September 2, 2006

Michigan's Musical Connection: Michael "Cub" Koda

Welcome to the Labor Day edition of Michigan's Musical Connection. This installment spotlights a guitarist who may be categorized as one the most famous "unknown" musicians of the 70's and 80's.

His name is Michael "Cub" Koda.

I had the chance to meet Cub Koda when I worked in the music business in Detroit. I worked for an independent music distributor, Ami Distributors, and we often handled logistics and promotion for small indie labels. When Cub Koda released his album, Cub Koda and The Points on the Baron record label, we sold it to local area record stores.

My meeting with Koda was a brief encounter and occurred on a day when he came to the warehouse to autograph promotional copies of his album for radio station promotions. He was in the office when I was asked to bring cartons of the LP from the warehouse. I was introduced to him by the owner of the company, we shook hands, and he thanked me for helping to sell him album.

I still have a promo copy of his album in my vinyl collection.

Here's some bio information about Cub Koda.

Allmusic -
Best known as the leader of Brownsville Station and composer of their hit, "Smokin' in the Boys Room," Cub Koda proved that his roots went far deeper, both before the band's formation, during its days in the sun, and long after its demise. His high-school band, the Del-Tinos, was dipping into blues and rockabilly as far back as 1963 -- not only pre-Butterfield, but pre-Beatles. Similarly, he recorded legendary home tapes during his off-hours from Brownsville, before the rockabilly revival had uttered its first hiccup, and later teamed with Hound Dog Taylor's former rhythm section, the Houserockers, to play the blues in the '80s. Along the way he cranked out a monthly column ("The Vinyl Junkie") and recorded a series of albums that kept roots music of all kinds alive without ever treating it like a museum piece. (more about Cub Koda here...)

On Tune Up, there is an interview with Cub Koda-
Cub Koda's career has covered the entire span of American roots music. Throughout Cub's recording career you can hear hints of blues, rock & roll,
rock-a-billy, jazz, folk, and another category that I'll just call Cub music. This all done with the clockwork precision of the seasoned pro that he is,
tossed in with Cub's sense of fun and adventure.

For those unaware of Mr. Koda's past accomplishments, please allow me to fill you in on some of the highlights. Cub was the lead guitarist, singer, & main songwriter of the legendary rock band Brownsville Station. They were were and are one of the most important bands to ever come out of Michigan. They were together from 1969 to 1979, and during that time they scored several international and national hits which include "Smokin' In The Boys Room", "Martian Boogie", "Lady Put The Light On Me"," Kings Of The Party", and "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah". "Smokin In The Boys Room" (which was penned by
Cub and Michael Lutz the bassist for Brownsville Station) went on to sell 2 1/2 million copies and was also a big hit for Motley Crue in the mid-eighties.

Lastly, Wikipedia has this info about Cub Koda -
Michael "Cub" Koda (born October 1, 1948, died July 1, 2000) was an American singer, songwriter, musician and music critic.

A native of Manchester, Michigan, Koda founded seminal 1970s rock band Brownsville Station and wrote many hit songs, including "Smokin' in the Boys' Room." While continuing to record and tour all his life, he also had a long career as a music writer. He co-wrote and edited the All Music Guide to the Blues (ISBN 0-87930-736-6) and Blues for Dummies (ISBN 0-7645-5080-2) and put together the CD of blues classics accompanying the latter title, personally selecting the exact version of each song that appeared on it. A complete discography and bibliography is available on the Official Cub Koda Homepage

Update: Bonus coverage on Cub Koda
Here's a little tidbit that you may enjoy via You Tube.



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