GIMME SHELDON:  Metro Detroit's Rock And Roll Lawyer Delivers Justice By Ted Cantu

Metro Detroit, MI – The schedule is busy so you will have to wait – this guy is on the move all the time. One minute he is on the phone and the next minute he slows down just enough to bang out a quick email. Then he is back on the phone again and takes a second to jot down some notes for his upcoming weekly radio appearance on, “The Rock and Roll Lawyer ®  Show”.  Right after the show he has time to meet with his radio crew for a quick bite before he jumps on stage and wails on the axe with his band The Sheltones. This is the busy, frantic life of one of Metro Detroit’s most eclectic lawyers. This is Sheldon Kay and this is about as real as it gets.

Sheldon is one of Metro Detroit’s most enigmatic personalities. He knows Detroit inside and out and has a star list of clients at any one time including Aretha Franklin. His office is full of rock and roll memorabilia, signed autographed pictures of Hollywood’s A list and B list and vinyl records from rocks classic age. But it’s not just entertainment law that drives him forth…. Oh no --- Sheldon Kay, is there for the people and he does an incredible amount of all types of law including, mediations, collections, juvenile law, probate, traffic tickets, DUI, domestic violence, copyrights and trademarks and much, much more.  His paralegal, Lisa Mazur, of 23 years does quickie divorces.

So behind the stardust there is one message that Sheldon wants to make clear, “I am a people person, – I am not your typical lawyer- I am here to help the people of Metro Detroit. Our office has a vibe not found in those “stuffy” law offices. We are approachable, and we are affordable and yet – we have that star quality service that we extend to our clients.” He pauses briefly, “For all people…”

Sitting in his office one cannot help but notice that Sheldon has been around the entertainment world. That is very obvious but then again so is the fact that Sheldon also understands rock and roll, rebellion, and the D. That’s what the younger generations need to grasp. Bad things do happen to good people but there is somebody on the street level that understands how to handle those problems. And when picking out a lawyer one has to remember to choose someone that can really show empathy, compassion and how to relate to the situation. In the darkest hour it is important to remember to pick someone who really knows the city inside and out and how different prosecutors and courts will evaluate the case.

I had a chance to sit down with Sheldon on numerous occasions and he related to me story after story about labor law, resolving disputes using creativity especially in divorce cases, probation violations and drunk driving cases. We even discussed what can happen during an illegal grow and the future of the 420 movement in Michigan. What is really great about our candid conversations is Sheldon’s vast knowledge and experience with just about every type of legality from malpractice to tenant law.

The law and rock and roll kind of go hand in hand. A lot of Metro Detroit’s hard core devotees have tangoed with law at one time or another. There are problems that arise in the entertainment end of the spectrum and there are problems that can occur just with the lifestyle. One thing that has been popping up lately is a lot of old buildings being renovated into living spaces for artists and musicians. What a lot of people don’t know is that these buildings are not always in the best condition. Over the recent years we have seen excessive water leaks coming in from the roof of these loft apartments, busted pipes, and flooding. This can cause damage to personal property and even health concerns, ( including black mold ). Not everything in the rock and roll life is all glamorous. When things like this occur the building owner and property manager must be held accountable. The stories I have heard about Detroit from this perspective have been far from perfect.  This has made me personally hesitant to take that plunge and to move down there with all of my belongings.

You need a rock and roll lawyer to make things run right.


This guy switches gears every Friday night and bangs out a fresh show on WCXI  at 6PM in the D. You can access the show on the web and he brings his full cast of rock and roll experts into the studio, theirs the  “brain trust”, Jimmy James and the Professor. The legal end of the show is manned besides Sheldon and headed by Drew Kaetz, Dean Emeritus of the Lawyer’s Practicing Law Without A License (which our his law clerks) and the Moyle.  The show’s philosopher, G. Scott Rainey always adds his two cents, along with Rick Stevers of Frijid Pink.    They play obscure rock and roll tracks from every era, and then vote on things like who inspired who? They put this into perspective and create real entertainment value for their listeners.  People can call into the show and give their take on the music tracks. These guys are good, they take their craft very seriously…. And they also know the law. That makes this show very special and one of the best kept secrets in Metro Detroit.  They are so cool that you have to go out of your way to find this hidden gem. They have a saying and it’s true, “The other radio station’s plays our leftovers.”

Sheldon has interviewed many guests over the last 9 years, both in and out of the music business. Top lawyers handling nationally news worthy cases stopped in to chat. The pioneers of Rock & Roll have been on his show.    He will cover obscure Elvis and Beatle tracks, talk to  national authors both in and out of the music business, and more. The big take away here is that this guy is very cool and he knows law and the music business.  And in times of trouble he is one you can approach. Unlike other iconic legal presences that you see plastered on billboards – Sheldon Kay and the Rock and Roll Lawyer team are down to earth and you can approach them. They are ready to rumble for you and represent you in the best possible way.


This state has gone through so much change in the recent years and more change is on the way. You have a new influx of young people who think it is really cool to live in Metro Detroit and to jump into arts and make something happen. With this new energy one has to realize that things can go wrong. This includes moving into a somewhat dangerous reconditioned building, or starting up a new business in Detroit’s challenging and dismal retail store environment. This can also include financial blunders which can lead to messy divorce and custody battles. Moving into a place like Metro Detroit has all kinds of upsides but also all sorts of unstable situations. It is these situations that could cause the need to get legal counsel.

With the changing State of Michigan comes a new crop of business. A lot of what we are seeing is uncharted territory and I am going to use the 420 and medical marijuana scene here as an example. Many community leaders are against the coming of these clinics and have concerns about regulation and what is tolerable with the law. Others see it is as a free for all and there is a race to jump into business. How does that relate to the grow shops that have sprouted all over Metro Detroit? How do those synergies play into the law when traffic is concerned? What about patient rights?

It’s mind boggling. And to try to figure it all out on your own can be a daunting task. Things can fly out of control pretty quick. I am not going to complicate the scene any more than I have to but you get the rough idea. From a legal standpoint if you are going to get involved with any of these areas you should get the final word on the law – for your own protection.

Not everything is so dramatic. Sometimes you might need to get things straight on trademarks and copyrights. This has been an exciting time to be in Metro D with all the new Michigan based products that are emerging on the market place. You will new distilleries popping up in Detroit like Two James, and in Ferndale, Valentine Vodka and you even see these products getting shelf space in high end stores like Hiller’s foods. There is amazing niche products like McClure pickles and Cantoro’s Market is selling tasty pasta sauces from independent companies. There is a considerable amount of pride when companies roll out a Michigan based product. When a company decides to take it to this level they need to know how to protect themselves with the law. This includes everything from sales copy, logo creation, branding, patents, warranties, guarantees and more.

Anybody who is considering a startup will want to pay attention here. I hear about a lot of little startups that want to come to Michigan and make their way. The new influx of people has attracted a lot of creative types and innovators. Creating a tech based startup has its share of problems and potential nightmares. This can range from interacting with investors, intellectual property, and measuring up expectations. That is another area that is going to grow significantly over time. The commercial space in Metro Detroit is so cheap that a lot of businesses have been eyeballing the D and are ready to call this place home.

Having Sheldon’s information on your rolodex, (do  people still use those?) is actually a pretty sound idea. You want someone who knows the law, you need someone who knows Detroit, and you need to know someone who has been there while this place has gone through its many changes. Sheldon Kay goes back in time through Metro Detroit’s colorful history and he has a tremendous amount of experience in the field.

He can take your dreams and protect them while offering you guidance. In times of trouble, he is there for you and will guide you through the legal process.



  1. Address: 30445 Northwestern Hwy, Farmington Hills, MI 48334

GIMME SHELDON:Sheldon Kay Farmington Hills, Michigan. Host of the Rock and Roll Lawyer Show - Divorce, DUI, Business, Tenant Attorney





“A VISUAL ASSAULT: REM Dissected Scene By Scene

The bottom video was shot in 1989 and is the closest thing I could find to what the original show opener was like in 1987. This was a departure for REM as much as it was for the audience. Just when you thought you knew the band they changed on you in a new and exciting way. It would take some time to recognize them once again. In the case of, “Document” the album had to grow on me. I noticed this sort of thing happening with the Smiths too.

There was one sequence in the video, not shown in this edition, when the words – “Want” and “Need” come on screen. The words flipped interchangeably and morphed into a strobe that said, “Need Weed” and I remember the crowd going a bit wild over that. This was Ann Arbor after all. There is some talk about the set list being accurate. I do not believe, “Orange Crush” or “Pop Song 89” was performed in 1987. Those songs were released after REM went to Warner Brothers. “Document” was the last album created under the I.R.S. Records label.

There is another version of, “The One I Love” done on the live tour. Stipe starts out with a slow intro and for a minute I thought the whole song would be done slow. It then kicks into the tempo we all know. The stage was also bathed in an eerie red light. How this song got perceived as a love song I’ll never know. It was about a sick love obsession.

Over the years I hear the young kids go, “Oh who cares about that stuff, REM was long before my time.” Trust me, you wish you were there. This show was nothing but historic.

REM in 1987 and the Birth of Alternative Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan - Crisler Arena >>>>>



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