News Column

Detroit Free Press Rachel May column

October 23, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 23--Except for a guaranteed rockin' good time, you never know what to expect at a Ruiners show. For 16 years, the Ruiners have blazed a reputation for wildly unpredictable live shows -- often led by the band's front man setting himself on fire or riding into the bar on a motorcycle. Friday's record-release party, sideshow and horror Halloween extravaganza will likely be just as volatile.

The raucous rockers are taking the party to the Jokers Motorcycle Club House in Detroit to celebrate the band's seventh album, "Motorcycle Lazarus and the Masters of Fire and Love," which is being issued on the Detroit label New Fortune Records.

"Motorcycle Lazarus is sort of an alter ego for the entire band," says vocalist Rick Ruiner. "I was imagining this character going through all these different scenes; big fight scenes where he's beating up eight guys or he's on fire or he's flipping his bike or winning the girl. I was imagining a scene for each song. I wanted it to be so strange that people could get further into the record and listen to it and sort of experience it."

While the Ruiners have always put out quality work, it's been hard for the band to capture on wax the energy of the captivating live show. "Motorcycle Lazarus and the Masters of Fire and Love," does just that. If you haven't heard the Ruiners before, this is the album I'd start with. It conjures up images of a riot at a motorcycle rally, greaser gangs and barroom brawls -- all in a B-movie sort of way.

The album was recorded at the band's home studio. "I brought recordings of motorcycles and we did weird effects on them and looped them," says Rick Ruiner. "I can't even tell you how many hours we put into this."

The Jokers Motorcycle Club House was chosen for the release party in keeping with the album's theme. "It looks like something from a Quentin Tarantino movie," says Rick Ruiner. "We're going to do two sets. One that's dark and creepy, and then we're gonna have a party set later in the night where it's like the Ruiners going nuts."

Doors at 9 p.m. Friday, Jokers Motorcycle Club House, 12727 Stout, Detroit. $5. Costumes are encouraged.

For more: www.facebook.com/TheRuinersDetroit

Sticking with it: Up until January of last year, when storied vocalist Etta James passed away, Detroiter Bobby Murray had played guitar alongside the singer for a whopping 22 years. "I would've been happy if it would've been another 22 years," he says. "It was a good run, most definitely."

On Friday, Murray will celebrate the release of "I'm Stickin' with You," an 11-song solo release that showcases him not only as a great guitar player but also as a proficient songwriter. "I wanted to do a recording where I wrote all the songs. I was sort of compelled to do it," he says. "I did learn some lessons from her (Etta). One of them was to kind of do what you're supposed to do, and this fell into that category."

Murray tapped some of the area's top vocalists to help bring the songs to life --Paul Randolph, Wiley (Red) Redding, Barbara Payton, Tom Hogarth and more. Some other guests on the album are drummer Ron Pangborn, bassist Nolan Mendenhall and guitarist Brian (Roscoe) White.

The album was recorded at Roscoe's Recording in Detroit with Murray's band, which includes bassist Dave Uricek, drummer Renell Gonsalves and organist Mark

Thibodeau. That lineup will anchor Friday's release party, along with guest vocalists Randolph, Redding and Payton. "A lot of the people that are on the recording will be performing," Murray says.

The event will be hosted by WCSX-FM (94.7) blues host Mark Pasman, who is expected to get up and jam with Murray and company.

Doors at 8 p.m. Friday, music at 9 p.m. Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward, Ferndale. 248-546-3696. Free. 21 and older.

For more: www.facebook.com/BobbyMurrayMusicBand

Music and Monsters: Former Detroiters Elle Mae and Markie D will be back in town this weekend when their rockabilly group the Phantom Shakers takes over the New Way Bar in Ferndale for the Motor City Monster Mash on Saturday.

The mash will feature music from DJ Del Villarreal, the Luckouts, Cash O'Riley and the Phantom Shakers. A costume contest will round out the Halloween fun.

The band just returned from a European tour and its newly released EP, "Right Behind You Baby," caught the attention of Austin country music icon Dale Watson, which helped the group land a slot on the Ameripolitan Showcase in Texas next month.

Doors at 9 p.m. Saturday, New Way Bar, 23130 Woodward, Ferndale. 248-541-9870. $10, $8 with costume. 21 and older.

For more: www.phantomshakers.com

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