DETROIT (CelebrityAccess) Russ Gibb, 87, longtime DJ and promoter who helped launch the career of the MC5 and the Motor City music scene, died of heart failure at Garden City Hospital in his home town of Detroit April 30.
Gibb was a longtime local concert promoter and schoolteacher who opened the Grande Ballroom in Detroit in 1967 where he showcased acts like Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, MC5, and Iggy Pop & The Stooges, according to the Detroit News, which noted that Gibb took notes from Bill Graham by actually going to San Francisco in 1966 and learning from the master. The Grande ended up hosting acts like Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly and Cream.
“He was a real important, iconic person in Detroit culture in the ’60s and ’70s,” M.L. Liebler, an English professor at Wayne State University who knew him for years, told the paper. “He will probably be remembered as the guy who brought Detroit into the new music scene of its day because the Grande Ballroom was really the iconic music place in the middle of the country.”
“He had the best underground radio voice anybody ever heard,” he said. “He had a really eclectic taste.”
Gibb was also noted for his influence on local education.
“When nobody else would book us, Uncle Russ would,” Alice Cooper said in a statement. “He gave the Alice Cooper group an early footing in Detroit. Not only was he at the Grande, but he was everywhere. Everybody knew him, he was a total Detroit rocker. He was as much a part of the Detroit rock scene as the MC5 or The Stooges or Alice Cooper.”