Larry “the Drummer” Hull, a Detroit legend, has died

The Cass Corridor staple was often greeting patrons outside of Avalon Bakery on Willis Street and known around the neighborhood for his street drumming, adventurous style and friendly smile.

 

The Cass Corridor is quiet after the death of a musical staple of the Detroit neighborhood.

Larry “the Drummer” Hull was found dead on March 9 by police officers who were responding to a wellness check, says Chief Anthony Holt of the Wayne State University Police Department.

While he didn’t have identification on him, Holt says responding officers were able to confirm it was Hull by the missing posters that were posted online and in the neighborhood by a local church.

Holt says the cause of death is unclear, but no foul play is suspected.

A portrait of Larry “the Drummer” Hull by Antonio Clark.

For nearly 40 years, Hull was known as a friendly street drummer who was commonly found performing in the Cass Corridor outside of music venues like the Majestic or greeting patrons outside of Avalon Bakery on Willis Street.

His smile and eye for style made him a popular presence in the area, willing to drum a tune on whatever surface he could find in exchange for some change, food or beer — whatever people were willing to give.

In an interview with WDET last year, Hull described himself as a transient person who had found a home in the Cass Corridor.

“They never know where they gunna be. No real stability,” said Hull. “One day here, one day there. One day on a rooftop, one day digging a hole in the ground.”

Hull said he bought a one-way bus ticket from Missouri to Detroit in 1976 looking for work as a musician.

“Too late for Motown,” said Hull, who got himself a job at a moving company — but it didn’t last long. A family tragedy shortly after meant he didn’t have a place to live anymore. He turned to the streets and whatever shelter would take him in.

“That was the first time I knew I was going to be homeless,” said Hull, who said he found a sense of community in the Cass Corridor. “A lot of people come and go. My affection for it keeps me here. It grew on me.”

Concerned friends and neighbors are trying to find next of kin for Larry “the Drummer” Hull. If you have any information, please send an email to findcasscorridorlarry@gmail.com

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Author

  • Ryan Patrick Hooper

    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.