Sunday, November 23, 2014


We are taking a break from poker when Dave says he has a story to tell. This ought to be good.

"In college I used to be in a band," he says. "We played a few shows, some parties, even a bar mitzvah." This was in Michigan in the hazy mid-'60s. The name of the band was The Innsmen.

Dave eventually left The Innsmen to focus on school and became an academic. Now he's a land baron at Stockton Lake and host of a running card game involving ne'er-do-wells and badasses and scotch. Sometimes there are Cuban cigars and people have been known to die during the proceedings, meaning it's a fun time had by all. But we're getting off-track here.

Dave tells us he did a little net sleuthing not long ago and bang — in the digital world The Innsmen represent. Music lovers say The Innsmen helped create the choppy garage punk sound that came out of Michigan and influenced The Clash and The Modern Lovers, Mudhoney and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

You can go online and buy an Innsmen 45, but it's going to cost you. One single recently fetched nearly $400 on eBay. Another is up for grabs for almost $900. Dave dug up an Innsmen business card — they may have been punks but they knew how to network — and marvels at his newly discovered knowledge.

"I'm sort of the grandfather of garage punk," he says.

"Godfather," I say. "Not grandfather."

"Well, which is better?"

"As Godfather you can have people whacked."

This settles it for Dave. "Godfather of garage punk," he declares, and we return to our poker game, where he proceeds to smoke us and take our money. At one point I feel my eyes cross but I finish the hand before stumbling to the couch.

"You ok?" someone asks, but their voice is far and wee and I'm already smiling and halfway to Dreamland, where I'm a cat meandering among the peonies, and a friendly lap waits for me.

1 comment:

David Dixon said...

48 years after we recorded those songs, I find out that they appear on compilation albums and can be heard on YouTube. Thanks to Ron for this blog. I hope he MCs our reunion tour! Dave