Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fun In Flint! - Two Music Videos

[Editor's Note: For anyone who hasn't figured it out yet, Kiel is more proud of being born and raised in Flint, Michigan than most people are about their kids graduating from college. In order to feed his obsession, The Cook Kids Table proudly presents "Fun In Flint!" – a new semi-regular feature that let's him share the glory of America's most downtrodden auto town with you.]

One of the things about my hometown that's stuck with me more than random nostalgia for the empty husks of houses long-ago abandoned by homeowners fleeing for the suburbs is the music scene that's embraced the most desolate parts of Flint as its stage. The cornerstone of all Flint music remains the Flint Local 432 – an all-ages punk rock club that's been floating between abandoned bowling alleys, department stores, loading docks and various community centers for the better part of two decades. I could write a feature dozens of pages long on the history of the Local (and did for my college journalism final!) but for now, I'll just say that it played a huge role in my teenage years (when I was fronting a pop band named for Seth's legendary comic Palooka-Ville) and to this day, the folks I know from performing on the club's stage are some of the baddest motherfuckers I know.

To wit...

The above is "Fire Away" – the new video for Flint punkers The Swellers. Like a real video. Like, I got the embedding code from I've known band songwriters and anchors Jono and Nick Diener for a few years after playing gigs with them when they were still a local high school band. Since then, they've progressively worked their way up through many name punk labels and played a shit load of tours across the U.S. and in Japan. Earlier this year, the guys got signed to Fueled By Ramen Records, which I thought was really cool even before someone explained to my obviously old ass that FBR wasn't just the neat little label that the Impossibles were on anymore, but was a major label who carried bands like Fallout Boy. That blew my mind in a few ways.

The Swellers' FBR debut "Ups And Downsizing" (buy it here!) is as perfect a snapshot of classic Flint pop punk as I can imagine. It's fast, catchy as hell, completely unpretentious and says a lot about how we all feel about Flint when you listen carefully. Plus, my bud Mark Michalik who produced some records for my third rate college indie band did a fantastic fucking job bringing out the boys' sound in stereo. If you want to try out a few more songs, the guys did an acoustic set on video for Spin Magazine last month and are currently touring with Less Than Jake after an opening stint with Paramour from this summer.

And now I'm just bragging, but holy friends are on MTV and junk. Insanity.

Hostage by Morseville Bridge from jack schmier on Vimeo.

For a decidedly more indie piece of the Flint music scene, I thought I'd share the above video for "Hostage" by Morseville Bridge. I'm not super good friends with these guys, though I've hung out with the lead singer Ryan a few times, but the real reason this thing was so rad for me to watch was because my bud Jack Schmier directed the video, which features some great footage of life "On The Brick" in Flint's oddly resurgent downtown area. Jack currently lives in Detroit, with my boy Teddy For REal who fronts the band Kommie Kilpatrick – a totally fucking insane punk out fit who just had a hilarious write up in today's Real Detroit Weekly.

So...I guess that's it for now. Enjoy a snapshot of my hometown, and check back later to see more of what's Fun in Flint!


Kello said...

Hey Kiel, it's nice to see a proud Michigander post something more than "the economy in Michigan stinks".

I grew up in East Lansing, and went to school in Grand Rapids, and I recently moved to the great state of Kansas, so I feel your sentiment for the mitten.

KP said...

Thanks, man! Yeah, I've always said: Michigan has the worst luck and the best people.

I went to MSU, and my brother lived in Kansas at Ft. Riley for a while. It's weird if you walk around the campus of K State to see how much like the MSU campus it is. It's another massive land grant university but instead of having ivy-covered halls, all the buildings are made of limestone.

Kello said...

Yeah, I'm still not too familiar with Kansas at large, but everything has that "crudely manufactured" feeling.

There are a lot of really successful MSU grads out there, I often wish I had gone there instead of Grand Valley.

Did you frequent any of the local comic shops while you went to school? I've been missing Clem's of Lansing.

Kommie said...

cool post!
the morseville bridge video is awesome.
I was there all day when they were making making it (cause my girlfriend, Jenny,is the girl in it) and it was really awesome getting to hang out in the capital theatre. we spent alot of time in the basement of it too, which was awesome. we found a card from a bouquet of flowers made out to Jane Wiedlin of the go gos, i guess from when they played there years and years ago.

anyways..see you around christmas time.