Pop Music and Pop Culture Legends: Paul Revere and the Raiders play Star Plaza Theatre this month

2013-09-20T00:00:00Z Pop Music and Pop Culture Legends: Paul Revere and the Raiders play Star Plaza Theatre this monthBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

When Paul Revere and the Raiders performed in concert last August at Blue Chip Hotel and Casino in Michigan City, Revere said he brought with him "his secret weapon."

This musical group that spans 50 years and doesn't disappoint, still has Revere, who is 76, leading the charge entertaining audiences as he guides his shows from center stage on the keyboard.

But he has a new lead singer who has been with the group for the past four years and has talents that go far beyond just singing.

Darren Dowler, who originally hails from Indianapolis, began his career playing guitar for The Backstreet Boys.

Not only is he fantastic for vocals, he also does a range of impressions, from Sammy Davis Jr. to Elvis Presley and President Bill Clinton.

"We are still one of the most recognizable pop bands of the 1960s and still performing 150 dates a year," Revere said, who is headlining a special concert Sept. 27 at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

Revere is teamed at Star Plaza with the talents of Mitch Ryder and TV funny favorite Jimmie "JJ" Walker for a variety stage show dubbed "Where the Action Is: An Evening of Hits and Laughs."

Revere and his group still credit Dick Clark and ABC for their early success and even their now legendary trademark garb as American Revolutionary War soldiers.

"Paul Revere is my real name, so it's easy to see how natural it seemed to adopt this theme for the group," he said.

It was the ABC TV series "Dick Clark's Where the Action Is, Happening," later called "It's Happening," that put the group in the prime spotlight since they were selected by Clark to co-host the shows.

During the group's launch, singer Mark Lindsay, performed led vocals and he joined Revere as the primary "out-front" personalities. Lindsay even wore his hair in a Colonial style ponytail when the group began to wear their American Revolutionary War solider costumes to symbolize "an American response to the British Invasion" on the music scene at the time.

Paul Revere and the Raiders were the first group to be signed by Columbia Records with the 1963 recording of "Louie Louie" and went on to 23 consecutive hit singles, including, "Indian Reservation," "Kicks," "Good Thing," "Hungry," "Stepping Stone" and "Just Like Me."

It was Revere who organized the Raiders in 1958, with his talents on the keyboard as a classic rock pianist. Other members are Doug Heath, the group's lead guitarist for more than 35 years; Ron Foos, bassist for more than 35 years; Danny Krause, keyboardist for more than 28 years; Dowler, lead vocalist and Vocal Group Hall of Fame Inductee and the newest member, drummer Tommy Scheckel.

After Clark opened his Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theatre in Branson in 2006, he asked his friend Revere to bring the band to the Missouri entertainment mecca for a standing gig.

"We did a three-year contract at Clark's theater in Branson and then Andy Williams made us an offer we couldn't resist, so we did another two years playing Andy's theater," Revere said.

"It was great to plant roots for a while, but after a few years, we missed the touring. When you're in one place for too long, it starts to feel like that Bill Murray movie 'Groundhog Day,' like you just keep reliving the same day over and over. I love the touring. It's great to have the chance to travel to our audiences to take them back on a musical time warp."

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