Another respected and beloved member of the local Northwest Indiana music community - Mike Severance - original drummer for Southern Rock group Eat A Peach, passed away March 31 following a long illness. The 1990 Hobart High School graduate became a major part of the region's music scene for many years.
This columnist had the pleasure of working closely with Eat A Peach in the late 1990s and early 2000s, writing about them often in this column, and producing shows with them at Star Plaza Theatre. Mike's exceptional drumming helped make Eat A Peach a major Midwest attraction and a popular national touring act that was written up in many music publications.
The band enjoyed some international glory when a popular French music magazine covering Southern Rock ran a major feature on them, bumping Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant and Charlie Daniels Band's Taz Digregorio in favor of putting Eat A Peach on the issue's front cover.
"The best experiences I've ever had on a stage were with Mr. Severance sitting behind his drum kit, kicking us all into the stratosphere," remembered former Eat A Peach guitarist Andy Ross. "He was a hard worker, loved his family very much, and was creative, honest, and passionate about what he did. Mike was a good friend. I'll never forget him."
Following his Eat A Peach years, Mike continued to write, record and share his music through YouTube postings on the Internet. "Music is about sharing a part of yourself with everyone else," shared Mike on his Facebook page. "No matter how life is treating you, a song can change your whole day."
Mike's legacy is the music he left behind, the songs on the Eat A Peach albums "Bound To Shine" and "Turbulence & Thunder" and those posted online. My condolences to the Severance family and the many friends mourning the loss of this talented and decent man.
• Move over Grumpy Cat, the next big animal star could be your dog. Transplanted Chicago country rock favorite Skip Haynes -- formerly of Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah that recorded the Midwest radio classic, "Lakeshore Drive" - shared information about a new project in the works by his Laurel Canyon Animal Company which creates music about, for and with animals.
"We're looking for a few good dogs or rather a few good videos of a few good dogs," explained Haynes. "We are creating a video for the release of 'Squeaky Deaky,' our first single created specifically for dogs. We need videos of dogs reacting to our song. Go to petcds.com, click the button on the bottom of the home page and roll video while your dog listens. Maybe the next canine to go viral on the Internet will be yours).
Email the video to us or upload it to Youtube and send us the link. Include all your contact information (including your dog's name) and a short note giving us permission to use your dog's video in our Squeaky Deaky video.
• Long time Northwest Indiana rocker Bill Hayden reports he is now pounding keyboards for the new classic rock collective Classic Chaos, whose set list is comprised of tunes by Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, UFO, Styx and other '70s arena rockers. Rounding out the group is drummer Jeff Samsel, guitarist John Tabemacki, bassist Jay Sciac and vocalist Jack Daniels.
• One of the region's snappiest young musical groups - Capernaum - will rock the house with their blended repertoire of Christian, country and pop cover tunes and original songs Saturday at Bottoms Up Bar & Grill (1696 Thornton-Lansing Road) in Lansing for an audience of all ages on from 8-11 p.m.
• Chicagoland promoters Bud Monaco and Red Rose of Sopro Music present their "28th Annual Chicago All Star Easter Parade Blues Revue" at 9 p.m. Saturday, one week after the Bunny hopped through the area. The event features The Chicago Horns, guitarist/vocalists Joey Drada, Frank Anastos and Billy King, vocalist Deb Seitz, harmonica player Doug Lee, drummer Scott Bonshire, bassist John Falstrom and keyboardist Greg Wolfman at Sullivan's Irish Pub (4660 W. 147th Street) in Midlothian. More: SoProMusic.com.
• Chicagoland blues stalwarts -- Howard & The White Boys -- perform live in the Lakeshore Public Radio studio at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the weekly "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges" music program to promote their latest album, "Rosa's Lounge."
• Region filmmaker Trey T.A. Manchester ("The Things We've Seen") will be featured Wednesday at noon on Lakeshore's "A Look at the Arts" program. Listen to all Lakeshore programs at 89.1FM-The Lakeshore or stream them live in real time at lakeshorepublicmedia.org.