Detroit’s favorite ex-patriate son, Jack White, has added a full-scale vinyl press facility to his Third Man Records operation on Canfield Street in the Cass Corridor district of Detroit. My good friend Leo and I were on hand to check out the grand opening of the presses on 25 February 2017. Just a couple of old-school music mavens looking to make the scene.
We were there specifically to scoop up some of the special editions they were pumping out to kick off the new operation. But the huge line was going nowhere and the tours were sold out. We were ready to pack it in when we heard someone say, “If you’re here to buy the vinyl, go to the ‘blue door.'” We quickly scooted around to the side of building and got right in. All hail the Blue Door!
I scored up a candy-red copy of the White Stripes first record (a coarser brand of punk blues than their later stuff), a Third Man-yellow pressing of Kick Out the Jams (some classic MC5 Detroit noise) and a royal-violet reissue of The Johnson Spiritual Singers (some little kids from the late 60s pounding out gut-bucket gospel).They also had a Stooges reissue (which sold out), Destroy All Monsters, a Carl Craig thing, and De Stijl (the second White Stripes record).
The Detroit outpost of the Nashville-based Third Man is an impressive operation across the board. The boutique is selling all kinds of stuff, from records by Third Man artists to starter guitars for kids, as well as books, Third Man-yellow and black clothing, guitar picks, coasters, and a vast array of other cool swag and nifty gadgets. Now Jack’s taking a bold (but logical) step and making Detroit his manufacturing arm for the label.
Along with the Shinola retail and manufacturing facility next door, Canfield is becoming a destination for distinctive and eclectic shopping. It’s this kind of grass-roots commitment to boutique manufacturing and retail that might actually make the nascent revitalization in the City stick this time. Check it out!