More and more I find myself asking, “What is the most comforting thing I know?” Tonight I remembered the Electrifying Mojo.

I became a night owl thanks to this mysterious Detroit radio voice whose eclectic sets from the 1970s through the 1990s featured Parliament, Kraftwerk, Devo, and Cybotron—and set the stage for techno music. The Electrifying Mojo is a ghost, never photographed yet his spirit runs through nearly everything we hear today. Each night, he opened his show with a question: “Will the members of the Midnight Funk Association please rise?” He is a man without biographical detail, but his fingerprints are everywhere. He is a concept that requires a definite article: The.

The Electrifying Mojo brought the city together while the theme from Star Wars blared behind his voice. “I want you to show some solidarity tonight,” he’d say. “If you’re in the car, flash your lights. If you’re sitting on your porch, blink your porch light. And if you’re in bed, then dance on your back. In Technicolor.” I remember driving down Woodward while a white Cadillac in the opposite lane flashed its headlights. I did the same in my beat-to-shit Pontiac: two strangers responding to a lone voice on the radio, drawing the city into a brotherhood of sound and light.

He was one of the first deejays to put Prince on the air. He interrupted songs with social commentary from “the mental machine.” He rocked a twenty-minute version of “Flashlight.” I stayed awake into the small hours, hunched over my cassette player and riding the pause/record button to make mixtapes culled from his show. The 120-minute Maxell cassettes were the best for this.

Every night the Electrifying Mojo would sign off with the same message, delivered in a slow baritone with a grin around the edges: “Whenever you feel like you’re nearing the end of your rope, don’t slide off. Tie a knot. Keep hanging. Keep remembering that ain’t nobody bad like you.”

Cybotron - Alleys Of Your Mind
One of the formative songs that the Electrifying Mojo played. Forty years old and you can still see the steam rising from the street grates. Read more about Mojo here and you can hear his voice here.