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Detroit Music History

May 1, 2019

BY Minyetta Nelson

Detroit, MI - 

Russ Gibb, the farsighted arts lover and entrepreneur who helped ignite Detroit's live rock scene, died Tuesday in Garden City after a series of medical struggles. The longtime Dearborn resident was 87.

Gibb — a larger-than-life character known to local music fans as "Uncle Russ" — transformed the Grande Ballroom into Detroit's psychedelic-rock palace in 1966, a game-changing move that launched an indelible chapter in Detroit music history. It was just one hallmark in a colorful life that included decades as a beloved video-production teacher at Dearborn High School. Gibb, who had been battling health issues the past several years, was rushed Tuesday afternoon to Garden City Hospital after suffering respiratory distress while at the Heartland rehabilitation center in Dearborn Heights. He died Tuesday evening at the hospital, said Andy Fradkin, a former student of Gibb who held power of attorney.