These Are The Most Popular Local Bands From Detroit That Rocked The Stage In The ’80s
Music is something that speaks to all of humanity. When it comes to specific genres, each decade since the 1920s had its own set of famous bands that started. One of the most popular decades as that of the 1980s. So many bands got their start at the time and not many were able to weather the storm.
One of the cities that contributed most to the 1980s music scene was Detroit, Michigan. Here is a list of bands that got their start in the 1980s, some of which are active today:
1. The Romantics
Usually labeled as a rock band, they are often associated with genres like power pop and new wave. While they got their start at the end of the ’70s, it wasn’t until the 80’s that their sound became widely popular.
A mix of Detroit’s MC5, the Stooges, American garage rock, Motown funk, and British Invasion rockers, they gained fans from the United States in Canada to the Netherlands, Germany, parts of Asia, Australia, Europe and much of Hispanic America.
The band’s current members are Wally Palmar (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica), Mike Skill (bass guitar, guitar, vocals), Rich Cole (bass guitar, vocals), and Brad Elvis (drums, percussion).
2. Negative Approach
When it comes to hardcore punk rock, Negative Approach is one of the only bands in the genre to still play regularly today. Often considered one of the pioneers of hardcore punk, they weren’t really known past Detroit during their first few years of activity.
They are considered the forefathers of Detroit’s hardcore punk scene and many artists in the city’s underground rock space aspire to be on the same level as Negative Approach.
Today’s tours haven’t been more than sporadic, but they do still tour. Current members consist of John Brannon (vocals), Harold Richardson (guitar), Ron Sakowski (bass), and John Lehl (drums).
3. Rhythm Corps
Another group of Detroit natives, Rhythm Corps was only active from 1981 when they got their start up to 1991. First known as Rhythm Method, the band actually played shows with Billy Idol and The Romantics. Four years after they formed, they released an independent EP released as Espirit De Corps. It came with a local favorite called “Vanishes.”
Their second album was considered their debut EP, known as Common Ground, with Epic Records. The single of the same name, Common Ground, was Number 9 on the rock charts, while the album in itself only got to #104 on the Billboard 200.
Classified as post-punk, the band members played together for only three years starting in 1980. During that time, they release a 7” under Touch and Go Special forces, the only one of T&G’s record to hold the “Special Forces” label. Frontwoman Larissa Stolarchuk played guitar for Laughing Hyenas later on, with her then-boyfriend John Brannon as a singer.
Stolarchuk later died on October 9, 2006.
The band consisted of Larissa Stolarchuk (singer), Dave Rice (guitar), Charles McEvoy (keys, reeds), Mike Smith (drums), Frank Callis (bass), Scott Schuer (guitar) and Kory Clarke (drums).
Formed in 1980 by Juan Atkins and Richard Davis, they convinced John Housely joined after the group got its name. They are classified electronica and techno but were heavily influenced Midwestern funk by artists like George Clinton, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and Kraftwerk.
The name for the band was coined by Atkins, who had a thing for putting random words together that sounded a little futuristic.
Atkins, Davis, and Housely were the only members of the band while it was active.
Formed by members of the DeBarge family, the group began making music together in 1979. Reminiscent of the Jackson family, the R&B group’s sound was a mix of R&B, soul, funk, and pop.
They released a total of six studio albums together, the last being released in 1985. Two members were offered their own contracts, taking two members away from the group. Controversy and the waning interest of the general public forced the band to disperse in 1989.
Past members included DeBarge members Marty, Randy, James (deceased), Chico, El, and Bunny.
7. Figures on a Beach
Influenced by new wave, techno, and pop, the band formed after the dissolving of Razor 1922, the members upon forming in 1981 were Anthony Kaczynski (vocals), John “Rik” Rolski (guitar), Christopher Ewen (keyboard), Perry Tell (bass), and Michael Smith (drums).
They played together until 1991, but their last album released was Figures on a Beach with Sire Records in 1989.
If any of the bands and what they sound like catch your interest, head over to a site where you can watch their music videos or listen to their music.