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The Dirtbombs: Detroit Techno City


Dirtbombs Credit: Brian Alesi

It has been a decade since Detroit was hailed as ground zero for the American garage rock revival, a scene that spat out in quick succession bands such as the Detroit Cobras, the Von Bondies, the Soledad Brothers and, most notably, the White Stripes, whose global profile created a hype halo for any band lucky (or unlucky) enough to be swept up in the tide.

That class included the Dirtbombs, a powerhouse group fronted by guitarist and Detroit native Mick Collins, whose previous band, the Gories, were massively influential in their own right.

In 2001, the Dirtbombs released “Ultraglide in Black,” a collection of classic soul and R&B covers that set them apart as savvy interpreters — a skill they employ once again with the recently released “Party Store,” an album of vintage Detroit techno tracks from the likes of Juan Atkins and Carl Craig that casts the primitive, propulsive genre in a new light.

amNY got the dirt from Collins, now of Brooklyn, about the new album:

“Party Store” has been described as a sequel of sorts to “Ultraglide in Black.” How do they differ?
The major difference … is that “Ultraglide” was planned and “Party Store” was not. “Ultraglide” was an attempt to show that those were valid rock songs, that it didn’t matter what the source was — anything can be made a rock song. We had set out to prove something. “Party Store” was actually an experiment to see if those songs could be done in a different context. “Ultraglide” was a statement, whereas “Party Store” was a question.

What was it like being in a Detroit band around 2000-’02?
We were all kind of nonplussed about it, really. We were rolling along, doing our thing, and suddenly the whole town is crawling with record execs. And there’s all these people doing showcases.

Did you guys do a showcase?
The Dirtbombs did one for Sire. We were getting interest from Tommy Boy, of all things. It was just chaos. And then they all went away after a couple years. They were all gone. And we kept going. What appeared to happen to us is that we went on tour … and when we left, the place was still chaos, and when we came back, everything was cool again.

What happened?
It was back to normal. It was like, “What happened?” “Oh, all the record people got bored and split — they couldn’t find another White Stripes.”

If you go: The Dirtbombs are performing on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Bell House, 149 Seventh St., Brooklyn, 718-643-6510. $20.

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