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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Cover Story

Bruce Campbell - the man, the myth, the chin

Chronicling the rise of hometown hero

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


What came next would be talked about by horror movie fans right up to the present day. In 1981, Campbell, Raimi and friends scraped together enough money (thanks to Within the Woods) to create The Evil Dead, a now-legendary horror movie about a group of college students who go off to a cabin in the middle of the woods to do whatever it is that college students do. They discover the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead, in the basement, along with an old tape player. When the tape is played, words are recited that summon evil spirits. From that point on, chaos ensues. People are possessed, trees rape, and blood spews by the gallon. Campbell plays Ash Williams, employee of S-Mart and future horror icon. Thanks to the crazy amount of gore and some clunky dialogue, the movie is both horrific and hilarious, as well as genuinely magnificent. Campbell says that the humor is unintentional.

“We were not comfortable using humor in the first Evil Dead,” he says. “That’s the melodrama. That one’s only funny by mistake, and in its excess. When somebody’s getting jabbed over and over again, sometimes stuff that’s over-the-top makes you laugh as well. We didn’t officially introduce comedy until Evil Dead 2, when we felt a little more comfortable manipulating the audience, and we felt more involved putting stuff in that we liked. That wasn’t always there, and that’s why people are hesitant about the fact that the current Evil Dead remake doesn’t seem funny. It’s not funny at all. The first one wasn’t either. Obviously if you have inexperienced actors, lousy dialogue, some things are going to come across as being less than ideal.”

Over in England, The Evil Dead was banned, lumped in with the likes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Driller Killer as “video nasties.” Campbell remembers that whole incident as being nothing but beneficial. “We were right in the middle of it,” he says. “It was awesome, how it all played out. By the time it got re-released, everyone was so fascinated to see why it was a video nasty that it became the No. 1 video in the UK. My favorite list to look at is the top videos of 1983. The Shining is No. 8 and we’re No. 1. I’m like, ‘Eat it Stanley.’ Those are the times when you really feel like, ‘OK, we’re really playing this game. We’re swimming with the sharks now.’ It’s awesome to be able to beat your idols.”

The original Evil Dead movie spawned two sequels — ’87’s Evil Dead 2 and ’92’s Army of Darkness. Evil Dead 2 managed to confuse nearly everyone by opening with a reshot recap of the first movie. It seems like an odd move, to try to re-create scenes from the original film using Campbell and a bunch of new actors, but that’s what they did. “We made it seem like this guy was stupid enough to come back to the cabin with new friends,” Campbell says. “He had so much fun the first time, let’s go back and have a ball. That was an error on our part. It was prompted by the fact that we didn’t own the rights to our own footage from the first film, so we couldn’t do a recap with that footage. We had to shoot fake footage as a recap, and it confused people. Technically it’s a sequel, though I can see how people might think it’s a remake. What would really make the most sense is if the evil force comes up to Ash at the end of Evil Dead, and then you cut right to the evil force in Evil Dead 2. He lands in the puddle, the movie continues, he’s hailed as a king at the end of Evil Dead 2, and it goes right into that sequence in Army of Darkness. If you cut all the bullshit recaps out of it, the trilogy would make perfect sense. Each film was made by a completely different company. We have different legalities, different ownership, different pettiness between the companies about whether they’re going to cooperate or not. We felt cornered into how to retell a story that we couldn’t get the footage to. It’s pretty convoluted. Also, I’m dead at the end of the first movie. We wanted to do a better Evil Dead movie, so suddenly I’m still alive. These things evolve, not in some overarching design. I hate to say it, but it needs a fan edit. Then people would know what I’m talking about.”

Between the first two Evil Dead movies, Campbell worked with Raimi on a big-studio project called Crimewave, written by Raimi and the Coen Brothers. The movie tells the story of a hapless exterminator framed for murder, telling his story from the electric chair. Campbell’s memories are far from fond. “Crimewave was an unmitigated disaster,” he says. “I’m about to do the DVD commentary on it about 10 days from now, and I can’t wait. That movie was insane. Everything about it was ridiculous, so there are a lot of stories to tell. It’s not like there was one bad guy or good guy, it was just our first experience making a Hollywood movie rather than an independent movie. You’re dealing with unions, actors in the Screen Actors Guild, we went way over budget, the film was retouched. After having complete control on the first Evil Dead, we had zero control on Crimewave. It was a great wake-up call. We had executives giving us notes, we had rewrites in the script if they weren’t happy. Everyone asks for the ‘director’s cut’ of Evil Dead, but there is no director’s version because what you’re seeing is the director’s version. There’s only one version of Evil Dead and there will only be one version because we now own the copyrights for that. We own the negatives.”

At this point, Campbell was still living in Michigan, though not for long. “I think by the ’87, that’s when I moved out,” he says. “We were just traveling too much for business. It seemed like the writing was on the wall that, in order to stay active in the business, to make a living, we had to finally get out of Detroit. We did three movies based out of there and that was a lot. We wanted to get serious and get in the film business. The only way to really do it was to spend some time in L.A., so I did.”

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