Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels continue to rock and roll |

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels continue to rock and roll

Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Mitch Ryder, 73, still takes the Detroit Wheels on tour to fans across the globe. The tour will make a pit stop this weekend at the Egyptian Theatre.
Photo by Jason Engstrom

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels will perform at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St. Tickets range from $35-$45. Tickets can be purchased by visiting

At 73, Rhythm and Blues Hall of Famer and classic-rock radio staple Mitch Ryder is well in touch with his mortality.

“One day I’ll be going to work, and something will happen and I won’t make it,” said Ryder who has more than 50 years of music making under his belt.

“That’s just something that will be. We don’t get to pick and choose when we go, so when I look at the future, I just want to get everything done that I can in the time I have. That means every day becomes valuable.”

Ryder said he and his band, The Detroit Wheels, will make the most of their time playing April 13-14 at the Egyptian Theatre.

“When I look at the future, I just want to get everything done that I can in the time I have…”Mitch Ryder,Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame inductee

The singer, known for his hit renditions of “Devil with a Blue Dress On” which was a medly with “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Jenny Take a Ride” and “CC Rider” in the 1960s, said that he turbocharges the performances of the classics..

“I used to believe that the audience wants to hear the songs and hits in a certain way, but these days I’m trying to please myself as well as the audience,” he said. “So a lot of the songs are played faster than they were back in the day.”

Still, Ryder, who also tours Europe each year, doesn’t know what really keeps him going fter all of these years.

“I wish I knew,” he said with a chuckle. “I probably wouldn’t do this if I did know.”

After a pause, Ryder said, “I think when you do something your whole life that is as rewarding as this, you really hate to give it up. I can’t think of many people who do what I do that want to keep doing it as long as they can.”

Music is part of the singer’s DNA, the Michigan native said.

“It was pretty much the way we grew up in the Detroit area,” Ryder said. “There was always an inclusive and good urban-radio feel in the direction that I was headed towards. It was all there, including the training, for the taking.”

When he began writing his own songs, Ryder knew he wanted to do music long term.

“I just never dreamed it would take me into my autumn years,” he said. “But it did and I’m grateful.”

Ryder continues to write new songs and record new albums, most of which are released exclusively in Europe, where he has a large following, he said.

“Over there I have free reign of what I do, and (those songs) are released by modest-sized labels that don’t have huge distribution, but do allow me to sustain a career,” he said. “I’m very proud of the material that I have written, produced and sang overseas. While they won’t do much over here, they are important to collectors. And that shows me that I never gave up.”

Still, thanks to a career that has lasted five decades, Ryder sees some of his original fans as well as their children and grandchildren in the audience when he tours stateside.

“My wife and I are also about to have some grandkids and we’re lucky to have them come into our lives,” he said. “It really keeps you in touch with your mortality. And that pretty much puts things in perspective, the cycle-of-life, which before I didn’t really take time to took at.”

These days, the only thing that =challenges Ryder is the traveling.

“I’ve see more of the Atlanta airport than I care to,” he said. “We moved from Michigan to Georgia, where my wife’s family is. So I’m getting used to the culture down here and that’s taking a little bit of time.”

But he said that challenge is nothing compared to the reward of playing music for his fans.

“It’s also important for me to remember that I’ve spent my life making people happy,” he said. “I’m sure I’m not going to go to Hell for that.”

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