Monday, March 7, 2011

Kid Rock Advocates For Detroit

Back when I was about twelve or something like that, Kid Rock and Eminem jumped on to the scene. A rambunscious troublesome white kid in the Central District of Seattle, I instantly took with these two guys. They're both very different and have gone in very different directions with their music (which probably could not have been foreseen back then) but they both reek of loyalty to their hometown, Detroit, a city that is besmerched and looked down upon throughout the country.

I don't know how much comparison I can make here but when I was growing up in Seattle, it was alot different than it is now. Seattle looked alot more like the "hick town" it used to often get referred to and bowling alleys, fisheries, hardware stores, military bases and breweries were the blue collar fair before the city exploded with coffee shops, the biotech industry and Microsoft.

I've talked earlier about the steady gentrification of Seattle's historically black and immigrant areas. I can easily imagine, if industry had not taken off as it did, that Seattle could have gone downhill fast and wound up looking alot like Detroit, with airplane manufacturing and the military being the ghost industry instead of automobiles. Some areas, like Glenn Beck's hometown, steadily deteriorated into nothing more than shopping malls. Who then would have been the advocates for Seattle? Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and the guys with Them Crooked Vultures? TCV is vintage Seattle, harkening back to Murder City Devils and the post-punk that dominated Seattle before hipsterdom came into vogue.

Like Seattle and its sister city Portland, which also has experienced substantial rebirth, perhaps it is worth looking at Detroit and similar downtrodden cities (Oakland being a great example). The cities that created America's past aren't really pushing forward innovation (Washington D.C. and San Francisco are great examples of this) and change is brought about by a strange new cast of characters instead of the old guarde.

So with the endorsement of native sons Kid Rock and Eminem, maybe it's worth the time of journalists, investors and others to give another look at Detroit. To have produced such substantial talent in the depths of economic depravity shows that they have something that cities like Boston or San Francisco don't. That talent should be harnessed for a new America.

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