Music Features

The Ultimate Eddy: A Primer to Mr. Detroit

The cover of Detroit’s 1982 release Immortal God’s featuring the members of Sun City Girls.
The cover of Detroit’s 1982 release Immortal God’s featuring the members of Sun City Girls. Eddy Detroit

You won’t bump into “Your Tired Old Bones” on FM radio or see the video for “Trailer Trash Girl” on cable TV, but you can fill your ears and eyes with Eddy Detroit by way of the singer/songwriter’s YouTube channel, The Real Eddy Detroit. It’s jammed with out-of-print album tracks, kinda-hit singles, and full-length live concerts. Get started with this primer to all that’s Eddy Detroit.

Black Crow Gazebo: Everything old is new again on Eddy’s return to vinyl. This 2020 collection revisits themes of satanism, voodoo, and girlfriends with multiple personalities. All of side two is given over to “Toe Sucker Beach,” a 24-minute paean to Detroit’s life, recited over a synth backdrop by Doug Clark of the Feederz and vocals by Sun City Girls’ Alan Bishop.

“Tacky Town”: One among a handful of Detroit’s signature songs, this late-'80 ditty is all about what musician Pete Petrisko calls “the gritty surrealism of downtown Phoenix at that time.” According to Petrisko, no list of songs about Phoenix is complete if it doesn’t include “Tacky Town,” and he covered the tune with his band, RPM Orchestra, for the 2018 compilation When In AZ Volume 2.

Immortal God’s: Detroit’s 1982 long-player was the first release on his Pan Records label and is considered by fans to be the definitive example of the singer/percussionist’s mélange of African rhythm, voodoo themes, and film noir musical vision. With backing by members of Sun City Girls and Victory Acres and a guest spot from James Verlaine of Paris 1942, the LP is known for its notorious cover image of Detroit astride a horse and holding his own head in his outstretched hand. “Talkin’ to My Cat” and “I am PaZuzu,” two of his best-known musical screeds, are included here.

Eddy Detroit Live in Paris: This 90-minute video concert, recorded in 2016, is classically DIY in its cozy, trio-of-guys-jamming vibe. Detroit — in a pith helmet and a particularly good humor — offers a sweet version of his “Seed of the Oyster,” a folky take on fan-favorite “Mephisto Cigars,” and loads of patter about himself and his music. High points include “Bittersweet Critter,” a singalong about how each of us is a little evil, deep down inside.

“Skull Valley”: This country-western homage to Old West good ol’ days features a slick, double-tracked Detroit vocal and a lyric inspired by Brass Checks and Red Lights, Detroit’s fave picture book about 19th-century Frontierland hookers.

“Beelzeebub”: Detroit’s high-energy dance-punk track is a pogo-inducing earworm straight from his grit-and-glam Immortal God’s era. Think Killer Pussy by way of the Motels’ Martha Davis.
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela