Sunday, September 15, 2013

'Right here on our stage, the dean of rock and roll....'

The year was 1973, and the scene was at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

“Right here on our stage – you’re going to see them after we take a quick break – will be five young lads from Canton, Ohio, who have taken the music world by storm,” announced famed TV producer and variety show host Ed Sullivan.

Screams from teenage girls overwhelmed Sullivan’s stage microphones at that point. Sullivan waved both of his hands in a downward motion. He smiled broadly.

“OK, now, Brimstone will be right here on our stage right after a word from our sponsor and a performance by that incredible mouse, Topo Gigio…”

OK, I made all that up. Well, not Ed Sullivan, or Topo Gigio – they were real. Well, Sullivan was real and Topo Gigio was a real puppet.

But the part about Brimstone appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show”?

I made that up.

And, hopefully, I got your attention.

Brimstone actually is a real rock band and is reuniting for a special show Oct. 12 at the Performing Arts Center at Kent-Tuscarawas. The band will open for Evolution, an Eric Clapton tribute band.

Brimstone and Evolution feature guitarist Chris Wintrip, but there is one special member of Brimstone whose talent might surprise the students who walk the halls of Kent-Tuscarawas.

Dean Gregg Andrews – and I make no apologies for admiring the work Andrews has done for the campus and community since his arrival here 15 years ago – was and is Brimstone’s vocalist.

So, shill I must.

Brimstone, which I had never heard of until a couple of years ago, apparently was a pretty good band.
“You were in a rock band?” I asked Andrews at the time.

“Yes, I was,” he said with a straight face.

Holy cow. Who would have believed that?

Andrews holds a doctorate degree and loves numbers and organization. He doesn’t remind me of Glen Frey or Don Henley, but what the heck.

The band, also comprised of Ken Miller, Jeff Miller and Dan Porter, played a lot of gigs in the Canton area and cut a critically acclaimed record – “Paper Winged Dreams” – before breaking up in the ’80s.

The album, by the way, has attained cult-like status in Europe. A copy of it was available earlier this week on eBay for $130.

According to the notes on the PAC’s website, Brimstone “evolved from a combination of several traditional rock bands. Brimstone's ‘Paper Winged Dreams’ is a unique progressive-art-rock work with influences from a wide range of musical genres.

“Brimstone’s ambitious effort focuses on ensemble collaboration, lyrical content and vocal harmonies resulting in a delicate, introspective outcome…

“They have been named Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honorees in the ‘My Town’ display.”

Perhaps the best thing about this upcoming Brimstone/Evolution night at the PAC is the price. Seats are $10 or $20.

But I think there’s a lesson here as well as a great night of music.

You don’t have to give up that “I want to be a rock star dream” no matter how old you are. Gregg Andrews, after all, is just south of Mick Jagger’s and Paul McCartney’s age.

And, surprise, so am I.

Ah, boomers. Those of us who’ve been around awhile should be encouraged by Brimstone’s upcoming concert. Heck, all of us can do other things.

 “The Dean” obviously is musically inclined and perhaps will be re-living something next month that he might have thought was long gone.

 “…A delicate, introspective outcome,” say the “liner” notes.


I’ll be there, God willing.

Dick Farrell writes this column weekly for the Bargain Hunter.

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