about something like this…Epitaph recording artists the Red Aunts went to Detroit in 1997 to record their final album Ghetto Blaster at Ghetto Records studio (owned by Jim Diamond, a name that will continue to pop up numerous times in this saga) with Mick Collins as their chosen producer. The Red Aunts had long been fans of Mick's work & likewise Mick was a fan of the Red Aunts. During a moment of inspiration, the Aunts decided to have Mick record a duet with their vocalist & guitarist Terri Wahl. This was the seed that produced The Screws. Mick & Terri put together a band during one of Mick's many sojourns to Los Angeles for a comic book convention. They enlisted the duties of rhythm-section-for-hire Dan Brown & Marty Moore (from Jacksonville Beach, Florida) to take part in the project. Dan & Marty had a two-piece band called Johnny Hash. Dan is also known as the on again – off again bass player for Royal Trux. Once the debut Hate Filled Classics was recorded, everyone went back to their other projects & forgot about it. After its release, offers began to roll in for live appearances. Mick & Terri did not want to disappoint, so the band toured the western half of the US & Japan with Jimmy Hole (Necessary Evils) on bass & Kerry Davis (Red Aunts) on drums. Their blues infused slop-punk sounds delighted & offended crowds wherever they went. In 2001 they released their second album Shake Your Monkey with their new line-up of Collins, Wahl, Hole, & drummer Mike McHugh.

The Screws – Shake Your Monkey, In the Red Recordings ITR 080, 2001.

Side 1 –
Story 16
Keep on Lovin’ Me
In Case You Need love
Flip Your Face
The Storm
I See You, Baby
Ramona say Yes

Side 2 –
Betcha Can’t Kiss Me
Shake it, Baby
Strange Things
If Loving is Believing
I’m Yours & I’m Hers
Monkey Doin’ Woman
I Ain’t in the Mood

However, by this time, Collins was most focused on his newest project, The Dirtbombs. The Dirtbombs is Collins' latest garage punk vehicle but unlike the other collective acts he's worked with, he can truly call this one his own. The Dirtbombs is a wide-ranging, musically eclectic band. Beginning with the "High Octane Salvation" single in 1996, the Dirtbombs have come to be Collins' most durable & arguably most popular project (rivaled only by the legendary status of The Gories).

The Dirtbombs had a shifting cast of musicians behind Collins on guitar, consisting of a 2-drum, 2-bass set-up. Since 2004 The Dirtbombs have had a relatively steady line-up: Mick – guitar, keyboards, & vocals; Tom Potter & legendary Ghetto Records owner Jim Diamond - bass & vocals; Ben Blackwell & Pat Pantano – drums & vocals; & Troy Gregory – strings with Eugene Strobe & Shelia Holmes – backing vocals.

The Dirtbombs – Dangerous Magical Noise, In the Red Recordings ITR 099, 2003.

Side 1 –
Start the Party
Get it While You Can
Don’t Break My Heart
Sun is Shining
Earthquake Heart
Thunder in the Sky

Side 2 –
Motor City Baby
Stuck in thee Garage
I’m Through with White Girls
21st Century Fox

The Dirtbombs -  We Have You Surrounded, In the Red Recordings ITR 150, 2008.

Side One –
It’s not Fun Until They See You Cry
Ever Lovin’ Man
Sherlock Holmes (Sparks cover)
Wreck My Flow
Leopardman at C&A

Side Two –
Fire in the Western World (Dead Moon cover)
Pretty Princess Day
I Hear the Sirens
They Have us Surrounded
Race to the Bottom
La Fin du Monde

Mick also played in Voltaire Brothers, a funk project that issued the 2003 album I Sing the Booty Electric. Voltaire Brothers are actually based around a two-headed rhythm section/songwriting duo of Collins on drums, guitar, & vocals along with Jerome Gray on guitar & bass. A gang of others including frequent Collins collaborator & studio engineer Jim Diamond, singers Shelia Holmes & former Atomic Fireball front man John Bunkley among others  have been roped into the rubbery P-Funk-worshiping shenanigans. The group’s debut LP, the six-song I Sing the Booty Electric is a wiggly jointed blast of DIY rubber soul ranging from the dystopian atmospheric groove of “Trouble Man Everyday” (a loose jam-merge of Marvin Gaye’s “Troubleman” & Frank Zappa’s “Trouble Comin’ Every Day”) to sure-fire dance floor flame-ups like the Funkadelic verbalfunknastics of
“Transparabolocwobblemegatronicthangmabutylspasmotickryptorumpalistics (aka Siege Of The Booty Chirren).” It’s a thing of beauty or more rightly, booty…a testament to the Mothership’s ability to hold us all in its tractor beam.

Side 1 –
The Mother Ones
I Sing the Booty Electric
Which One

Side 2 –
Funky Motion
Transparabolicwobblemegatronicthangamabutylspasmotickryptorumpalistics \
     (A.K.A. Siege of the Booty Chirren)
Trouble Man Everyday

Aside from all that, Mick has also done solo work (including issuing a split 7" vinyl with Lorrette Velvette for the film Wayne County Ramblin' in which Collins has a role), produced scores of other artists' music (including Andre Williams), DJs, & does vocals for yet another long-time side project, Man Ray, Man Ray. He was the host of Night Train, a Saturday night show on WDET - Detroit Public Radio. Collins was the producer of the CD Drop Dead by Figures of Light, which was recorded in Brooklyn, New York at Mitro's Studios June, 2011 & released on vinyl by Norton Records on November 13, 2011; the remastered CD version was released on May 18, 2012.

Collins is also preparing more Dirtbombs singles & a new LP, as well as a new Voltaire Brothers record, a Man Ray, Man Ray record as well as a techno record.

Although Collins seems to eat, breathe, & secrete music, he claims his madness has a method:
     ”One of my firm beliefs is that if you can't dance to it, it isn't rock and roll. So every band I play in, you're gonna be able to dance to it. Overall, Detroit is really a rah-rah, fist-in-the-air kind of rock town. From soul music to techno, we like music that has a strong rhythm,” he says with a hearty laugh.



  1. Holy goddam this looks good.


    1. Planet Earth (Goddamn).
      I was going to post up The Screws, then got carried away.

  2. Funny...I have heard most of these and never made the connections between them. The V Bros. is new to me and I am looking forward to hearing it.

    1. Yeah, me neither. I guess that's how this became a megapost. I was going to post up The Screws, then realized Mick Collins was thee Mick Collins from The Gories. From there I just started putting two & two together...Never really see the Voltaire Bros posted up anywhere, sometimes "I Sing the Booty Electric" track, but that's about all. Hope you dig that funky thang.

  3. MEGA decryption codes:

    The Gories
    KSQ - Annihilate
    KSQ - Getdown
    The Screws
    Dirtbombs - Dangerous
    Dirtbombs - Surrounded
    Voltaire Brothers

  4. Fantastic posts and great blog! Thank you very much! Do you have the rest of The Screws/ Blacktop records?

    1. I am so terribly sorry that it has taken a month for me to get back to you. To blame it on the end of the year craziness who just be an excuse, but it's my excuse, & I'm sticking to it.
      Here is Blacktop - I've Got a Baaad Feelin'

      I have the Screws Hate Filled Classics, but haven't had a chance to find it, as it was no where that I looked. I will get to it & post it when I can.

      Check back, or I'll let you know.
      Sorry again.

  5. Awesome post, wonderful music. Many thanks, NØ!