October 30th, 2014

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One day I was sitting in my music room in the basement and got the idea to write ten songs and instead of using horns and strings, I decided to write their parts out for a Detroit Guitar Band using distortion pedals to make each guitar sound more metallic like a horn or sax. I wrote the 10 songs and recorded them on my Sony Sound on Sound two track tape recorder. And then by using overdubs I put guitar leads and rhythms on the tape and added guitar parts playing horn lines and the Detroit Guitar Band was born. I decided to use quartile harmony (4ths and 5ths) on “Scorpio”. I had nine guitars in horn- like sections playing the lead in “Scorpio”.
I explained my Detroit Guitar Band idea to my partner producer Mike Theodore and played him my tape. He loved the idea and got us the funding from Sussex president Clarence Avant and we were off and running. I then wrote out the arrangements and used Ray Monette, Joe Podorsic and me to play the horn- like parts in three sections. The Funk Brothers and I played the rhythm arrangements. I added a breakdown during the session and let the percussion and Bob Babbitt do their thing.
Mike Theodore and I first met on recording sessions at Tera Shirma Studios. We then saw each other at Golden World Studios in Detroit. Mike was there trying to find some work. I had been playing as a session guitarist for Ed Wingate, the owner of the studio and Ric Tic Records. I played with J.J Barnes, Edwin Starr, and The Reflections at Golden World. Mike saw me conducting my first string date – a song by the Holidays called I’ll Love You Forever. The rhythm arrangements were written by Motown Funk Brother Joe Hunter. Mike had just gotten a request from producer Don Mancha to do a session on Jack Montgomery for a song called “Dearly Beloved”. Mike knew how to write rhythm and horns but not strings. He saw me doing my first string date and asked me to join him on this project which came out on Scepter Records. I agreed and we formed a partnership. Later we formed a production company called Theo-Coff Productions. We also produced the first album “Cold Fact” on Rodriquez. We also have songs on the second CD “Coming from Reality” and are featured in the academy award winning film “Searching for Sugaman”. We are still friends today and are looking forward to doing a new projects together. Does anyone else have stories about working with Theocoff or at Tera Shirma?


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Dennis Coffey