Today I am taking a moment to mention that I have lost a friend, and Metro Detroit’s culture of music and art has lost a part of its “Rock and Roll” soul with the passing of David Lee Cocagne.
David was a friend, neighbor, and gifted musician. As Detroit musicians such as David, and Detroit photographers such as myself often do, we traded professional talents so we could both benefit from the craftsmanship and experience of another artist’s ability. David and his band of badasses, The Motor City Troubadours, would jam live at my studio shows at Octane Photographic Studio. In turn I would offer my photography services for album and show artwork for the band. The trade deal worked out perfectly. Having the Troubadours jammin’ live at our shows made Octane Photographic Studio seem classy and cool to say the least.
Back in 2004, my business partner at the time Jeffrey Matlock and I planned a giant studio party to promote the opening of Octane Photographic Studio. David and his band, The Motor City Troubadours, with their amazing style of unplugged World Fusion with acoustic guitars, drums, and bass agreed to play a long live set at the studio during the opening party. As the bash got swingin’ and over 300 guests took in the music, art, chow and booze, the unthinkable happened: A circuit blew and OUT WENT THE LIGHTS! The entire studio was blanketed in pure darkness and ALMOST pure panic … (Octane Photographic is the city of Ferndale’s official bomb shelter, by the way, so there are no windows.)
Reminiscent of the last moments on the Titanic, the band never missed a beat. They continued jamming unplugged and the lighters flickered on and the people there did not panic and the music filled the dimly lit studio until Jeff and I (in a sheer panic despite the music) found the breaker box and flipped the switch. It was a night to remember — and what a mess to clean up the next day!
David Lee Cocagne will be surely missed by the Metro Detroit music and art community; he was a undoubtedly an influence on the young and restless to become the new Detroit rockers.
Below are some of my favorite snaps of David, the band, and his longtime guitar partner, Michael Blask.