Lincoln Park, Michigan is a lower-middle class "bedroom" suburb of Detroit populated by factory workers in the nearby car assembly lines, steel mills and chemical complexes. It has no industry of its own, unless you count the big cheap liquour warehouse at the north-west corner. The Lincoln Park school system was noted for the lowest payscale for teachers in the state.
* PHOTO - IVOR DAVIDSON * 1968
We called it "Stinkin' Park". We were myself, Rob Tyner, Kelly Martinsen and Carl Schigelone. The four of us were the core of a gang of sorts, an Art Gang, if you will. I was The Driver because I was the only one with a car. It was a 1953 Ford Mainliner 2 door sedan with a flathead V-8 and a stick shift. When I wore out the main bearings on the motor I upgraded to a 1956 Chevy 283 V-8 automatic four door hardtop That was The Cruiser. The most essential hardware on both of these vehicles was the radio. Our station of preference was WCHB-AM, the powerhouse black dynamo, but WJLB (the other black station) and the top 40 stations such as WJBK, WXYZ, WKNR and CKLW out of Windsor, Ontario were all fair game. This was the time when Motown ("The Sound Of Young America") was The New Big Thing, but there was also Jackie Wilson and a host of great rhythm and blues artists of the late '50's and early '60's who were in heavy rotation. My particular favorite was Jimmy Reed.
We were headquartered in the parking lot of White Castle Hamburgers on Fort Street near Southfield. I believe that the MC5 was born in that parking lot in the mind of Rob Tyner. I know that he came up with the name Rob Tyner there. There was a discjockey known as "The Ugly Duckling" who devoted the last hour of his show to jazz. That's where we first heard John Coltrane. Whenever "My Favorite Things" would start, the volume would go up and a hush invaded the car. We would all be transported into a new, free, beautiful universe far away from the ugly parking lots and grueling routine that was our standard and seemingly inescapable fate.
So did Rob Tyner, but with a great deal more style and good taste than myself. While I was careening out of control Rob fell into the love of his life, Rebecca. Becky was a social worker sharing a large apartment with her friend Donna. Rob and Becky were pure magic from the beginning. One could not imagine a more perfect life-long romance. I flunked out of college due to alcohol poisoning, went to work at a steel mill on Zug Island and in a drunken state and fearfull of being drafted I signed up for the Navy. Next thing I know I'm in Boot Camp in San Diego, CA in 1964. Can anyone say "wake up call!" I woke up.
I honestly did not know that the United States of America was at war with North Vietnam. The American People were equally ignorant. I got in and out safely, but I lost several friends in Vietnam, as did Rob. Rob Tyner, the Warrior, was always the champion of the Vietnam Veterans, he instictively knew the real deal. Keywords: Honesty & Inspiration. I cannot think of any person I know or have ever met who could stand up proud and claim these keywords except Rob Tyner.
Posted 01-27 2001 ~ 08,25 2001 -
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