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'stanley The Mad Hatter' Passed Away


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He can now introduce the rock elite at the Pearly Gates when they take that final bow R.I.P.




A particularly colorful part of the funky tapestry that was Detroit's rock scene of the 1960s is now gone, with the death Sunday of Stanley the Mad Hatter, longtime Detroit rock emcee and gadfly.


Stanley — his real name was Stanley Zillifro — died at home in Ypsilanti, of complications from prostate cancer. He was 62.


The nickname derived from the black top hat Stanley the Mad Hatter always wore while introducing bands on the stages of downtown Detroit rock emporiums including the Cinderella Ballroom and the Eastown Theater during the rock glory days of the late '60s and early '70s. (He never stopped wearing the top hat, swapping it occasionally for a ball cap.)His voice can be heard on the J. Geils Band live album "Full House," as he introduced the group onstage at their infamous, riotous Cinderella Ballroom show. He also occasionally subbed for regular emcee Dave Miller at the Grande Ballroom.


In the 1970s, Zillifro was the onstage host and all-round muscle for the Second Chance/Nectarine Ballroom nightclub in Ann Arbor (now the Necto). Owner John Carver says Zillifro might have looked like a laid-back hippie, but as a former wrestler, he could enforce the backstage guest list physically, if necessary.


"To me, he was the straw that stirred the drink in southeastern rock and roll world," Carver said. "He kind of connected things. He was ubiquitous and high profile. And he was perfect, the goods were there. He had lived the life, he loved the musicians, they loved him. He was strong, but a kind person. When anyone passed away in Detroit in the music world, he was devastated."


Zillifro was born June 9, 1948, in Hamtramck, and although he moved to Ann Arbor in the 1970s, he loved to drive to his old stomping grounds with friends, and show them where he went to school and where he rode his bike and delivered the newspaper.


He was a self-proclaimed "ordained minister of rock 'n' roll," and presided over biker weddings, but was also a devout Catholic, attending Mass Sundays at the Eastern Michigan University student chapel.


Although Zillifro had been diagnosed with prostate cancer several months ago, he preferred not to talk about it with friends.


"He wouldn't tolerate me whining about anything, he would say, 'I woke up, so it's a good day today,'" said his friend Kim "Retro Kimmer" Maki. "He lived every minute trying to cram in everything he could."


Maki says she is grateful that Zillifro died as he wished, at home, in a small room in Ypsilanti crammed with a lifetime of rock memorabilia, and on his own terms.


"He even had his (trademark) vest on," Maki said. "The vest went with him to the hospital. He was like an Old West character like Wild Bill Hickok. He died with his boots on."


Zillifro is survived by his parents in Florida and a brother. His close friends, the artist Carl Lundgren and his wife, Michele, are planning a memorial service for him.


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110105/ENT04/101050346/Emcee-‘Stanley-the-Mad-Hatter’-set-stage-for-rock-greats#ixzz1ARku7f2X



Edited by EdwardGlen
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