Started by Hiawatha Bailey, a former roadie for The UP and White Panther Party Minster of Culture, Cult Heroes were a fiercely independent and political band on the late 1970s Detroit-Ann Arbor scene.
As a leader in the White Panthers, Bailey assisted with the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in 1971 that brought John Lennon & Yoko Ono to Ann Arbor, along with an impressive array of local and national acts, to advocate for Sinclair following his conviction of 10 years in prison for selling two joints to an undercover cop.
After Sinclair’s release, and the crumbling of the original Ann Arbor scene which including bands such as the MC5 and the Stooges, Bailey was busted on a drug charge in 1974. After serving time at the federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky, the same place former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer was also doing time at that time; Bailey started the Cult Heroes in 1978.
The band released two singles, “The Prince and the Showgirl” b/w “Berlin Wall” in 1979 followed by “Amerikan Story” b/w “Don’t Like It” in 1981, independently before facing a fracture due to Bailey’s independent streak when it came to the record industry.
While running his own band, Bailey was also a roadie for Destroy All Monsters – traveling with the band to shows to cities such as New York, where he was able to line up gigs for the Cult Heroes through his connections.
In May 2016, a crowdfunding campaign was created to raise money for a documentary on Bailey called “The Song of Hiawatha”.
As of 2017, the Cult Heroes continue to play a show or two a year around the Ann Arbor-Detroit area.