Calling All Old Schoolers

Chris Macom —  April 9, 2014 — 11 Comments

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This article was written and submitted by Derek Nagler

Very likely if you are not in your thirties, having experienced your first party before the year 2000 this article is not written for you. With that being said, where are all of the rest of you now-a-days? Those of you I partied side by side with, in the dark abandoned warehouses of our day over fifteen years ago. It’s like we’ve become an extinct breed of people who’ve been slowly killed off by the evolution of our own lives. If you’re anything like me, you probably moved on from it when it withered and died off the likes of which our scene had never witnessed before. You moved on to become wrapped up in a significant other; you started your lives together and potentially even a family. You got “real jobs” and became “real life” busy. Sooner than later you forgot about the days in which you lived like there was no tomorrow, wrapped up in TPS reports and paying the electric bill. Good for you. Then one day you were listening to your playlists and you heard a track you hadn’t heard in ages and it flashed you back to all of those days that you had now forgotten. You remembered everything for what it was; weekend after weekend of unique experiences that only a select few within Detroit and its suburbs got to experience. You tried to tell stories and share memories with the people in your life. Some got it, but most did not and it made you sad. I don’t blame you for having done the above and I don’t blame you for looking back and feeling sad, because things truly are different now. Not just in your lives but in the “rave scene” that’s being promoted present day. The majority of it is astonishingly terrible because when we watched our scene wither and die away over a decade ago, it died forever.

However, there is hope. You see, everything I described above happened to me and it wasn’t until about six months ago that I decided to make a concerted effort to go experience good music once again. I was tired of trying to share my memories and nostalgia with people who would simply never understand so I set off to find the people who did and catch a groove with them. I wanted to make new memories but I wanted them to do justice to what I once experienced and let shape me. It was not going to be an easy accomplishment because present day music events have BIG shoes to fill in my mind. I started looking around to see what types of events were happening within the electronic music world and more times than not I came up without any good reason to leave my house. Then finally it happened. A music event with a musician actually worth giving a shit about, a musician of historic significance who directly impacted many of the experiences I look back on fondly, at a venue I actually knew. This was all it took and I knew I was going to be there and give it my best. I linked up with a few of my friends that I created my memories with back in the day and we went out and had yet another amazing life experience. It was fantastic through and through and it rejuvenated me. I felt like I was in my late teens again.

Unbeknownst to many of you these experiences do still exist, though admittedly extremely rarely. In the last six months I have been to a total of three extremely high caliber events from artists that are greatly impactful to the music that they play and the nights that we can still experience. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look. There are one off events that pop up that seem specifically geared to the older crowd of musically educated, old school party kids who went to parties for the musicians and NOT the party favors.

One of these rare gems of a music event went off last weekend without a hitch. Alexander Robotnick graced the city of Detroit with two and a half hours of musical enrichment and culture. He brought to the decks over thirty years of electronic influence and you could feel it from the very moment he started his set. He aimed to give the crowd a true experience they would look back on for years to come and did it with great success, even singing over his own classics live right before your very eyes. It was historical. We danced until drenched in sweat and sore head to toe and every single second was absolutely worth it. The crowd roared with genuine admiration and respect when it was over and you could tell it truly touched his heart. The night was a meaningful experience for everyone involved, Alexander included.

As I reflected back the next morning and thought about what made the night so wonderful though, I couldn’t necessarily give Mr. Robotnick all the credit. A huge part of my experience was each and every other person out on that dance floor. The appreciation, vibe and energy given off was one for the record books. However, there were only 150 people in attendance. Perhaps the most perfect 150 people to ever attend a music event, but only 150 people nonetheless. Back in my day, the best parties that created memories had several hundred if not thousands in attendance so I know that there are more of you out there. This message is for you. You can create new memories too, and you should! Those of us who make it out to these events every two or three months are highly dependent on your presence, so I’m calling you out. Get up off the couch; don’t go to sleep early on the weekends. Give the kids to grandma and grandpa or other members of your family and take a night out for yourselves. Do it for us. We as fellow members of the crowd will give back to you what you give to us, and there will be no regrets. That selfless atmosphere coupled with the music influence of someone the ranks of Alexander Robotnick and you have created new memories of equal or greater caliber to anything you experienced back in the day. Because now you know the rarity of creating those types of new memories and you’ll cherish them that much more. Believe me when I say that if this article speaks to the depths of your soul, if you can read this and relate to it in a way that’s uncanny, the rest of us can’t wait to see you at the next gig. You just have to know how to find us.

Chris Macom

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Chris Macom is a DJ, producer, and writer in the Detroit Metro area. Growing up in the 90's, Chris grew fond of electronic music and started collecting vinyl and DJing. Now, as a founder of both Detroit Techno House and Lost Science, Chris hopes to share with the world his experiences through music and writing.
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11 responses to Calling All Old Schoolers

  1. Slinds like it was under promoted. Where was it?

    Have to say though, back in MY day, the best part of the party was after 6am when the amatuers had given up and there was only a handfull left and an up and comer dropped a memorable set just for the heads. I don’t need others to affirm my choices.

  2. I moved away from Detroit in 1994 just after 1217 and the Packard were really blowing up.

    I moved to Phoenix and the scene wasn’t the same and the music didn’t have the same groove, it all seemed to be aimed at kids. I started buying records and doing what I could to bring better music to the clubs around me and even made it back to Detroit for the second demf and played an after party.

    I moved back to phoenix a few years ago and it’s been a while since I’ve played in a club, still buying detroit house and techno tho.

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  10. What’s up? Don’t long for the days of Mack and Bellevue, the Theater, the Firehouse, the whore house off of Concord, Butternut and Tillman, the chop shop, Studio 95 there on 6 Mile and Woodward, the house on Joseph Campau and Hunt, underneath the Ambassador Bridge, the slaughter house in the Eastern Market or anywhere else. Kind of glad they’re behind me.

    Looking back, it was all a dangerous gauntlet I’m lucky to have survived. How many times did Detroit SWAT point an MP5 in our faces while barking nonsense? Nevermind the “crack house” law tickets that many were burdened with, borne both of Detroit’s own local ridiculous “no dancing with glowsticks because they’re drug paraphernalia” ordinance as well as the cutely named RAVE Act (Reducing Americans Vulnerability to Ecstasy) passed by the federal government’s Congress. How many people had their cars jacked into while parked in that glass filled gravel lot across the street from the Eastown Theater? Ever witness the Bloods scoping us out near the few different venues that were clustered near the Ambassador Bridge? Were you at the party where the frickin Crips broke into one of our parties and then pummeled a young cat for his choice of red wear? They locked us in that building for awhile. Even that old off duty cop Frank who used to be hired for security couldn’t prevent every shitstorm thrown our way. Not could Barry the rave lawyer prevent his own ass from being hauled away.

    Would never trade any of the experiences for anything, but also wouldn’t step into the same kind of arena today. Most of us got really lucky in more ways than one. Between the sometimes dangerous drug batches such as the PMA in the red Mitsubishi pills that killed that one girl at Motor, the Bloods and Crips divided along the I-75 border (Crips had east of I-75, the Bloods west of it), the curious in origin dirt and dust of Mack and Bellevue, the literally crumbling around us Eastown Theater, the ever-present pink rolled out and sat upon insulation at numerous venues that is sure to be a ticking cancer bomb in at least of our raver lungs, the sometimes shifty no-good stealing ass motherfuckers just off the boat from Russia (not the main dudes, they were straight up), the nitrous that was sometimes laden with sulfur (okay, maybe the Russians weren’t always straight up), the crooked no-good asshole Highland Park accept the buyoff money but still bust the party anyway cops infesting the shithole area of Studio 95, the gauntlet of thieves in the parking lots and on Runyan Street just beyond the State Fair venue, the…

    When you remember this stuff, there’s a whole lot of it that wasn’t all that savory. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, don’t get me wrong, but those times were a lot more complex than just good fun time memories. Indeed, a LOT of the flyers that are out there digitalized came from my scanner and damn near ALL of the venue pictures that are out there came from one of my peeps for me in 2006 (decided to hurry at that point and acquire pics before these venues disappeared by way of mysterious midnight fires and whatnot), so I do love and adore those times. But they weren’t all good.

    It was kind of cool though…

  11. ^^^ there’s your key search words in order to draw in the old timers.

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