Chameleonic Navigations from a Ford Falcon: The Life and Art of Eddy Detroit
by Alan Bishop

Shock-A-Lock-A-Lickum is a must-own Eddy Detroit album that includes unreleased and first time on vinyl classics from his late 70s LA exploits straight through to his current mandolin-wielding days. Some of his best songs are on this record, ones he has played for many years in countless permutations. "Sinister Urge," "Subterranean Sunday," "Tacky Town," "Wishing Cups," "Ghetto Café," etc., I've played on almost all of them during my various live stints with the man over the past 35 years and here they are — finally — via the fine folk at Assophon records.

“He gave tarot card readings at Grateful Dead shows while in the bay area and when back in Phoenix, opened up his own café where he hosted shows for local vaudevillians that needed a gig and started taking calls every day in his house robe as an employee for Dionne Warwick's psychic hotline.”

Eddy Detroit has had a life that defies belief. He cut his teeth as a teenager in mid-60s Motown on the Stooges and the MC5 only to drift across the ocean to London in 1969-70 where he befriended Mary Hopkin while trying to cram his demo tape up the ass of one of the Fab Four at Apple Records. He toured as a Conga player with an international Voodoo stage show and roomed with Nico in LA diving head first into the Sunset strip punk-porn scene of the late 70s where it got so fucked-up that he climbed to the top of the HOLLYWOOD sign where he contemplated jumping to his death but instead decided to stumble into Phoenix Arizona just in time to put his stamp on the early 80s freak scene there by proclaiming himself "The Laundry-room Satanist" where he made two unclassifiable & brilliant self-produced LPs, Immortal God's and The Philosopher's Journey. He gave tarot card readings at Grateful Dead shows while in the bay area and when back in Phoenix, opened up his own café where he hosted shows for local vaudevillians that needed a gig and started taking calls every day in his house robe as an employee for Dionne Warwick's psychic hotline. Then he moved for a spell to Albuquerque where he was breaking BAD two decades before Walter White, and in the meantime got his own color spread in LEGS magazine, walked a million miles in 110 degree Arizona heat as a door to door salesman for Jody Lynn photo studios, formed bands like The Exorcist Express and The U-Bang-E Quartet, went toe to toe with El Duce, heard the last words of Al Casey, and, oh yeah — he just happened to write, record, and perform a wide assortment of Kon Tiki voodoo lounge exotica and folk psych horror foot-slurpin' wild west ghost dance tropic island sketches over the past 50 years. And the guy can play a mean drum kit too.

These ten tracks reflect the chameleonic navigations of a man who never once allowed the ever creeping cancer of blind societal obedience or herd mentality to prevent his extremely singular vision from manifesting and who can still be found living larger than life in a small apartment that resembles Fred Flintstone's bedrock home on the outskirts of a familiar large desert capital in the great southwest. Eddy always preferred trailer parks and odd housing structures to inhabit. He once lived in a cheap motel attached to an IHOP where he would have a pancake breakfast every morning while preparing songs for his daily rehearsals.

“…he just happened to write, record, and perform a wide assortment of Kon Tiki voodoo lounge exotica and folk psych horror foot-slurpin' wild west ghost dance tropic island sketches over the past 50 years.”

To fully appreciate the relentless personality of Eddy Detroit one has to spend time around him. There were countless epic early 1980s incidents in Phoenix where he would carve his niche of relevance the size of the Grand Canyon amidst a scene stuffed with flamboyant, unyielding characters. The first time I encountered him he was donning a pith helmet on stage playing bongos and shrieking like a goat in the middle of a wresting ring in front of a pack of confused teenage punks. Shortly after that he had assembled a group of local Phoenix musicians to record his first full-length LP and was playing live shows regularly with whoever would be available. One night he climbed into a large industrial dryer at a 24 hour Laundromat and asked me to close the door, insert a quarter, turn it on and not stop it until he knocked on the window. He lasted 20 seconds before I let him out. By the mid-80s his bands were usually a randomly chosen concoction of outcasts, bikers, hippies, or budding occultists — once he was giving me a tour of his new house and he opened a bedroom closet and said "this is my new guitarist" and sure enough there he was, curled up inside sleeping off a hangover. He drove around in a 1964 Ford falcon trolling for odd characters to add to his band or place on his album covers. He hired the woman who sat behind him on a horse for the front cover of his debut album based on her "great bone structure". His tarot card readings at all-night house parties were legendary. Weirdos of all ages would gather round and line up for their turn to hear Eddy's reading of their past, present, and future augmented by his endless tangential storytelling: "the first time I got a blowjob was from a vacuum cleaner!" I once saw him turn an ex-marine into a toad but maybe I'm not supposed to mention that. He carried that little toad in his coat pocket for a while. Anyway, I could wax on endlessly about the legend of Eddy Detroit but that could never do him justice. You should just listen to this fucking record. For all you heads of real outsider folk Americana, it doesn't get any better than this.


In-stock selections by Eddie Detroit:


More in-stock selections from Assophon Records


More in-stock selections by the Sun City Girls: