Mark Sisto at the Fleetwood Diner

I received a call early Saturday morning from Mark Sisto lead singer, great mate of Deniz Tek's who was coming into town for various reasons. Deniz asked if I'd like to interview Mark. I did want to interview him and at least meet him. Mark came to the Blind Pig show and I missed meeting him there by inches. He was chatting with Gary Quackenbush of SRC and I was right next to Gary with pal Trudie.

Kimmer and Trudie at the Blind Pig

Though barely knowing anything about Mark, his life or musical background, there was something about that name Sisto that was so attractive. Hearing he at the A2 show and I missed meeting him! I began doing my home work watching Mark with The Visitors and trying to catch up with 20 years of Mark's life on video. Never thought I'd meet him so soon after the show. I thought Mark was from down under not Birmingham, MI.

Thinking I had plenty of time to clean house and get cleaned up I was stunned when my phones went off at 9am on Saturday! YIKES now what??? Well what the hell grabbed a quick shower and flew out to the Ann Arbor train station.

Funny! Mark and I left the train station and bee lined for the Starbucks as I was jonesing for caffeine in a huge way. Poor Mark didn't sleep the night before on the train and was hungry too. Mark wanted to go to the Fleetwood diner, a place I had managed to avoid my entire life of living around here. I offered to take him somewhere better but he had fond memories of the way the Fleet used to be. Sadly Mark gave the experience 1 star for smoke, yucky coffee and didn't like his french toast either. (I just drank coffee, I knew better)

Mark is doing his best Deniz Tek's "The Look"

We decided to make a trek to Coachville the trailer park where James Newell Osterberg Jr. used to live. This small trailer park is still there on Carpenter Rd and right next to my friend Doug Davis's Miles of Golf aka Pat's Par 3.

Here we are at Coachville the home where Iggy grew up and had to live down. Can't believe it is still there. After here we made our way to Ypsilanti's Depot Town and had a beer at Aubrees where we ran into Al King.

Ended up back at my house in Lodi and had a blast listening to Mark sing along with the soundtracks of some movies I own. We had a great time digging into astrology charts and talking about solving the world's problems.

Monday back to work and school. Dropped Lesley and Mark of at the transit center and beat the feet off to the day job. Loved meeting Mark and hope to see him again some day. I felt like I had known him all my life, what a charming man.





Following Radio Birdman's split in 1978, Deniz Tek would form another band called The Visitors. This band was different musically from Radio Birdman, coming off with more of a New Wave influence. Deniz Tek was on guitar, Ron Keeley on drums, Pip Hoyle on keyboards, Steve Harris on bass, and Mark Sisto on vocals. In addition the New Wave vibe that was present on their material, The Visitors music also loomed with an ominous Doors influence.

The band was made up of three former Radio Birdman members (Hoyle, Tek, and Keeley), Sisto was a long time friend of Tek's. The line up also was sonically different than The Birdmen, there was only one guitar (as opposed to Radio Birdman who had two guitar players), there was also a darker element to the bands music. Prior to the band forming, Tek and Hoyle were working as interns at a hospital, during their spare time they jammed on songs through piano and guitar and the songs for The Visitors were written.



It was sometime after I had left the Sonic Rendezvous band that I got a call from a local music promoter with and interesting idea. As the conversation grew it became clear to me that this would be and opportunity to experience something tantamount to the big bang theory.

Seems Johnny Thunders was going to be in the metro area for a few show's with the Heartbreakers so I agreed to become witness to this musical black hole. As time passed Johnny had taken a liking to the scene here and decided to hang around for awhile. The promoter had convinced JT that maybe he should try changing his habits and he agreed.

The conversion of Johnny Thunders had begun. In a remote house outside of Ann Arbor Michigan. The plan was hatched to clean JT up and build a new band around his style of rock & roll. The first call went out to Wayne Kramer of the MC5 fame, myself, Scott Morgan's brother Johnny Morgan to play drum's what was to become known as the Gang War Band.

We rehearsed in this remote place and I spent a lot of time with JT. I noticed as time went by that he became healthier looking and added some weight on and his eyes were clearer. So we're hanging out one day and JT says Ronnie can you take me to town I haven't seen any concrete in weeks. I laughed out loud that this Wylie New York cat was freaking out.

We decided to play a show to see how it would go. I went downtown A2 to a nondescriptive bar that was the local watering hole for some of the city's finest drunks you know the kind of place dark smokey and some strange smells. I inquired of the owner who by chance was from my home hood that I hadn't seen in years if we could set up and play the place.

He said we can't pay ya anything. I said fine just get some more tables in here. Come's the day of the show with just a few random calls and word of mouth the bar owner call's and says his phone is ringing off the hook about tonight's gig. This place had never seen live music and it wasn't a place that most would ever enter due to its extreme funkiness.

Well as the pressure was building up and a galactic shift in the universe is about to pop. The line of people is around the corner and down the block. The noise in the place from the chatter of the crowd was deafening. The band comes up from the cellar and begins to peel the wallpaper with a sonic blast. Johnny reached up and caught his guitar neck in the ceiling tile pulling it loose.

He decided to swing from the ceiling support's like something out of a Tarzan movie and bam down comes the whole ceiling in the place all forty foot of it on the crowd, the bartenders and the waitresses. The place goes nuts. Ceiling tiles are flying around as if a hurricane was in progress beautiful I thought complete havoc. We didn't hang around long after that.

The owner was pissed off but here's the real deal... that sh*t hole collected its insurance money swept the place out build a permanent stage and had a 25 year run as the place to play in Ann Arbor. After that I guess you could say we put the STAR in the Star Bar. And it still shines today even though they bulldozed the place and put up a parking lot.





My dear friend and mentor photographer Heather Harris gave me a few shots of the show as she was there shooting! Leanna did her first large event and did a fine job. It is hard work getting all those people together and trying to make everyone "happy". Each show just gets better as you learn which things can go wrong and anticipate those things before they happen.

Overview of Ron Asheton tribute, from Spinner website, by Stephen Baltin

One year ago on Jan. 13, friends and family gathered to lay Stooges' guitarist Ron Asheton to rest. Rather than honor the anniversary with some staid service, Asheton's legacy was celebrated with the kind of chaotic club show that finally brought the band their long overdue spot in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year.

A 'Jam for Ron Asheton,' which was put together by his 18-year-old niece, Leanna Asheton, saw the famed Roxy on the Sunset Strip infused with the true spirit of punk on Wednesday night. The concert featured all-star guests along with headliners the Living Things and very impressive turns by up-and-coming acts the Entrance Band and Nighthorse, both of whom were personally invited by the Asheton clan.

The "anything goes" spirit was seen throughout the night. Bassist Mike Watt, who toured with the Stooges in support of their last studio album, 'The Weirdness,' asked the crowd, "Does anybody know 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'?" Being one the Stooges' most famous songs, Watt's question could have been seen as a call to get the audience fired up.

Instead, when an audience member raised his hand, Watt brought him onstage and handed him a microphone. The man shined in the moment, twirling the microphone, shaking his hips and got the dream opportunity of rocking out with Stooges drummer Scott Asheton, Watt and saxophonist Steve Mackay.

Watt then led the jam session in a rousing '1969,' which featured Jane's Addiction's Stephen Perkins on drums, followed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith taking a turn on the skins during the five-song jam. The event was chaotic and crazy, but so was the Stooges' sound and that's how they revolutionized rock 'n' roll.

"I think about that sound in 1969," Perkins said to Spinner backstage after the show, "And I think of Jimi Hendrix, I think of the Grateful Dead. Then you have the Stooges. Detroit f---ing brought it and that's what we're here to celebrate. It's 2010 and we're jamming the Stooges, it's timeless." Amen!

Full lineup
Ron Asheton Tribute
from Leanna Asheton

Billy Boy on Poison
The Entrance band
Night Horse
Living Things
Scott Asheton (Stooge)
Mike Watt (Stooge)
Steve Mackay (Stooge)
Scott Thurston (Stooge)
Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction)
Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Anna Rose
Derek Stanton (Awesome Color)
Circus Boy
Raw Power Rangers
Steve Baise
Don bolles



Created a new blog for my friend drummer Al King. It is in it's early stages so I will be tweaking it for awhile but Al has some great posts up already so check him out! RK
Al King's Blog is HERE

Al King here. I play drums, live for Rock n Roll, go on adventures and meet cool and interesting people along the way. I’ll tell ya, show ya and influence ya here. As of today Jan. 11 2010, I’m working hard promoting Gorevette's debut record release titled "The Lustfully Yours EP". Gorevette is one of the bands I play drums in.

Started in 2009, Gorevette includes the fabulous Nikki Corvette on lead vocals, Amy and Lianna Gore from Detroit's sensational rock outfit and internationally known Gore Gore Girls, "The Sisters Falcon"; Amy on lead guitar and Lianna down low with the bass. Both girls on Gretch white n gold Falcons.

I’ve also played drums with Michigan rock legends such as Scott Morgan, Mitch Ryder, Deniz Tek (of Radio Birdman).

I currently drum with Gorevette, Powertrane, and Mazinga just to mention a few…

Check out Gorevette's Cd Release FOR LUSTFULLY YOURS Show HERE


Stay tuned here for more. Over and out.-Al



Being born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan it was our habit as teens to hitch rides to hang out in dowtown Ann Arbor and hang around State and Liberty on the campus of the University of Michigan. The years were about 1968-1978 when I spent the most time in that area. Shopping at Middle Earth and the Bead Bag.

We all knew Shakey Jake. Jake was a bluesman from Little Rock Arkansas. We assumed he was homeless as he carried most of his possessions around with him. But he had rooms all over town and then living in section 8 housing. He carried his old painted acoustic guitar which was out of tune and missing strings. Ocasionally you'd see Jake and Herb David had tuned it and replaced his strings. That made Jake a happy man.

Jake played for spare change on street corners and at times he played bars like the Del Rio and the Old Town. I saw him play one time at the Rio with the Blue Front Persuaders. (wonder where they are now)

Both photos: Jim Rees

As you can see Jake did at least one record!

From the Ann Arbor News

Shakey Jake Woods was a star in Ann Arbor, almost from the time he arrived here 34 years ago. Wearing his trademark three-piece suit, hat and dark sunglasses, the man known simply as "Shakey Jake" could be seen playing his guitar on the street downtown for as long as many can remember. And when he stopped inside local stores or restaurants for breakfast or lunch, it was if a movie-star had walked in.

"Customers would treat him as a celebrity," said Kathi Macker, a manager of Expresso Royale on Main Street.

Woods, perhaps the city's most recognizable resident, died Sunday evening, said Felicia Epps, a property manager for the Ann Arbor Housing Commission. He was 82 years old, according to a friend and the date of birth he gave police in 2001 after he reported being punched in the stomach.

Though he played his guitar with vigor, it was often out of tune. Sometimes it had only one or two strings. But he had a larger-than-life persona.

Among his claims: That he had been around the world dozens of times but never in an airplane. That he had a dozen bodyguards who watched out for him constantly but couldn't be seen by other people. That he slept only two hours a night. And that he was born on Halloween and was 104 years old.

What's true is that he sold tapes, T-shirts and bumper stickers ("I brake for Jake") that made their way around the country. Occasionally, he put a bucket out on the street when he played his guitar. But he lived on Social Security and relied on the kindness of many downtown merchants. It was enough to cover the cost of renting rooms all over the city, and later to live in public housing.

"He was so harmless," said Chera Tramontin, whose mother, Karen Piehutkoski, opened Kilwin's Chocolate Shoppe in 1983 on Liberty Street. Woods was one of the first to visit the new shop.

"It wasn't that he wanted the handout," said Tramontin. "He wanted to go out and work, and he thought he was working. He was out playing his music."

Shakey Jake died on September 16, 2007, at the age of 82.

RIP bluesman

Read more HERE

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins?! Say it ain't so...

A RK reader sent this story in to us tonight and we loved it. Here is an article on Loves that should have lastest forever. We agree with our reader that this article is worth a look and check the story out HERE Thanks for the story Elizabeth!

Her original email:

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins?! Say it ain't so...

In light of their shocking split, I wanted to share an article with you about "10 More Celebrity Loves That Should Have Endured Forever”

I think readers of Retro Kimmer will enjoy it, and we hope you will consider linking to it and/or mentioning it.

I appreciate your feedback and thank you in advance for your consideration.

Be well,
Seniors For Living



Mike Wales Dan Hyatt and Pat Soraruf were the brothers I never had and family I created in a lonely childhood. Such fun we had. Sadly Mike passed away in 2005 and I rarely talk with the other two. But in the 70's these were my favorite men of all time.



Fazzi (FAZ) Husain was widely known in Washtenaw County area, passed away suddenly at age 54 in 2006. Kimmer met Faz back in the early 1960's when his family lived behind my grandmother's home near the Campus of Eastern Michigan University.

Faz was the true ambassador of loving your fellow man. He always had a smile and hug whenever approached by a friend or even someone he had just met.

Faz moved from India to Ypsilanti 40 years ago when his father was recruited for a job at Eastern Michigan University. Faz went to Roosevelt Laboratory School and when that school closed he moved on to finish at Ypsilanti High.

Over the years, Faz developed a hobby of meeting celebrities and getting his picture taken with them. Sadly someone stole a lot of his early celebrity shots from the pizza shop in Ypsilanti. He was working on a book about how to meet famous people. That is when he came to me to convert his photo albums to digital files. Which I had begun when he suddenly left us.

Faz was a member of the Ypsilanti City Council in the early 1980s. He owned several pizzerias over the years, the latest of which is Hello Faz Pizza on West Liberty Street 734 741 7777 in Ann Arbor. Call Nikki and tell her Kimmer sent you!

Last night I found the cd of Faz's photo albums. I had lost that disc for a few years. Now I think is the perfect time to launch FAZ into CYBERSPACE! He would love Facebook!

I plan to retouch a lot of the images at some point. It is a long process but for now you can see his images on my Facebook Photo Gallery HERE Or search Kim Maki in Facebook and then go into my photos and you'll see his gallery there. Please tag any person (s) you may recognize.

RIP Fazzi my dear friend xxoo

P.S I spoke with his wife Nikki today and she misses him so much. So if ou can stop by the pizza shop on Liberty and see her! I am going to do that more often.




Last week as I was driving home from work I got a call from a friend who does artwork & posters for bands and who did our cd art. I talk to him frequently about drums and he knows that I am “into” vintage drums. He had a guy over who was a drummer that had a set of old Ludwig drums that he just dug out of the attic because he is moving and wanted to sell. I told him that I wasn’t really looking buy anymore drums but I told him to put the guy on the phone.

The guy told me he had these drums for almost 30 years and that all the drums had the keystone badges but no serial numbers and that there were 3 drums a 22” bass, 16” floor tom & a 12” tom tom. He told me that there were no extra holes in the drums but that the set was missing the bottom rims on the toms and that they were rusty and dirty because they have been sitting in his attic & more recently his garage all this time. His description of the finish was that the drums were multi colored and that they looked like a lava lamp.

Everything sounds interesting and cool , and that the drums definitely have more of a red & blue color – I am pretty sure this is Psych Red. We strike a deal and I make arrangements to buy the drums on Saturday before our show at Alvin's. We are opening for The Hell Drivers a great local band whose drummer is Johnny Bee Badanjek & guitarist is Jim McCarty (these guys were the original players in Mitch Ryder’s first band The Detroit Wheels and who formed another band in the 70’s called the Rockets).

On Saturday the guy drops off the drums at my house now during the afternoon the drums were in rough shape, rusty & dirty I was a little disappointed I thought it would make at least a players set.

The drums are 3 ply clear interiors, 22-13-16 (the 12 was a 13). The toms were missing bottom rims & rods, but the bass had both hoops with the original inlays. They are all keystone badges: 22" - #649XXX // 13" - #653XXX // 16" - #644XXX. The bass drum badge is bent up off the shell (not tight, but not tampered with either). The bass drum does not have a shell mount cymbal holder only the rail mount & the spurs - no extra holes in any of the drums. Round knob mufflers on the toms. There is some fade but a lot of good color is present - the reds & the blues are excellent and the green is fair. The poor spots are the front of the 13" tom & the bottom of the bass drum.

I had just enough time to clean the drums and had to leave for the show. At the bar my drum friend Steve sets up and tunes the drums (he does this for Johnny Bee regularly) and I am really excited that we are going to play this show with this drum set. It is early and the bar is already full so we do our set at 9:30 with those beautiful old Ludwig drums up on stage. Our drummer loves these drums better than the Slingerland Capri set that he has used in the past. Also the guy who sold the set to me came to the show and got a kick out of his drums being up on stage.

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