First the sad news: Founder/guitarist J. Geils of the J. Geils Band - and bandmate of this week’s Ballroom Breakout! headliner Magic Dick for many, many years - passed away last week at the age of 71. Pencilstorm wishes to pass along our condolences to Geils’ friends, family & fans. We also wanna say, "Nice going, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for passing over the J. Geils Band FOR THE FOURTH TIME while inducting the likes of Journey. You couldn't have given a genuine rocker like J. Geils some little recognition while he was still alive?”
Now onto the rockin' news: I saw the J. Geils Band live four or five times in their 1971-1976 heyday – the last time at St. John’s Arena – and those were some TRULY fearsome live shows, boys & girls. Nobody (but me) ever seems to mention this, but I firmly believe that Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band were MIGHTILY influenced by the original Geils Band. Yeah, Bruce certainly channeled Bob Dylan and Van Morrison to a large extent lyrically, but that arms-around-shoulders-brothers-against-the-world camaraderie that the E Street Band evoked (and still, to a large extent evokes today) I believe largely derived from Peter Wolf, Seth Justman & da guys. And anybody who thinks Bruce and “Big Man” Clarence Clemons’ onstage interplay didn’t derive somewhat from that of lead singer Wolf and “Magic Dick” Salwitz never witnessed The J. Geils Band in their prime.
Now TEAM Productions welcomes Magic Dick to the fine, fine, superfine environs of the Valley Dale Ballroom this coming Friday, April 21st. But wait a minute, JUST Magic Dick? NO, my rocker sons & daughters, this week’s Ballroom Breakout! ALSO features screamer extraordinaire and all-around-debonair-man-about-town Boston rocker Barrence Whitfield (sadly without his Savages on this occasion), both of whom will be backed by Columbus rockers Terry Davidson & the Gears, purveyors of many a night of soul-smashing rock & roll in their OWN right.
And the icing on the cake of the whole rockin’ Friday night? None other than C-town’s own rockin’ little sister, Erica Blinn with her take-no-prisoners band OPENING the whole shebang. Jesus, Erica is the OPENING ACT? There’s your price of admission right THERE, cats & kittens, then you still you STILL get Terry, Barrence and Magic Dick. That’s a rock show, ladies & gentlemen, that’s a rock show.
And that’s also a rock show that DEFINES the ongoing continuum of GENUINE barroom rock & roll music. Ask Erica about her early influences and this is what you’ll hear: “I still remember when I was about fourteen years old and my dad (editor’s note: “Dad” in this case is Jerry Blinn, bass player of Black Leather Touch, a band of West Side rockers who never garnered anywhere NEAR the acclaim they should have in the 1970's) put on J. Geils’ Live Full House and said, ‘Listen to that harmonica, don't you think it would be cool to do that?’ To which I replied, "Yeah, that's awesome!”
He then took me to see Delyn Christian play and encouraged me to inquire about harmonica lessons. Delyn said "Do you wanna play like Bob Dylan or Magic Dick?" And I said, "Magic Dick!"
"Good answer," Delyn said.
Tickets for the April 21st show are $17.50 in advance and $20.00 at the door. Doors open at 7PM. For tickets, information about the show, and to read more about the musical talent, visit www.theballroombreakout.com.