Grande M.C. Dave Miller Interview – Tom Wright Benefit April 30

Originally from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania David Kermit Miller moved to Birmingham Michigan with his parents c.1965. By 1967 having been turned on to the new Grande Ballroom by a high school buddy, young Dave would meet promoter Russ Gibb and become one of his “Handbill Army”.  In exchange for distributing Grande promotional materials at schools, head shops and hangouts on his home turf, he was given free admission to all events at the ballroom.  By the fall of 1967 now a certified regular, Dave was offered the chance to live audition for the announcer spot as outgoing M.C. Rick “Big Rick” Patrny had been drafted.  Dave passed the trial and rarely missed a show thereafter.

In March 1968 Dave would host and introduce a promising act from England called The Who. Their road manager was a young man from Birmingham, Alabama named Tom Wright.  I had interviewed Dave previously for my Grande Ballroom book project, but reconnected with him recently to talk about this Grande connection and Dave’s appearance at the benefit for Tom Wright on April 30 at the Diesel Lounge in Chesterfield Township.  The former Grande Manager and renowned rock photographer has been recuperating from a pair of recent strokes. Detroit’s Music community is coming together for this event at the behest of empresario, promoter and educator Russ Gibb – Leo Early



Dave honoring Russ Gibb at the Grande 40th Concert – Royal Oak Music Theater

Russ Gibb & Tom Wright 2006

Russ Gibb & Tom Wright 2006 – Grande 40th Concert


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Grande Photo and Film Tour – 2008

Grande Photo and Film Tour

With permission from the CHMB Church, FOG members coordinated a photo tour of the Grande in the month of October 2008. Since our last inspection in April 2008,  zero positive effort has been expended on the building. The weather continues to take a devastating toll on the structure and scrappers and souvenir hunters continue to walk off with parts of the building. I still hold hope that the Church will sign off on the Historic Nomination regardless of their future plans.

Joining our group for this trip were filmmaker Tony D’Annunzio whose film on the Grande “Louder than Love” is fast coming together and New Yorker Rhona Bitner a photographer who is undertaking an ambitious project of photographing iconic stages from all across America. We also were privileged to have with us the legendary rock photographer Tom Weschler. Tom brought his original vintage Nikon that he used to take his classic photos of Cream and the Who from his special vantage point on the dance floor of the Grande. This trio’s interest in documenting the building only serves to further underscore its significance.

Tom, Rhona and Tony (Photo courtesy Tom W.)


Tom Gaff, Leo and Tony (Photo courtesy Tom W.)
Tom G., Tom W. and Leo (Photo courtesy Tony D’annunzio).

(Originally posted November 2008)

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Your VIP package Includes:

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The Grande Chatroom – Leo Early wsg Russ Gibb

Tuesday March 8 – 7:30 P.M. Eastern join webmaster and author Leo Early in the Grande Chatroom with his special guest Russ Gibb, noted promoter and operator of the famed Grande Ballroom. The chat topic will be the current benefit efforts for Tom Wright former Grande manager, Rock photographer, industry insider and raconteur.  Russ and Tom were “the engine and drive train” that made the Grande such a great mid-western success story.  Please join us for a rare opportunity to chat, in real time, with this special personality.


Wright and Gibb – Grande 40th Concert – Royal Oak 2006

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Grande Aerial Video

49 Years ago on October 7, 1966 the Grande Ballroom re-opened as a rock venue.

In tribute to this historic building, we present an excerpt of the aerial survey video commissioned by the Friends of the Grande in August 2014. Perhaps fittingly, only silence serves as its underscore. The full 20 minute HD flight video will be released at a later date. Leo Early



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Friends of the Grande T-shirts



A  5.3 ounce “Ultra Cotton” T-shirt emblazoned with the Friends of The Grande logo. This is the original logo and color palette as created by FOG charter member and legendary Grande artist Gary Grimshaw in 2005 . The lettering has been inset in a color correct oval that makes it really “pop” on a dark background.

Friends of the Grande T-Shirt

fog_blkThe current series of this shirt is a men’s cut and is available in black only. It is a high quality multi-color ink on cotton print.

Shipping to the lower 48 is included. Allow 2-3 weeks for processing.

Please use the comment form on this page if you have any special requests or problems ordering.

Proceeds will cover fulfillment, underwrite our web hosting, photo licensing for the book and benefit the Estate of Gary Grimshaw.

(Shirts are temporarily unavailable – Check back soon for updates)

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Gary Grimshaw Exhibit – Detroit Historical Museum 10-30-14

Thursday October 30th the Detroit Historical Museum will launch a magnificent year long exhibit of Gary Grimshaw’s work.   10668944_869688049707880_6728739579358873800_oI will be present representing the Friends of the Grande and talking about my Grande book to be released in 2015.  F.O.G T-shirts Event posters will be available for sale.  Get there early as it will be packed !

Friends of the Grande Shirt (Grimshaw)

Friends of the Grande Shirt (Grimshaw)


Leo Early


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Grande Site recovery !!!

elevations.jpg Wow!   Our site is back online after several weeks of concerted effort to recover the hacked content. We are still working to revise and tune the site with some really cool new stuff. Please stay tuned as we announce some great new projects coming this fall. Cheers, Leo Early Webmaster

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FOG T-shirts! I have worked with Laura Grimshaw and family to arrive at an appropriate version of Gary Grimshaw’s original FOG Letterhead logo for use on apparel. It now appears as our new Facebook group header and shirts can be ordered here.  Dependent upon interest, other shirt types may be forthcoming. – Leo Early

Fog T-shirts at the Grande Store

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“A Night of Grande Love” March 22

“A Night of Grande Love” at NEW YORK NEW YORK INSIDE THE PREMIERE CENTER ON 23 MILE IN CHESTERFIELD. Hosted By 94.7 WCSX, Doug Podell & John Sinclair! Showing Tony D’Annunzio’s award winning film “Louder Then Love – The Grande Ballroom Story” and Live performances by Gary Quackenbush from SRC , Scott Morgan from The Rationals, and Dick Wagner and Friends from The Frost…all to Benefit Gary Grimshaw Family and Wife Laura Grimshaw…legendary artist for The Grande Ballroom Posters. The Family has insurmountable bills to pay so the Detroit & Michigan Rock community is stepping up to help. There will also be a Rock Auction of classic memorabilia some from Gary’s Personal collection. Many special guests and friends are expected to be there and play. Tickets can be purchased the night of Event. Movie and concert $15.00 Concert from 7 to end of night $10.00

  • 5:00 Announcements, introduction – Doug Podell
  • 5:30 to 7:00 Movie showing “Louder than Love”.
  • 8 to 8:30 SRC Band
  • 9 to 9:30 Scott Morgan
  • 10 to 11:00 Dick Wagner

In between bands Doug Podell will be doing short raffles, prize give a ways) etc.

House/Doors at 4:30 Donation of $15 for Movie and Concert or $10 for just concert.


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