After nearly 40 years in the entertainment business wearing a variety of hats – journalist, radio host, publicist, booking agent, artist management, record label promotions, record retailer, night club management, and other assorted and sometimes sordid aspects – one tends to amass a memorabilia collection along the way.
Despite losing a storage unit and a basement full of items to flood waters a few years back, much of my collection has still languished in boxes for too long. Next month, some will have dust blown off of them and be put on temporary display in the new exhibit room of the recently remodeled Lake County Public Library Main Library (Merrillville location), 1919 W. 81st Ave. (U.S. 30).
To launch the exhibit, The Lake County Library Foundation is hosting a 6-8:30 p.m. fundraising reception on Friday, Nov. 7 dubbed - “A Life with Show Biz Legends.” For my portion of the reception, I will talk a bit about my career, share personal stories “from the trenches” so to speak, and personal recollections connected to a few specific pieces of memorabilia from Debbie Harry (Blondie), “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, Bob Hope, Prince, Waylon Jennings, Melissa Etheridge and others.
The evening includes the dedication of the Ana Grandfield Children’s Room, my presentation, and tastings of White Sangria and hors d’oeuvres. The $20 donation to The Lake County Public Library Foundation helps in funding library materials. A few autographed celebrity items from my collection have been donated for a silent auction in the hopes of adding a few more coins to the foundation coffer.
Attendance to this public event must be confirmed via RSVP by Nov. 1. Contact Lake County Public Library Marketing Manager Jennifer Burnison at (219) 769-3541, ext. 315.
“CREAM” Served With “KOFI”
· Region music veterans Brett Galvan (bass) and Zeke Rongers (guitar) perform a one night only tribute to the music of CREAM with Kofi Baker (kofibaker.com) the son of legendary drummer Ginger Baker at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Lencioni’s, 3325 Glenwood Dyer Road, in Lynwood. More: (708) 895-6844.
Kofi Baker’s first live performance was with his iconic father on the UK television show "The Old Grey Whistle Test" when he was just six years old. He went on to tour over the years with his father, John Etheridge (of The Soft Machine), Steve Waller (of Manfred Mann), Randy California (of Spirit) and spent time behind the kit with Steve Marriot's Humble Pie. Baker has also recorded albums (“Lost City”, “Abstract Knowledge,” etc.) over the years.
Monday’s gig came about after Steve Crabtree of Northwest Indiana’s Beat Boogie Drums put Rongers in touch with Kofi's agent. “I shared a story about the time Buddy Guy was listening to Zeke perform and said that his style reminds him of his friend Eric Clapton,” said Crabtree. Kofi Baker was in the region on Oct. 19 to do an invitational drum clinic held in Schererville by Beat Boogie Drums, where Baker met Rongers in person and the two found enough common ground to plan the jam/concert at Lencioni’s.
“Along with covering Cream songs, some classic Hendrix and Blind Faith tunes will also be included in the evening’s set list. Come early for a bite to eat and get a good seat for a great show,” added Crabtree. “Kofi Baker is currently on a 10-day tour in Germany with his full time band, The Cream Experience.”
· The Dysfunctionells - who had a pretty good run in Chicago in the '80s and ‘90s - is getting together for a mini reunion tour with the final 2 p.m., all ages performance Nov 9 at Paul Henry's Art Gallery (416 Sibley Street) in Hammond.
Acoustic guitarist Rich Krueger is now a practicing neo-natal doctor at Community Hospital in Munster. The other band members – bassist Russell Clark, drummer Vincent Edmonds, accordionist Oliver Steck and electric guitarist Vernon Tonges - are now scattered around the country from Detroit to Austin to Seattle, so gathering them all for one final hurrah is pretty special,” said Dave Mueller of Paul Henry’s Art Gallery. More: (219) 678-5015.
· Chicago’s band of brothers -- Patrick O’Malley, Frankie O’Malley, Michael O’Malley -- have been banging around Midwest clubs as The Safes since forming in 2003. They've won over a strong core fan base in the process with their power pop sound.
The band's third and latest album “Record Heat” - produced by Jim Diamond (White Stripes) and Jason Ward (Arcade Fire) - was released in spring on Wee Rock Records as a limited edition white vinyl LP as well as CD format. The album started getting worldwide attention thanks to the new video for “I Would Love To,” which has lyrics displayed in more than a dozen languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Polish, Russian and English. More info and link to video at thesafes.com.
· Fresh off the Chicago-centric debut of the HBO series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, the band has confirmed the Windy City as the site of its first ever U.S. stadium headline show on Aug. 29, 2015. Foo Fighters will rock Wrigley Field at a day-long multi-generational celebration of Chicago’s musical heritage featuring Urge Overkill, Naked Raygun and Cheap Trick, whose Rick Nielsen both appears in the Sonic Highways series and contributes his unmistakable guitar tones to the album’s lead track and current Rolling Stone Playlist #1 “Something From Nothing." More: foofighters.com.