After the Heroin, the Singing

November 5, 2014 9:27 PM

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After the Heroin, the Singing

Three weeks ago, I drove to a sagging brick Victorian in midtown Detroit to watch the three-piece post-folk band The Hand in the Ocean play a house show with four other acts. Upon arriving, I was ushered through a courtyard splashed with orange torchlight where a cream pullet ran free and enclaves of Pabst-sipping hipsters gabbled and puffed Native American Spirits. Inside, I slapped the requisite fives and settled in to listen to a young banjo-wielding enchantress named Van Lente sing the last of her set. Posted in front of the stairwell, I felt a hand on the back of my calf and turned in time to see a placid, mustached twenty-something flick away the mosquito he had just picked off of me. I smiled, said thank you and thought little more of it until, half an hour later, my blood's preservationist ambled up to the makeshift stage and performed magic with a 3/4 guitar and a whispery, ghost-riddled voice. His name was Mike Flores and in between songs he murmured delightfully obscure Simpson references and recounted clipped stories of his stint in jail--the same jail, he explained, where rapper Tupac Shakur was ostensibly violated with a broomstick. In total, he looked up all of two times throughout his set, and the shame that seemed to hold his eyes to the floor was both unsettling and captivating. So captivating that, after his set, I recruited the services of the burgeoning filmmaker Jeremy Dulac and invited Flores back to Detroit to shoot a session and interview for Fogged Clarity. He agreed and two weeks later we were sitting across from each other at the Union Street Saloon on Woodward Avenue.

Flores had taken the bus from Saginaw with only a guitar (sans case), a backpack and an avocado--which he produced and rested above his flatware in the midst of our conversation. We got on easily. Flores is good-humored and mellow, and he was extremely candid in sharing his story with me. Shortly af...

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