Singing about heartbroken monsters with Fangs and Twang, discussing the condition of Michigan’s roads with Representative David Rutledge, and reliving the horrors of Totally Awesome Fest… on episode 16 of The Saturday Six Pack


My favorite moment of this week’s episode happened within just the first few minutes. I was looking at State Representative David Rutledge’s face when Fangs and Twang performed the opening theme song that they’d written for the show, and he was just beaming. While I think he genuinely liked the song, which was admittedly pretty awesome, my sense is that he was responding to more than just the trio’s unique brand of mystical country. I’m pretty sure, based on the way he looked around the room, and what he said to me just afterward, that we was reacting more to the fact that a local band had gone to the effort of writing a song specifically for this little AM radio show of mine, and that made me really happy. He didn’t say it, but the look on his face gave me the sense that he was thinking, “Something uniquely interesting is happening here.” Of course the spell was broken once I started grilling him on the condition of Michigan’s roads, and what he intended to do about it, but, for that short moment, I got the sense that he felt as though we were all conspiring together to create something truly different and beautiful in downtown Ypsilanti… But maybe I’m just projecting.

Here’s Representative Rutledge explaining to me, and our listeners, why it was that he chose not to run against Debbie Dingell for Congress. [I asked if he’d been threatened. He laughed and said, “No.”]


I probably should have grilled him harder on school funding, mass transit, and the like, but I think we touched on enough policy stuff to make it a worthwhile conversation… I had a long list of serious questions for him, but I found myself drifting away from the script, as I often do, choosing instead to follow little threads and see where they might lead. A question about how he came to be living in Michigan, led to a discussion about having grown up in Tennessee, which, in turn, led to discussion about what it was like leaving high school, knowing that segregation would be ending with your graduating class. So, between our discussions of term limits and roads, we jumped around a lot, talking about his memories of attending a Martin Luther King speech with his father, and the jazz radio show he hosted while stationed at an oversees Air Force base in the 70s. I know that some in the audience probably would have rather that I stayed more in the present, asking him about specific votes he’d cast, and what he’s been doing to bring better jobs to Ypsilanti, but, when push comes to shove, I guess I’d rather talk about someone’s memory of his father having taken him to hear Martin Luther King speak, than ask about the finer points of the legislation that’s coming out of his office. And I think, being completely honest, that’s one of the bigger faults with The Saturday Six Pack. When you get right down to it, I’m more of an oral historian than a political reporter. Still, though, I think there was enough policy stuff discussed to have made it worthwhile… Or at least I hope you all got something out of it.

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

As I mentioned above, Fangs and Twang, wrote a song especially for their appearance on The Saturday Six Pack… or, to be more accurate, they rewrote the lyrics for one of their existing songs, substituting references to vampires with mentions of my “big ‘ol mouth“… Here are the guys in Fangs and Twang, who I talked with for quite a while between songs about life, love and monsters. So, if you’re curious as to why a bunch of grown men would get together to form a country band that only performs songs about monsters, or whether or not they feel at all limited by that self-imposed restraint, listen in. [I especially liked the exchange toward the end of our discussion when I asked if they’d consider writing a campaign song for David Rutledge should he decide to run against Debbie Dingell someday.]


And that, as they say, was just the tip of the iceberg… Non-motorize transportation advocate Bob Krzewinski came by the studio to tell us about Bike Bus Walk Week. Totally Awesome Fest organizers Patrick Elkins, Amber Fellows, and Ben Miller came by to share some of their favorite moments from the recently held 11th annual festival of beautiful weirdness, and play clips from the likes of Riverspirit, Autumn Nicole Wetli, Deadbeat Beat, and Danica Danger. [See Amber and Ben below, talking about pancakes.] We played a new song sent to us from Kenya by Dr. Peter Larson. We had another segment of The People’s History of Ypsilanti with Matt Siegfried. And, at the end of the show, local artist Cre Fuller came in to discuss the closing of SPUR studios


It was a good, solid show. But don’t believe me…

Listen for yourself.

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

And do listen, if you have a chance. It’s a good episode, and this writeup really doesn’t do it justice.

[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.


  1. Posted May 12, 2015 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    May 30, 2014:
    Billy: “What are you going to do for your solo act?”
    Me: “I’m thinking about going back to my roots and doing one gospel album and one album of monster songs.”
    Billy: [makes fun of monster song idea by singing verse about a vampire who refuses to bite a woman on her breasts because that’s the way him momma raised him]
    Me: [laughing, spits coffee out of mouth]
    Joe: “Jake, if you don’t write monster songs for us, or let Billy write monster songs for us, we’re going to start our own band.”
    Me: “I’m not going to write monster songs for you guys, I’m doing it for my solo project.”

    [Fangs and Twang is born]

  2. anonymous
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    If nothing else, this post was successful in bringing Jake out of hibernation. Kudos.

  3. Billy
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    We’re working on a new song about mad scientist whose experiments have gone totally awry… It’s called “Dr. Jake and Mr. Cried”. :)

  4. 28
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I listened to the episode this morning and had pancakes for lunch.

  5. kjc
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “when push comes to shove, I guess I’d rather talk about someone’s memory of his father having taken him to hear Martin Luther King speak, than ask about the finer points of the legislation that’s coming out of his office. And I think, being completely honest, that’s one of the bigger faults with The Saturday Six Pack. When you get right down to it, I’m more of an oral historian than a political reporter. ”

    now now, no need for humblebragging. obviously a lot of people like what you’re doing.

  6. Billy
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Mark is perfect for this! He’s got a voice made for blogging, and a face made for radio!

  7. Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I liked it better when you were picking on Jake, Billy.

  8. Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    And KJC, this wasn’t an instance of humblebrag. I meant it. I felt like I hadn’t done that good of a job with the interview as I focused more on his history than I did on his work in Lansing. I felt that some would see it as too much of a softball interview. But I was really interested in talking with him about his life. Ideally I hope to deliver a good mix of stuff, that’s both topical and has human interest appeal. The truth is, though, I’m not made for hard hitting interviews about anything… politics, music, beer. I just like asking things like, “What’s your first memory?” That’s where my interest is. So, no, I wasn’t bragging. I was being serious. I truly felt as though I’d let some people done for not pushing him harder on specific policy issues.

  9. Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    And, Jake, the story as you tell it seems pretty close to the version that Billy told on the show. I don’t think the facts are in dispute, are they?

  10. Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    This was an interesting time for all in attendance.

  11. Posted May 15, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink


    Doesn’t even know what a cryptid is for God’s sake.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] This, by the way, was the second week in a row where our musical guest went to the effort to write a song especially for the show, and I’ve really been touched by effort. It’s one thing to have people come in and visit, but it’s exponentially better when they make an effort to actively participate in some way. [If you’d like to hear the opening Saturday Six Pack theme written and performed by Fangs and Twang, click here.] […]

  2. […] State Rep David Rutledge steps up to the podium. After confirming “evidence of rival gang activity” in Ypsilanti, he references a letter he’d sent three days ago to Sheriff Jerry Claydon requesting that the County increase police patrols in the City of Ypsilanti and take on more of a role coordinating the activities of our various local law enforcement agencies, all of which have representatives standing behind him. [It occurs to me that I’ve never been in the presence of so many guns in my entire life.] Saying this collaborative effort would essentially follow the template of the Eastern Washtenaw Safety Alliance (EWSA), Representative Rutledge then begins the process of bringing spokespeople up from the Ypsilanti Police Department, Eastern Michigan University’s Public Safety Department, and the Sheriff’s Office, each of whom stressed how dedicated their organizations were to seeing these occurrences of violence come to an end. […]

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