Worldwide Competition Local Musicians the Chance to Open for Rock Superstars in London

Hard Rock Cafe Detroit is giving local bands the opportunity to perform at London’s Hyde Park for Hard Rock Calling 2011, one of the world’s most iconic music festivals.  On March 11, 2011, Hard Rock Cafe Detroit will host a local round of Hard Rock’s Battle of the Bands, where area artists will compete live and be evaluated by a panel of local celebs and area music professionals.

 Judges for the battle include Melody Baetens, musician, entertainment writer for The Detroit News and co-owner of Small’s restaurant, Aimee Spencer, local event coordinator, music producer and owner of Spencer Ink and others to be announced.

A panel of acclaimed industry experts, including Little Steven Van Zandt of the legendary E Street Band, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, Live Nation Vice President of Promotions Toby Leighton-Pope, Hard Rock International Chief Marketing Officer John Galloway and Absolute Radio Director of Marketing Clare Baker, will help narrow down the choices from across the globe.  The top bands will then be posted on, and their fate put in the hands of rock fans worldwide who will vote on their favorites.

Four finalists will be flown to London and given a spot on the bill at Hard Rock Calling 2011 in London’s Hyde Park. The band that receives the most votes will take the Main Stage at Hard Rock Calling, with the runners-up rockin’ out on the Second Stage.

With thousands of fans and top headliners, including Bon Jovi, Hard Rock Calling 2011 is the chance of a lifetime for emerging artists to gain exposure and showcase their talent in front of rock royalty.

Registration for round one of the competition runs now through Feb. 23

Email for more information.

About Hard Rock Calling 2011

Hard Rock Calling, the three-day musical celebration being held on from Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26, with more than a dozen top bands performing each day on two stages, has established itself as one of the most important London events on the UK musical calendar over the last five years.  Past acts have included Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, The Who, Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, The Killers and The Police, who created what is now identified as the “must see” concert event on the UK festival circuit. Additional artists for the 2011 line-up will be announced leading up to the event and tickets for the festival are available at

The New Detroit: From Robot Clothes To Luxe Jeans
Sonari Glinton

Detroit is struggling to revive its once-dominant auto industry. But if one businessman has his way, the Motor City could soon be known for a different kind of sleek line — fashionable blue jeans, made with the same technology used to clothe robots.

This tale of transformation begins with Mark D'Andreta, a tailor's son who runs a company that for years has fed off the auto industry. TD Industrial Coverings makes protective "clothing" for the robots that are used to make cars.

Apparently robots, like humans, have delicate parts. The machines need to keep the oil, dust and grime away in order to function properly.

Until recently, 95 percent of D'Andreta's robot-clothing business was in the automotive arena. But then the car business crashed and he had to slash his workforce by 100 people, to just 30.

"It almost took us out completely," D'Andreta says. "So, we made the decision that we needed to reach out to take what we do really well and map it outside of automotive."

The company's strength is that it can make patterns and prototypes for garments very quickly. And D'Andreta has a love for fashion — his father, who started the company more than 25 years ago, had been the chief tailor at a department store in Detroit. So, D'Andreta began thinking about making clothes for people, too.

A Partner From 'Project Runway'

D'Andreta needed a partner to help translate robot fashion into fashion for people. So, he turned to Joe Faris, a former contestant on Project Runway, the cable TV fashion design competition.

A robot decked out in its finest attire. The clothing helps protect robots' delicate parts from messy situations in factories.

A robot decked out in its finest attire. The clothing helps protect robots' delicate parts from messy situations in factories.

Faris was looking for a place in his hometown of Detroit to make the clothes he loves — blue jeans. So, he and D'Andreta joined forces and established Motor City Denim Co.

"The jean captures what Detroit is," Faris says. "We can dress up the jean all we want, but there is a production element of it. And that's where I felt like we could do this here."

At the factory where TD Industrial Coverings makes robot clothes, workers are making stiff, dark blue dress jeans inspired by the Motor City. The jeans will go on sale in March for $150 a pair at retail stores.

A New Fashion Capital?

Faris says Detroit has the design, engineers and production expertise to make it a fashion capital.

D'Andreta says he's hoping to attract other designers with ideas. He hopes he can provide them with a space and the facilities to make all sorts of garments on large and small scales.

He says he'll still make robot clothes. But D'Andreta hopes people fashion will account for 50 percent of TD Industrial Coverings' business in five years. That way, if the auto industry falls again, he'll have another leg to stand on.

NFL Films Presents Loyola High School of Detroit from Dan Lawton on Vimeo.
  A Match Made in Junk-Food Heaven; McClure's Pickles and Better Made's Potato Chips

Nathan Skid
Crain's Detroit

Sometimes, a seemingly meaningless post on Twitter can be more significant than the author ever intended.

That is exactly what happened when Erin Rose, founder of Positive Detroit, tweeted that all she wanted was a jar of McClure's Pickles and a bag of Better Made potato chips. Heck, she said, they should just make McClure's-flavored Better Made potato chips.
As Joe McClure, co-founder of Troy-based McClure's Pickles put it, 'That piqued the interest of Better Made who contacted me about creating a line of McClure's flavored potato chips'.

The two companies have been meeting regularly over the last month to create the right spice mix and have even made several batches of prototype chips. (I tried the garlic-dill flavored chips and they were delicious.)

"The guys from Better Made came here and tried our pickles and chatted. They told me that this is the same way Sam Cipriano (founder of Better Made) started."

There is no set timetable as to when the chips will hit stores, if they ever do, but Mark Winkelman, president of Better Made, said he is excited about the possibility.

As if creating its own line of potato chips isn't cool enough, McClure's has also found a niche customer base for its line of pickle brine — in an unlikely place as part of a drinking trend that started about a year ago.

Joe McClure says the Pickelback, a chaser of pickle brine taken after a shot of Irish whiskey, started when a girl at a bar in Brooklyn asked for a shot of whiskey and some pickle juice. McClure said the bar had McClure's and served it.

But The New York Post says the shot was created by a bartender at the The Bushwick Club in Brooklyn.

According to legend, McClure's was using the basement of the bar as a storage area for its pickles and one of the bartenders chased a shot of whiskey with the pickle brine.

Whatever the case, McClure said he was contacted by a representative from Jameson Irish Whiskey who asked him to send some of the pickle brine to Ireland so its board of directors could try it.

"We sent them a case and got word back that they liked it. So we sent more. I don't know if they are just drinking it or what," McClure said.

Miami-based liquor distributor Southern Wine and Spirits bought 1,000 jars of McClure's pickle brine to test the Pickelback at Penn State.

Revenue has more than doubled for the company over the last year. In 2009, it generated revenue of about $500,000. Last year, it hit $1.1 million. McClure is expecting revenue to hit $1.75 in 2011.

"We have increased production by 30 percent from the end of summer," he said. "We were making between 60 and 70 cases of pickles a week, now we are making 100. That's like… 1,200-1,500 jars a day."