Downtown event explores Windsor’s punk rock history

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The musicians weren’t always great, but that’s what made the music so good.

The boisterous, bonkers heyday of the city’s early punk scene will be celebrated Sunday with The Secret History of Windsor Punk, an “oral history panel” exploring the underground culture that flourished from roughly 1979 to 1984.

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It was a wild era of freedom and exploration, when everyone was having a good time, but not everyone could sing.

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“We were dedicated to making our own fun,” said event moderator Martin Deck, perhaps better known in some circles as MC Zonk.

“We weren’t interested in seeing bands in bars playing covers of songs. Especially not what was on the radio. We valued originality in music. And we kind of valued the originality over what people might call the quality. We liked if people would get up and sing their own songs. We liked good songs better than bad ones, but just an original song was better than the same old covers over and over again.”

Martin Deck
Martin Deck is moderating an “oral history panel” called The Secret History of Punk Rock on Sunday at Meteor Lounge in Windsor. He is shown on Friday, January 26, 2024 with promotional material for the event. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

The event is part of a launch party for the Blu-ray disc of the documentary Dope, Hookers and Pavement: The Real and Imagined History of Detroit Hardcore, by Windsor filmmaker Otto Buj.

The free event in Meteor Lounge, at 138 University Ave. W., will include the first public screening of the film.

Copies of the film will also be available for sale. The package, which includes Blu-ray and DVD formats with video extras, a hardboard folder, and a 20-page full-colour book, goes for $45.

Despite the title, the film does explore the importance of the Windsor scene during that era. In particular, there was the dingy, grimy dive bar that was Coronation Tavern on Riverside Drive West.

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Some argue the legendary bar, also infamous for having its name incorrectly painted as “Cornation Tavens” along the length of the building, was the birthplace of Detroit hardcore. The bar closed in 1984 and its remains were knocked down after an arson that left only the brick shell standing in 1987.

The screening begins at 5 p.m., followed by the panel discussion at 7 p.m.

The discussion will feature Buj, Kevin Shannon of the Dry Heaves, Dale D’Amore of the Spy’s, Mike Fortier of Tumurs, Gil Gouthro of D.O.S., and Dave Hanna of the Ramrods.

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“We’re going to find out some stuff, I think, about what happened in the 70s that we don’t even know about, about the origins of some of these bands,” said Deck. “We’re not going to be dwelling on the Detroit hardcore scene, which is what the subject of the movie is. We’re going to be talking about the Windsor punk scene, hardcore and before.”

To close out the evening, Trevor Malcolm will perform D.O.S. Overture, his piano treatment of the local band’s biggest hits.

In case all of that isn’t enough to get you there — and to avoid conflicting with the other major event that day — Deck said all the TVs at Meteor will be tuned into the Detroit Lions game.

For more details about Dope, Hookers and Pavement: The Real and Imagined History of Detroit Hardcore, go to

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