Jack White and Alice Cooper celebrated Devil’s Night with retired baseball all-star Kirk Gibson on Wednesday night, trading stories about music and sports during an unique panel discussion in downtown Detroit to benefit Gibson’s Structure for Parkinson’s.
About 120 people, many paying $350 for the experience, crowded into the glass-roofed Birdy Space of the city’s hip Shinola Hotel to hear the 3 guys talk, followed by White’s solo acoustic performances of the White Stripes‘ “We’re Going to Associate” and “Hotel Yorba.” Among those going to were MC5/MC50 guitar player Wayne Kramer and legendary music producer Bob Ezrin, both in town for some continuing recording for Cooper’s next album, due out during 2020.
Moderated by Ann Delisi of the local PBS affiliate WDET, the 25- minute conversation varied from experiences with youth baseball and throwing away initially pitches to choices for theoretical at-bat walk-up music the probability of White and Cooper becoming play-by-play announcers. White, who co-owns the Warstic baseball bat business, likewise talked about his uncommon 1919 World Series champion ring– the only one made and provided to Cincinnati Reds manager Pat Moran after his group defeated a Chicago White Sox (aka Black Sox) group that had actually conspired to toss the series.
“( Moran) provided it to his son. His son gave it to the milkman, the milkman provided it to his son and I got it from that man,” White– who backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential project just 4 days prior throughout a rally at his old high school– said to basic laughter. “We went to the Baseball Hall of Popularity and they had their World Series rings there, and the oldest one they had was 1923, so it was quite interesting.”
For his walk-up music, White selected the White Stripes’ “Seven Country Army,” which has been a common sports anthem considering that its release, while Cooper went with “Welcome to My Headache” and Gibson– who won World Series champions with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers and managed the Arizona Diamondbacks and is currently a Tigers broadcaster– selected the White Stripes’ “Black Orchid.” Cooper and White spoke fondly about growing up discovering to play baseball in Detroit– Cooper on the city’s east side, White at an inner-city park– and White revealed that he had actually hit up Gibson for some striking pointers during mid-June, when he hosted an advantage game at an old Negro League park in the area.
” I haven’t played baseball in months,” White remembered. “I said, ‘Can we call Gibby up and see if he understands somebody who can give me tips on striking again, ’cause I’m simply gon na walk up there and start out. And Gibby’s like, ‘No, I’ll show you some things’ … I got 4 hits that day.”
Cooper and White also traded first-pitch stories, with White remembering that he brought his youth mitt with him and pitched to his tour supervisor, dressed as Santa Provision in your home plate. “It was outdoors,” White kept in mind. “He needed to reach over his Santa Claus stomach” to catch it. Cooper, meanwhile, has thrown away a number of first pitches in Detroit, always with a degree of levity.
” I informed ’em right up front, ‘I’m not gon na increase and just sort of toss the ball. I’m gon na appear like a male doing this’,” the Rock-and-roll Hall of Famer quipped. “So I informed the catcher, ‘Look, this is gon na come in 30, 40 miles per hour, so beware– this is gon na harm a little bit.’ But I put it over the left inside corner and it was a strike and I almost got an agreement that night ’cause the Tigers were not playing that well and they looked and went, ‘Y’ know, that’s a respectable pitch …'”
Cooper and Gibson, who dressed as a Polaroid camera-toting Andy Warhol for the event, likewise took part in a discussion about whether Big league baseballs have been “hotter” this season, as appears obvious by a significant boost in crowning achievement. “They state the core’s built differently and there’s less drag on the ball,” Gibson stated. “I wasn’t weak, however the way they hit ’em out now, man, something’s going on.”
On the music suggestion, Cooper shared a fascinating story about his band’s early relocate to Los Angeles from Arizona, where it formed. “The really very first time we played the Whisky A-Go-Go, we were a high school band,” he stated. “We got to L.A. and we finally got to the Whisky. The Doors were your home band, and (the marquee read) Alice Cooper and … and I went, ‘Who’s Led Zeppelin?’ And the person walked in and I stated, ‘You would be the Yardbirds, right?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘We opened for you …'”
The evening also included a quiet auction whose prizes consisted of a Shinola turntable signed by White, the opportunity to play ping-pong against Cooper and Gibson and a guitar lesson from Kramer. More informaton about Gibson’s charity can be found at www.kirkgibsonfoundation.org