It is so gratifying to see the huge response to the passing of Hatter. I have to clear a few things up here. First and foremost I feel that everyone should know... I didn't take care of Hatter, he took care of ME. I could not write this on Monday. Tears kept pouring down my cheeks and the tribute piece I did took all day to finish. Then on Tuesday I spent all day responding to hundreds of messages, comments, media and phone calls. I consoled as many people as I could. Today it sunk in... as I was driving home from the store I thought I'd share a bit of our story.
"I'm Back!" Former courthouse that sent him away...
He drove me to every gig in Detroit without getting lost! I owned the jeep yes but if I didn't have gas Stan bought it. We shared expenses totally.
Stan was such a righteous gentleman. He would drive us to the venues and drop me and my camera bag off at the door then go park my Jeep in a safe spot. Of course Hatter knew which spots were the safest!
After the gigs he would go retrieve my Jeep and pick me up at the door. Curb service! Wonderful. He made sure I was always ok with my surroundings no matter where we went. We usually split up the second we walked in the club because he had one job... to introduce the bands and I had another... filming and photographing the bands and attendees.
We worked so well together a great team. Hatter never missed a thing. Eagle eye under that hat and curly hair! I knew I had a great bodyguard. You just kind of knew that he could still handle himself no matter what trouble might occur.
The world was Hatter's Oyster. Not just music and bands, the entire world was his living room. He lived frugally yes but no one was a stranger to Hatter. He was magnetic and magical. Children flocked to him, elderly, baby boomers knew him, bus drivers, bread delivery people, the clerks at the farmer markets, drugstore clerks, Walmart workers, everyone chatted with Hatter everywhere we went. He was the truly most practicing Christian person I have ever met next to my Grandmother.
Some of the things that Hatter was obsessed with: Buddy's Pizza, Punk Rock, Art, Catholicism, Grilled Cheese sandwiches and Chocolate milkshakes from Big Boy. He loved his friends deeply and loved to dance.
He spoke often of about his time in prison for a marijuana possession offense. He talked like it just happened yesterday. Hatter even found a way to see the positive in that! One night while driving down I 94 going home he told me that he could never have killed a stranger in the Vietnam War at such a young age. So many of his friends were drafted into service dueitn this time. so being in prison kept him from having to face that horrible choice.
Stanley was more than a legendary emcee. He was a very complicated man with more layers than a huge bermuda onion. He was cagey, he was alert, very smart and oh so generous of spirit and his resources. Truly, if Hatter had 2 dollars he would give you one so you could both go to the Dollar Store!
Hatter loved to drive me crazy with the music in my Jeep! OH MAN did he ever make me nuts! I would pick him up (after 20 minute wait) then he'd climb in with his bag of stuff, his posters, flashlights, and he'd always have a cd in his hand. Let's play this one Kimmer! OH NO NOW WHAT??
Retro: Kimmer changed after I met Hatter. He schooled me on the inner workings of bands and gigs. He taught me lighting and running spots. He taught me about life as a bouncer. Hatter painted verbal paintings for me that I will never forget. I didn't know him for 40 years but we crammed as much as we could into our very short window of time.
Please go see this new Hatter interview tribute clip from Ron Perry's Detrot Rock Project
Emcee 'Stanley the Mad Hatter' set stage for rock greats Detroit News Susan Whitall
Stanley The Madhatter dies; friends fondly remember local rock-and-roll icon
Dan Boyd's Hatter Tribute Video
Stanley at Corktown May 2010