Discussing race, pushing back against the “greater Ann Arbor area” brand, singing our asses off, and exploring Civil War-era cures for chronic masturbation… on episode eleven of The Saturday Six Pack

“From an old converted barbershop inside the area’s largest all-nude strip club comes the eleventh episode of the Saturday Six Pack With Mark Maynard…”

This past Saturday’s show, it seems to me, was probably our most musical one to date. While we covered a hell of a lot of ground, talking about everything from race to Civil War era laxative technology, it seemed to me that everything kept coming back to music in one way or another. Not only did we have awesome songs from the likes of Matt Jones, Jim Cherewick and Pete Larson, but music kept coming up throughout. By the end of the night, Kayj Michelle, who’d come in to talk about the success of the Ypsilanti First Fridays art walk, was even singing backup for Matt Jones. And, I suspect, if we’d spent a few more minutes with local activist Anthony Morgan, he would have been performing too, as our conversation about the work he’s been doing to raise awareness locally concerning aggressive police tactics directed at people of color, ended with a discussion of the variety show he puts on for kids – Freshest of the Bunch – which features rapping vegetables. While we didn’t get to hear any rapping carrots or cucumbers, Tony did agree to come back sometime in the future and freestyle for us… Oh, and the whole show ended with a John Denver sing-along. [note: I don’t know that I’ll actually do it, but I’m thinking that it could be fun to end every episode with a sing-along from now on, or at least threaten to do so.]

[If you would like to listen to the episode in its entirety, you can find it on both Soundcloud and iTunes. Or, if you want, you can just scroll down to end of this post, where you’ll find it embedded.]

Here’s Matt Jones, accompanied by the very talented Misty Lyn Bergeron, playing for us. By the time we wrapped the show, they’d played three songs, the first of which was prompted by call from Matt’s mother, who happened to be listening at home. It was lovely stuff, made all the more beautiful in the context of our conversation, which touched on everything from Matt’s obsession with 19th century remedies for chronic masturbation, to his father’s career as a Civil War reenactor, which culminated with a bloody battlefield musket injury. I’d encourage you to listen, even if you aren’t in the mood for music, just to hear Matt and I discuss how he could, if he wanted, become a Civil War reenactor himself, even though no one makes historically accurate uniforms in his size. [note: For those of you who enjoyed the “Moisturizer Talk” segment with Misty Lyn, you’ll be happy to know that she’s agreed to come back and continue the conversation, and also perform a few songs for us, as we give one another pedicures.]

MattMistySSP11

As for the sing-along version of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” that I mentioned earlier, I should warn you before you listen that I kind of ruined it. While I suppose it’s possible that station engineer Brian Robb did something to my mic while I was in the bathroom in order to make me sound like some kind of recently thawed-out caveman, I suspect it’s probably my fault, as I didn’t warm up my instrument first… And by “instrument,” of course, I mean my voice.

Oh, and we also talked with Matt for quite a while about his most recent recording project, which involves his dragging Michigan musicians into his basement and forcing them to perform for him. As I promised to write a song for the inevitable compilation, I’m sure we’ll discuss it more in the future. So, stay tuned.

And there was also a song from our old friend Pete Larson, the legendary founder of Bulb Records, who now spends a majority of his time listening to death metal and draining blood from African livestock. As regular listeners of the show know, Pete’s made it a practice to write a new song for the show every week, which he typically records on acoustic guitar on the morning of the show, outside of his apartment in Kenya. Well, this week, Pete did something a little different. He flew to Japan and assembled a band to cover a a song that he wrote for the show several weeks ago called “Mark Maynard Bought Me a Six Pack.” For those of you who don’t want to listen through the entire show, here it is… It’s pretty incredible. [note: Pete will be performing live in the studio on April 18, so reserve your milliwatts now.]

And, as I mentioned up front, we also had Jim Cherewich perform a song. As he couldn’t join us on the show, due to some bad life choices on his part, we called him at work and convinced him to go out to his car and play a song for us. It’s a bit glitchy, given that it was transmitted over a series of cell phones from the parking lot of a remote Target, but I love that The Saturday Six Pack has that kind of power. I like knowing that we can call people away from their jobs and make them perform without notice. It opens up all kinds of possibilities. [note: If you happen to have the phone number for John Brannon at Traffic Jam, let me know.]

We’d actually not called Jim with he intention of having him perform. We’d called him because our old friend Chris Sandon had stopped by the studio to tell us about his recent tour down South, where he’d performed with Jim in places like Athens, Georgia and Asheville, North Carolina, and I’d thought that Jim should join the conversation. And, then, one thing just led to another.

What I really wanted to find out from Chris and Jim was whether or not they’d kept their promise to me, and interviewed people in the south about what, if anything, they knew about Ypsilanti. I’d wanted to know whether they’d gotten any good audio for us… And they had.

They had the good fortune to find a woman in Asheville, who not only had heard of Ypsilanti, but once squatted in a house here. And she had a story to share, which, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this, is probably the most incredible story I have heard in my whole entire life. We played an edited version during the show, but here it is – the story of a man with a bloody chest wound in Ypsilanti and the good, hatchet-wielding samaritan who agreed to shimmy beneath him as he dropped his pants, and check his balls for damage – with all of the original profanity…

And that, if anyone should ask you, is why The Saturday Six Pack is better than The Moth.

And, speaking of Jim, We also tried, without any luck, to get him a co-worker so that he could come back into the studio on Saturday nights, and fulfill the obligations associated with being The Saturday Six Pack’s band director. [note: If you’re interested in helping The Saturday Six Pack by working inventory at Target, please let us know.]

It wasn’t all music, though. We also had some weighty conversations on some other things that matter. We talked about race with local activist Tony Morgan, and about the identitiy of Ypsilanti with local artist Kayj Michelle, who spent the entirety of the show cranking out “Ypsilanti, not East Ann Arbor” buttons. [note: If you want a button, there may still be a few left outside the AM 1700 studio, at the intersection of North Washington and Pearl.]

Tony Morgan and I talked, among other things, about what he and others have been doing in the wake of recent events in Ferguson, New York, and elsewhere, to make sure that people in the Ypsi-Arbor area know the risks people of color face at the hands of police officers. We discussed the street theater actions he’s participated in, and the subsequent meetings he’s had with members of local police forces. We discussed next steps, and how we, as a community, might bring more internal and external accountability to police departments. We discussed the case of Aura Rosser, who was killed this winter by Ann Arbor police, and the People’s Retort, which was just issued in response to the official story as to what happened. And, on a lighter note, we also talked how he got his start as an activist in Detroit, where, at ten years old, he waged a successful campaign to have a local curfew extended by an hour, the work he’d been doing with local kids through Community Records, and how it was an interest in the ministry that had first brought him to Ypsi. Sadly, we didn’t have time to have Tony perform, but he said he’d come back again, so we’ve got that to look forward to… Here’s Tony.

TonySSP11

And here’s Kayj, who I had the pleasure of interviewing twice… once in her role as the head of First Fridays Ypsilanti, and once as a concerned citizen who wanted to say things that she couldn’t as the head of First Fridays, about the battle shaping up between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti over the budget of our Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, which some think could be put to better use in Ann Arbor. On a happier note, it would appear that this season’s inaugural First Fridays event went extremely well, with close to 20 different venues around Ypsilanti participating.

KayjSSP11

I could say a lot more, but you should just listen. It’s a really good show.

Thanks, as always, to AM 1700 for hosting the show, Brian Robb for running the board, and Kate de Fuccio for documenting everything with the station camera.

Oh, and a great big “Thank You” to Kelli Harden-Klenotic from New Holland Brewing, who came in at the start of the show and dropped off a six pack of their White Hatter Belgian-style white pale ale, which was awesome.

HERE’S THIS WEEK’s SHOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:

[If you like this episode, check out our archive of past shows at iTunes. And do please leave a review if you have the time, OK? It’s nice to know that people are listening, and, unless you call in, that’s pretty much the only way we know.]

This entry was posted in Art and Culture, The Saturday Six Pack, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

10 Comments

  1. Kim
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I can’t see myself ever participating in a conversation that begins with “I’ve been shot in the chest, check my balls!” I have no idea how I would react.

  2. Eel
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    WWJD?

  3. Holly
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I’m listening! I don’t have iTunes. This will have to do. :)

  4. Kristin
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I am all about White Hatter since the Wurst Challenge, it really is delicious.

  5. Kim
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Jesus probably would have checked the balls.

  6. ET
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Ypsi couldn’t hire an PR firm to do a better job of promoting the city.

  7. Misty Lyn Bergeron
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Um. For the record, I never agreed that we’d “give one another pedicures”. (Ew.) I agreed to *receive pedicures* at the *same time*. And I’m certain we can talk about something more interesting than moisturizer, though I’d be happy to report on the one I find that works for me. So far I’m liking a product from LUSH…

  8. Darwin
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    In a year this will be a show about toe sucking.

  9. Posted April 7, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Misty, I was kidding about wanting to give you a pedicure. While it would make for great radio, I don’t really enjoy the handling of feet. If you wanted to though, I’d be fine with doing something else foot related. Like maybe we could soak our feet in epsom salts together in front of the studio while sipping in mint juleps this summer, talking about the weather with people who pass by… I think that might have potential… Or I guess we could just play music and talk skincare. It’s your choice. Just let me know.

  10. Erin
    Posted April 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m bummed that I missed out on the “Ypsilanti, not ‘East Ann Arbor'” buttons. This is what I get for not listening to the show live.

One Trackback

  1. By Mittenfest to return to Ypsilanti on August 31, 2015 at 6:54 am

    […] if there are some folks on the bill who he hasn’t documented before, he could record them for his project when they come into Ypsi for Mittenfest. Or maybe he could even release some of his recordings in […]

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