The Detroit Breakdown
Ponderosa Stomp @ Lincoln Center Out of Doors

July 31st Lincoln Center, New York

The Detroit Breakdown

The Detroit Breakdown: Ponderosa Stomp @ Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Lincoln Center Out of Doors Presented by Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts in association with The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation

The music fanatics behind the Ponderosa Stomp have long championed the myriad sounds of the Motor City; on July 31st they partner with Lincoln Center to bring audiences The Detroit Breakdown, a two show, multi-genre tribute to the city's musical heritage taking place on the Hearst Plaza Stage by day and Damrosch Park Bandshell in the evening as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

The following artists will be bringing their multi-faceted talents to the Lincoln Center Out of Doors' "Roots of American Music" day-long program: sixties garage icons Mitch Ryder and ? and the Mysterians, iconoclastic rockers The Gories and Death, nomadic bluesman Eddie Kirkland, stirring soul singers Melvin Davis and Spyder Turner, Motown hitmakers The Velvelettes and Dennis Coffey and R&B all stars The Party Stompers.

There has long been an air of musical magic in Detroit, resulting in artists of the highest caliber springing from the city in the years following Henry Ford’s automotive revolution. As Irish, Poles, African-Americans, Italians and Latinos took their places side by side on the city's assembly lines, the co-mingling of cultural backgrounds produced an artistic renaissance of both chart-toppers and cult legends that – despite the hard times the city has recently suffered – continues to reverberate to this day.

When Motown put Detroit on the map, it was with an internationally influential sound best exemplified by pioneering girl group The Velvelettes, whose hits "Needle In A Haystack" and "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" defined the very core of swinging sixties culture. Meanwhile, the Motor City underground thrived with countless smaller labels, most notably Fortune Records, who released dazzling singles by soul men Melvin Davis and Spyder Turner, as well as blues guitarist Eddie Kirkland. While Turner and Davis would go on to score chart-topping hits with "Stand By Me" and "You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk)" respectively, Kirkland (whose career began in the early '40s alongside another Fortune artist, John Lee Hooker) became Otis Redding's bandleader, continuing to record for labels such as Stax, King, LuPine and Delmark. Meanwhile, guitar-slinging Funk Brother Dennis Coffey – soon to make history with the funk masterpiece "Scorpio" – was defining hits like the Temptations' "Cloud Nine" and scored the blaxploitation film "Black Belt Jones".

With this heady musical mixture as a launching pad, the area's garage scene exploded. In 1966 alone, Mitch Ryder's high-octane soul shouting hit the top of the charts with "Devil With a Blue Dress" and Latino rockers ? and the Mysterians barreled to number one with the enigmatic million seller "96 Tears." The widely-hailed Stooges and MC5 would soon follow in their footsteps, and in turn, the torch would again be passed. Death, formed in 1971, were a quartet of black teenagers whose hard rocking proto-punk was the inevitable outcome of the racial cross-pollination long evident in the Detroit music scene. A recent reissue garnered rave reviews in the New York Times, re-igniting the band.

The following decade birthed yet another ahead-of-its-time aggregation in The Gories. Equally inspired by the the blues, R&B and garage punk pioneers who had come before them, their deconstructionalist approach may have been too incendiary for its time, but their influence – Jack White has long named them as a prime inspiration to the White Stripes The Gories has been positively arresting on local, national and international levels.

The Detroit Breakdown showcases the spiritual continuum and musical progression that has long served as the hallmark of a true artistic metropolis. Having partnered with Lincoln Center for a successful series of shows last summer, the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation's tribute to Detroit comes at a time when the city's staggering economic challenges have reached the forefront in the media. “Detroit's various musical eras all feed from each other and continue to influence music around the world," says Stomp founder Dr. Ira “Ike” Padnos. "We felt it only right that they should be honored and celebrated by as storied an institution as Lincoln Center."

Saturday, July 31

27th Annual Roots of American Music
Ponderosa Stomp presents The Detroit Breakdown

2:00 p.m. at the Hearst Plaza/Barclays Capital Grove

  • 2:00 - 2:30 Eddie Kirkland

  • 2:30 - 4:30 Motor City Soul Revue featuring:
    • Dennis Coffey
    • Melvin Davis
    • Spyder Turner
    • The Velvelettes
  • 4:30 - 4:55 Artist Q&A

Saturday, July 31

27th Annual Roots of American Music
Ponderosa Stomp presents The Detroit Breakdown

5:00 p.m. at the Damrosch Park Bandshell

  • 5:00 - 5:45 Death
  • 6:00 - 7:00 Gories
  • 7:15 - 8:15 ? & the Mysterians
  • 8:30 - 9:30 Mitch Ryder


All Lincoln Center Out Of Doors events are free and take place on lincoln center's plazas between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 62nd Street to West 65th Street (except where noted). 

Lincoln Center Out of Doors is sponsored by Bloomberg and PepsiCo, Inc.

Take No.1 IRT to 66th Street/Lincoln Center Station) OR the A, B, C, D and No. 1 trains to 59th St/Columbus Circle.

History of the series:
Inaugurated in 1971 under director of community programming Leonard DePaur, Out of Doors began as a small festival of street theater, in collaboration with Everyman Theater (co-founded by actress Geraldine Fitzgerald.)  Former Lincoln Center President John Mazzola’s vision was “to bring the community to Lincoln Center and bring Lincoln Center to the community.”  Gradually expanding to include music and dance performances, the re-christened Lincoln Center Out of Doors has grown into one of the largest free performance festivals in the U.S.  over its 40-year history, Out of Doors has commissioned some 90 works from composers and choreographers and presented hundreds of major dance companies, renowned world-music artists, and legendary jazz, folk, gospel, blues and rock musicians, many under the auspices of its popular “Roots of American Music” mini-festival, and poets and storytellers as part of the annual “La Casita.”  It has highlighted the rich cultural diversity of New York City with performances by established ensembles and up-and-coming groups and has partnered with dozens of community and cultural organizations.

For more information:
Visit for complete schedule or call 212-875-5766 to request a brochure.

New York Times — The Week Ahead, July 25-31