Hatter next door to the Magic Bag in Ferndale

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!

Hatter with Dave Wakeling leader of the English Beat

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.

Magnetic and Magical Hatter loved all people.

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.

Teaching me about Foran's Balcony and Windows

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.

Taught me to always have a flashlight! Gave me 3 of them.

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!

Our favorite night as Hatter and Kimmer

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??

One night he played "Here Comes the Madhatter" for 45 minutes all the way to Hamtramck and back! OY! Finally he found music that we could both enjoy. Retro tunes from the 70's. I have his cd here with me as he forget to grab it out of the Jeep.

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.

In the end our relationship boiled down to one thing. We loved each other very much and I was the luckiest girl. xxoo KIM :*(

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


Anonymous said...

Touching. Very good, R/K.

Whaler said...

Kim...I am so sorry for your loss..In all the years of going to Rock N Roll shows (45 years)..I would always see hatter..and it always brought a smile to my face..I talked to him several times and he was Groovey..My heart goes out to you....Peace..David Matteson (Whaler)

geri said...

Kim, so sorry. He was the "perfect" gentleman. He represented our city and the energy of Detroit Rock. Great story on him. geri gillespie

Larry H Leitner said...

Kimmer, This is my new motto.
Life is sweet! You just have to go out and taste it.--Stanley T Madhatter.

Dave Grogan said...

We should all be so lucky to know such love

Susan Mann said...

Really well said. Stanley ROCKED!

Cathy Przybylski Stoner said...

Everything you describe about Stanley is true! He was a passenger in my car many of times...always with a detour and complete narration and history! He even had a great fondness for great architecture...guiding and narrating through the bac...k alleys in Pontiac during Arts, Beats, and Eats to go and meet up with someone at an art gallery or two. Another like of his was candy! He loved the candy store on the curve on M-36 on the way to Pinckney (don't know if it is still there). Knowing him for over 30 years wasn't long enough!!!

Deniz Tek said...

Very sorry about Stanley. He seemed a nice fellow, gave me a T-shirt which I still wear all the time. Sympathies to you and his other surviving friends and family,


Lee Berry said...

I’m stunned. And saddened. Thanks for the word.


Sue Rynski said...

Kim, this is a wonderful moment of enlightenment and creativity for you. Loss does that. It's the precious gift born of the pain. My thoughts and love are with you, and thanks for sharing your inspiring thoughts with us! xxx"

Floyd W Blackl said...

Dansir called and let me know about the passing of our friend Stanley. The last time I spoke with him was at the Detroit Jazzfest. I escorted him backstage and a good time was had by all. Stanley was an icon of the Detroit rock scene. You will be missed by many.

Greg Upshur said...

Sooo sorry, I liked the guy...He reintroduced the Seatbelts to the world...
Best , Greg

Dan Boyd said...

Thanks Kim, we all miss him very much.

Mimi Blanchard said...

"Beautiful and true Kim. I knew him for 45 years and your description is exactly how mine would be in a much shorter time that you had together - right on! I sure knew the music was coming with him whenever I picked him up over all those years - like you say - not always my choice of music but it comes with Stanley. You have told the Stanley truth and he has been set free. Peace - Love, mimi"

Samantha said...

I haven't seen Stanley in about 40 years and only because of Facebook, was I able to find him now. He was my boyfriend when I was 17 and I was with him the night or so before he went to jail for M.
I told my parents he went for draft evasion, which he would have anyway I think- he was a beautiful and peaceful man. My prayers are with him."

Detroit Donnie said...

I didn't even know the brother, but from this article, I feel like I missed out! Kim I know you have a way with words, but the subject material has to be there. So for all you folks that will miss the Mad Hatter my heart goes out to you. May the Great Spirit bring comfort upon you and may He remind you of your friend during the quiet times that you are enjoying Mother Earth.

Detroit Donnie said...

I didn't even know the brother, but with the words that you wrote about him, I feel like I known him for a lifetime. Kim you have that way about you! It is a great talent for someone like yourself to bring out a person's kindred spirit. May the Great Spirit bless you in your life and may the Great Spirit guide those who have left ahead of us. Our lives here may be different since they have left, but that does not mean that He has not put our friends to work for when we meet him again. Great going Kim, you are a once in a lifetime artist. If everyone was blessed to have you write about them, this world would be a better place.

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