Jack White: The Prodigal Son?

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, alt-rock powerhouse, frontman of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, member of the Dead Weather, owner of Third Man Records, eccentric creative, furniture upholsterer, vinyl enthusiast, and Southwest Detroit native, Jack White will be opening a second store for his record label in Midtown this November.

Photo courtesy of @ThirdManRecords

Photo courtesy of @ThirdManRecords

The announcement, made by Third Man on June 2, with an Instagram post captioned, “Third Man staff in Nashville (the ‪#‎mothership‬) toasts to our future in the ‪#‎CassCorridor‬, ‪#‎Detroit‬! Congratulations to ‪#‎JackWhite‬ and Tom Kartsotis of @Shinola on the purchase of the building! ‪#‎thirdmanrecords‬ ‪#‎shinola‬,” made resounding noise through the city, with people crying from the rooftops, “he’s back!” Okay, not really, but it might as well have.

White has had a weird relationship with the city of Detroit. Once the White Stripes hit it big and after Jack White moved to Nashville, TN, the White Stripes refused to tour to Detroit, the city that made them. The home of the Magic Stick where White got in a fight with Von Bondies singer Jason Stollsteimer. There’s been controversy about the motive behind their apparent Detroit boycott, and even speculation that it wasn’t a conscious decision, but as a high school White Stripes fan without a car to go to a show in another state, I was not happy about it. He said that Detroit was “negative” and left it at that.

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Big changes coming to the iconic Magic Stick

It was announced this past month that the Magic Stick, home to all kinds of music acts, from national to local talent, would be transformed into a venue that exclusively houses EDM this spring. Word hasn’t been released on whether the name of the venue will change, but the $250,000 project will include new decor, furniture and dressing rooms, along with a bigger stage, new restrooms and additional service bars. This sounds cool in theory, but the grittiness that’s been the Magic Stick’s signature atmosphere will be gone, and for that, I must say I’m pretty bummed. So here’s my ode to the almost-late Magic Stick.

The Majestic Complex, which now consists of the Majestic Theatre, The Majestic Cafe, Garden Bowl, Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza, and the Magic Stick upstairs, was built in April of 1915, for the purpose of being a giant movie theater. Though the Garden Bowl has consistently stayed in operation, eventually the theater closed, and the space became a church, then a photography studio, and then became vacant for about a decade. The space was bought in 1984 and became what we know it as today. Both the Majestic Theatre and The Garden Bowl were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

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Who listens to records anymore?

As someone who has worked retail way too long, I am morally opposed to the battle that ensues in malls and Best Buys across America on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. Some people I worked with would love the adrenaline that came along with dealing with insane women screaming at each other over who was in line first in case Victoria’s Secret ran out of every single one of the tote bags stocked with beauty sampleslargeright before they got to the registers. I remember being bitter every year as I either skipped my delicious family meal or had to eat and run in order to get a couple hours of sleep in before I had to be at the mall by midnight to let the savages barrel past me for $25 yoga pants as I opened the store’s gate. So no, I did not participate in Black Friday shopping this past week, my first Thanksgiving out of retail.

But at 8:45 in the morning I did find myself standing outside of Dearborn Music, along with a bunch of other vinyl-loving hipster fanatics to participate in Record Store Day. So really, I’m no better than the guy with his tent tied up in the Best Buy parking lot, or the woman I saw at the mall a couple years ago carrying a fake baby so that people wouldn’t shove her. But whatever, I wanted the limited-edition American Hustle soundtrack and Against Me!’s Daytrotter Sessions 7″.

In celebration of Record Store Day, which happens twice a year (originally just on the third Saturday of April and now it’s become a Black Friday thing as well) I’m going to highlight my top five record stores in the Detroit/metro Detroit area.

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