Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 31 - August 02, 1970 - Powder Ridge Rock Festival @ Middlefield, CT (CANCELLED! Sort Of...)

Poster for the doomed Powder Ridge Rock Festival.
(Image via: Chronos-Historical.org)

The Powder Ridge Rock Festival was to be a three day festival held in Middlefield, CT. Promoters expected over 100,000 people to attend. But in the weeks and days preceding the festival, local authorities and residents managed to pretty much sabotage the plans of the promoters and effectively shut the festival down before it was able to begin. Which was too bad for the estimated 30,000 - 40,000 people who actually showed up expecting to hear the likes of Sly & the Family Stone, Allman Brothers, Cactus, Grand Funk Railroad, Mountain, Ten Years After and many, many others who had been advertised to perform.

I really can't add anything to this story. You can read all about this debacle over at the amazing "Powder Ridge Rock Festival Index". Included in this collection are photos of what actually managed to take place at Powder Ridge, several newspaper articles from local and national newspapers of the time, a few great articles from the 08/14/70 issue of Life Magazine, a first-hand account of what went down by someone who actually attended the festival, and a great excerpt from the book "Aquarius Rising: The Rock Festival Years" by Robert Santelli.

Additionally, there is a great article titled: "Powder Ridge: The Festival That Could Be Stopped" over on the Crawdaddy section of Wolfgang's Vault.com.

Happy reading...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Blog On The Block: The New York Nobody Sings

Yesterday, Monday 07/27/09, some of my very favorites in the NYC-blogosphere (Stupefaction, EV Grieve, and Hunter-Gatherer) launched a new project...

A bit about the new site from their 1st post:

Welcome to our new blog dedicated to the songs & music of New York City. In cooperation with The London Nobody Sings, we hope to remind you of, or turn you on to, songs that are about New York, have a strong connection to New York, or simply have some sort of NYC je ne sais quoi.
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First up, Lou Reed's "New York Telephone Conversation".
Check it all out and listen to the song at The NewYork Nobody Sings.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

07/26/97 - 12 Years Ago Today in Minneapolis - Sunburn Ball /W/ Sugartooth/Coal Chamber/Sevendust


Two different colored handbills and ticket stub for the Sunburn Ball.


(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

I found out about this show just a day or so before it was to take place at the Cabooze in Minneapolis. It was a hastily organized charity concert, all the proceeds going to victims of the flooding that was occuring that spring/summer in the Red River Valley on the MN/ND border.
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A friend of mine and I arrived a bit early to enjoy a few beers before the show started and while we were milling about we were fortunate enough to meet both Dez (vocals) and Rayna (bass) of Coal Chamber who had just been in town about a month previous as part of OzzFest '97. They were both quite nice and were not afraid to hang out and mingle and drink with their fans.
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Sevendust was the first act to play that afternoon. I didn't know much of their music at the time except for their song "Black" that had been in regular rotation on the local hard-rocker X105. They came out and absoulutely laid waste to the small, packed-to-the-walls club. Not long after they finished and Coal Chamber had taken the stage, I noticed that most of the members of Sevendust were now milling about the club, having beers and mingling with fans. I remember drinking and talking with a few of them - not sure who, but one of the guys was telling me how much they enjoyed playing Minneapolis because the people here really seemed to be rock 'n' roll people and the band loved the response they had gotten when they had played here previously. I asked when they'd be back in this area and he said "very, very soon." I also discussed tattoos with one of the Sevendusters, all the while the cold beers were flowing and disappearing as quickly as they were filled. It was a hot day and the fact that the Cabooze was packed to capacity helped ensure a healthy (OK, maybe unhealthy) number of beers were to be consumed that day.
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As Coal Chamber raged on stage (click HERE to see them perform the song "Fiend" live in NYC in 2002) I was kind of losing track of what was happening as the beers were doing me in. I know I was having fun and the music was amazing. After Coal Chamber finished their set they again appeared on the floor of the club, socializing with their fans and hanging out with their friends from Sevendust. By the time Sugartooth came out on stage I was pretty hammered - don't really remember much about their set at all actually, I just remember drinking several more beers and enjoying it all and being glad I wasn't the one who had to drive home...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One From The Archives: 07/25/98 Mercyful Fate/ Coup De Grace/ + 1 More @ Ground Zero, Minneapois, MN


07/25/98 Mercyful Fate/ Coup de Grace @ Ground Zero, Minneapolis, MN
 (Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)


I remember it was hot. It was as if Satan himself had brought some heat to the city. Very fitting then that one of his biggest champions, King Diamond, would be in town with the recently reunited Mercyful Fate to sing his praises. There were actually two opening bands but for the life of me I cannot remember who the 1st band to play that day was. I remember the 2nd band, Coup de Grace, coming out and delivering quite a brutal set of Minneapolis style thrash metal. About half-way through their set, this guy in a tux jumps up on stage and begins to jam with the band. Before the next song started, the vocalist announced that "guy in a tux" was actually the band's other guitarist, he was late to the show as he had attended his sister's wedding earlier in the afternoon. It was nice that he could join us.

Mercyful Fate was great - as if there had been any question that they would be. They played a blistering set of techno-thrash-Satan metal that left the faithful wanting for nothing. All the band's old standards were included in the setlist along with a handful of newer songs. When it was all over my buddy and I simply drove home - and by some miracle we made it without slaughtering hordes of innocents, sacrificing any virgins or setting fire to any local churches.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

07/23/06 - 3 Years Ago Today in Minneapolis, MN - Faster Pussycat/Bang Tango/Adler's Appetite


(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This was the first time I'd seen Faster Pussycat since I saw them twice within a month and a half back in the spring of 1990. They were awesome then and were even better at this show. Still sleazy as all hell but with a much heavier, darker style that suited them well.
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When the show was still about an hour from getting under way, word spread that Adler's Appetite, the group formed by ex- Guns 'N' Roses drummer and frequent rehab patient Steven Adler, would not be appearing as they had cancelled earlier in the day. The story was that Steven was "not feeling well." I was not surprised in the least to hear this. I'm sure he was feeling a bit "down" if you know what I mean.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

07/18/02 - 7 Years Ago Today in Medina, MN - Ted Nugent/Hairball

Flyer for Uncle Ted's sizzling 07/18/02 concert at the Medina Ballroom.
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
A Ted guitar pick - which he bounced right off my chest during "Stranglehold".
Just four days after witnessing Judas Priest do their thing in Minneapolis, I was back out on the road for a short trip to Medina, MN to see Mr. Nugent in the smallest venue I've seen him in, the intimate Medina Ballroom. I'd only been to a few shows there previously and I was sure this was gonna be something special. The local 70's/80's hard rock/hair metal tribute act Hairball was the opening act. They put on a good and as always hilarious show.
As soon as Hairball were off the stage I pushed my way up front and soon found myself in the front row, center stage, ready to be sonically annihilated by Uncle Ted. And annihilate he did. Doesn't he always? It was a real treat to be so close - I could see every drop of sweat on his forehead as he cranked out his special blend of maniacal Detroit guitar madness, getting more and more wound up and insane as the evening went on. As he was playing the solo from "Stranglehold" he was flicking guitar picks into the crowd and he flicked one right at me - it bounced off my chest and landed at my feet. I was lightning fast, bending over to scoop it off the ground where it had fallen. It holds a special place in my collection of rock and roll memories...

07/14/00 - 7 Years Ago in Minneapolis, MN - Cheap Trick (Free Concert - Minneapolis Aquatennial Block Party)

Print ad for Cheap Trick's appearance at the 2002 Minneapolis Aquatennial.
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Just one night after seeing Kiss for the umpteenth time (along with Ted Nugent and Skid Row) I was back in Minneapolis again for more classic 70's rock, this time to catch Cheap Trick, for free, as the headliners at the 23rd Annual Hennipen Avenue Block Party, part of the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration.
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Several other regional and local bands performed that day as well but we missed them all, arriving late in the afternoon. We were there only to see the boys from Rockford anyway. It was a great show as always, I've never seen Cheap Trick have an off night actually. There were probably around 40,000 in attendance.
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And amidst all that, at one point during the show, I found myself standing next to and conversing with "The World's Worst Guitar Player", Chia Karaoke from my favorite local band Flipp. He was sporting a pink band-aid on his bald head and was easliy recognized. Flipp are actually good friends with Cheap Trick, having toured with them at some point previously and Chia would later, in 2003, design the cover art for Trick's CD "Special One". And on the same evening, just across the street from the huge parking lot where Cheap Trick were holding court, Minnesota native son Bob Dylan was entertaining additional thousands in the no-doubt sold out Target Center. (See bottom graphic).


Friday, July 17, 2009

07/14/02 - 7 Years Ago in Minneapolis, MN - Judas Priest

(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Clipping from the City Pages "A-List" re: Judas Priest in Minneapolis, MN
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So I made it back home safe from Moondance Jam the previous evening and even managed to get a few more hours sleep when I got home around 9:00am. Then it was up and at 'em early in the afternoon, shower and drive into Minneapolis to attend my first ever Judas Priest show.
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There was no opening band, just an evening with the Priest. I was excited to see them but a little bummed that Halford was not fronting the band. I needn't have worried. Tim "Ripper" Owens was an amazing replacement frontman for the band - just a song or two into the show I was not even thinking of Rob Halford anymore, I was just enjoying the group for what it was now...a powerful band who could stand on stage proudly after nearly 30 years and easily blow away any younger band that thought themselves worthy of the title "Metal Gods".

07/13/02 - 7 Years Ago in Walker, MN - Moondance Jam (Day 4)

Print ad for Moondance Jam 2002
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

I had been wanting to see Deep Purple in the worst way for quite some time and was beginning to fear that I might never get the chance when I found out they would be appearing at Moondance Jam in Walker, MN, about a four hour drive from the Twin Cities. So I took the day off from work in advance and made plans to make the road trip up there to see them. I tried to get someone to come with me but had no takers - all too busy or all too broke to afford the $80.00 one-day admission. So, early on the morning of July 13, 2002 I filled up the car with gas, packed some beers and cokes in the cooler in the trunk and set off for northern Minnesota. After an uneventful drive I eventually arrived in Walker early in the afternoon.

I found one of the many festival parking areas and parked the car. As soon as I got out I was in the trunk pulling out the cooler full of beers. I had a few and began to talk to some of the people who were parked near me. Several of them had been there for the previous three days of the festival and were telling me how great all the bands had been so far. It sounded like Journey and Blondie had really put on a great show the previous evening. One guy had just pulled in from Fargo, ND where he had seen Judas Priest the previous evening. He said it was a killer show and I was telling him how much I was looking forward to seeing them the next night back in Minneapolis. It was quite hot out and the beers were going down quickly. Soon it was approaching 4:00pm and I decided it was time to head to the festival site which was just up the road a bit. I slammed down a few more beers as I waited for one of the free festival transport busses to pull into the parking lot and climbed aboard as soon as it arrived. Just a few minutes later I was (quite tipsily) walking into the festival site.

I was just in time to witness Loverboy take the stage. I was quite amused to see how much they had seemed to age over the years - but I guess it wasn't 1984 anymore either, time marches on and is not always so kind, but they sounded pretty good, better than they looked at least. While they were on stage, I found my way to the liquid refreshment booth and ordered a few Jack Daniels Lemonade coctail coolers. They were tasting quite good and I had a few. Then a few more. Around this time I ran into some old friends I had known in Jr. high school. We spent a while catching up and decided to head back to the stage area to catch Dio.

Dio was awesome. It was kinda weird to see him perform in the daylight hours of late afternoon but it really didn't take away from his ability to impress. Always nice to see him either solo or fronting Black Sabbath. I had a few more drinks as they played through their set and was now quite bombed. I was having a great fucking time and it was about to get better.

After a brief set-change, the band I had come so far to see, Deep Purple, finally took the stage. I had been waiting to see these guys since I was like 13 years old so this was a real treat for me. I had somehow managed to lose track of my buddies by this time so I was rocking out alone, but with 30,000 people surrounding you, are you really alone? The band was absolutely destroying the place. I wasn't sure how I'd enjoy Steve Morse in place of Ritchie Blackmore but he was quite impressive and the band tore through classic and newer material, vocalist Ian Gillian just blowing my drunken mind. The sun went down as they were about midway through their set and they finished their show with a full light show which only served to enhance the experience.

I decided about mid-way through their set that I'd had quite enough to drink. I worked my way to the rear of the crowd as Purple finished up and found a place to sit down for a while while the stage crew tore down the Purps equipment and set up for the evenings headliners (and festival closers) the Scorpions. As all this was going on my nice roaring drunk slowly faded into a throbbing, headache inducing hangover which continued to worsen with each passing minute. As the Scorpions came out to play I was pretty much done for the day.

I remember standing there trying to enjoy them for a while but I just couldn't take it anymore - I'd had my fill of alcohol and rock and roll for one day. I decided to try and walk off some of the booze and went wandering around the campgrounds not far from the main festival area. While I was doing this I was constanly being invited to come have a drink with people partying like it was 1999. The thought of another drink set my stomache churning with each offer and I politely declined and continued to walk. Walking seemed to help a bit. I made my way back to the main grounds area and tried for a while to watch the Scorps as they finished up their set. After just a song or two I decided I needed to hop a bus and get back to my car where I could crawl in and get a few hours sleep and hopefully feel better. As I arrived back in the parking lot I could see the fireworks going off over on the main festival grounds, signaling the end to the weekend. I crawled into my car and laid down across the front seats and dozed off.

After only a few hours of sleep I woke up around 4:00am on July 14th, feeling quite alot better. I sat up and looked out the window to see lots of people still awake and partying. Some were packing up thier stuff to head back home. I grabbed a coke from the cooler, sat for a few minutes and woke up a bit, lit a cigarette and started the car. I decided it was time for me to head back to Minneapolis as well. I was thinking about the long drive ahead and was certain I wanted to get back home to get a few more hours of rest so I'd be in good enough shape to make the Judas Priest concert later that evening in Minneapolis. I popped some tunes in the old cassette player, rolled down the windows for some frsh air, put the car in drive and headed off down the road, feeling better with each passing mile, looking forward to seeing the Priest for the very first time later that evening.

One From The Archives: 07/13/00 Kiss/ Ted Nugent/ Skid Row @ Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

07/13/00 Kiss/Ted Nugent/Skid Row @ Minneapolis, MN (Ad #2)
(Images via NYCDreamin Archives)

07/13/00 Kiss/Ted Nugent/Skid Row @ Minneapolis, MN (Ad #1)

07/13/00 Kiss/Ted Nugent/Skid Row @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

07/13/00 Kiss/Ted Nugent/Skid Row @ Minneapolis, MN (Star Tribune Special Edition Front Page - Top) 07/13/00 Kiss/Ted Nugent/Skid Row @ Minneapolis, MN (Star Tribune Special Edition Front Page - Bottom)

Front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune from July 13th, 2000. The paper printed a "late special edition" to commemorate what was supposed to be Kiss' final ever Twin Cities performance. They have played here several times since (without Ace and Peter) as the "Farewell Tour" wasn't really the end after all...

This item appeared in the Star Tribune a few days after the show. Seems LL Cool J was at the show. Who knew he was a Kiss fan?!?
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Four years TO THE DAY that Kiss appeared in St. Paul on the "Reunion Tour", they were back (this time again in Minneapolis) to perform their second show here in just two months. Seems the show here on their "Farewell Tour" on May 18th, 2000 was such a success the band decided to make another stop here to milk the Twin Cities Kiss Army for all they were worth.
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"Buy those t-shirts - you'll never get another chance to see the band here! This is IT!!"
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Yea...whatever. I kinda wish it had been actually. Kiss were just "O.K." on this night, not great, but just O.K. You could tell they were not having as much fun as they had during the 96-97 tours. They kinda seemed to be going through the motions. Ted Nugent, however, was absolutely on fire - he kinda blew them off the stage.
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One cool memory from this show stands out: My friend "J" and I had gone down to the Target Center kinda early in the afternoon to hang out and see what we could see. We were walking by one of the crew busses when this roadie dude wearing a Kiss crew t-shirt comes walking off the bus. "Hey guys," he says to us, "You don't got a smoke or two I could get from you? I'm all out and I don't know where to get any. I just woke up." I replied that I had just bought a fresh pack and would be glad to give him a few. "Thanks, man. You're a life saver," he replied. Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out over half a dozen Kiss guitar picks. "Here," he said as he offered them to me, "Thanks for the smokes!" For just a few cigarettes I scored a few Gene and Paul picks (which I sold for $10.00 each after the show was over for a tidy profit of around $50.00!) and a few Ace Frehley picks, which I kept in my pocket and still have in my collection. They are not for sale...


And as I was driving home after the show, my excitement began to build for the following evening as we were going to head back to Minneapolis for another night of (free) rock and roll by another favorite 70's legend, Cheap Trick.

One From The Archives: 07/13/96 Kiss/ Melvins @ St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN


(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Print Ad and ticket for 07/13/96 Kiss/Melvins concert in St. Paul, MN



On 07/13/96 "The Dream" came true for me and 16,000 other Mpls./St. Paul members of the Kiss Army. Our heroes Ace, Peter, Gene and Paul had reunited in April of that year for their first tour together since 1979 and it was finally show day in the Twin Cities. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed in my life - something I had not been able to experience in the '70s as I'd been too young then, and I had been hoping and dreaming (not really ever daring to believe it could really happen) of this day for most of my life. A tear or two came to my eyes during the first few songs as I was overcome by the realization that a dream of mine was taking place on stage right in front of me. The show was amazing and I was later fortunate enough to get a recording of it on bootleg CD - the quality of which is superb, so I can relive the show over and over. And I have. They played all the songs you'd expect them to play:

Deuce/King Of The Nighttime World/Do You Love Me?Calling Dr. Love/Cold Gin/I Stole Your love/Shout It Out Loud/Watchin' You/Firehouse/Shock Me (with a blistering solo by Ace Frehley)/Strutter/(Gene's always craptacular bass solo)/God of Thunder/Peter Criss drum solo/New York Groove/Love Gun/100,000 Years/Black Diamond/Detroit Rock City/Beth/Rock And Roll All Nite

The opening act was The Melvins. Several of my friends thought they sucked big ass but I thought they were great - noisy and abrasive as always. I've seen them several times in much smaller venues since then but I'll always remember seeing them dwarfed in size on Kiss' huge arena stage.

A promotional Melvins sticker - front (above) and reverse (below).


Below: Three photos from the show (Photos by: Tim Meyer)


I could write a review of the show but it would just be a gushing love-fest. Instead you can read a few reviews that appeared in local papers in the days following the show:
07/14/96 - Minneapolis Star Tribune Review
07/15/96 - St. Paul Pioneer Press Review
Click HERE to see more photos from the show, including a few from local newspapers.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

One From The Archives: 07/13/88 Van Halen's Monsters Of Rock @ HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN

07-13-88 Van Halen Monsters Of Rock @ HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
(Image via Tiffibunny Flickr)

07/13/88 Van Halen's Monsters of Rock (Ticket)
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Sun Country Wine Coolers, Caramello Candy Bars, L.A. Gear High Tops and a week on the road with the Monsters of Rock. Sound like fun? Click HERE to see what that's all about...

The tour stopped at the H.H.H. Metrodome in Minneapolis and it was an amazing day of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. Metallica were arguably the best band of the day - something that I almost can't believe I saw considering how low they have sunk in the ensuing years in my estimation.

MTV's HeadBanger's Ball aired an episode that featured all the bands on the tour:
Click HERE for Kingdom Come.
Click HERE for Dokken.
Click HERE for Metallica.
Click HERE for Scorpions.
 Click HERE for Van Halen.

Metallica - Full Set


*Post Updated: 09/08/13 - 10:35pm

07/12/89 - 20 Years Ago in Duluth, MN - Cinderella/Winger/BulletBoys

Handbill (above) and ticket stub (below) for 07/12/89 Cinderella/Winger/BulletBoys show at Duluth, MN

(All images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
An item that appeared in the Duluth News Tribune newspaper a few days before the show. Click HERE to see full size.

This was a great show. Cinderella was touring in support of thier "Long Cold Winter" album, an album that still stands as one of the greates blues-rock/pop-metal albums of all time in my book. They had with them as support Winger, who were touring for their debut album and BulletBoys who were doing the same.
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We arrived early in the afternoon to party in the parking lot (as was custom in those days) and news (rumor?) spread around quickly that Cinderella drummer Fred Coury had been pinched at the band's hotel by the Duluth police for receiving a package that contained video cassettes - with some coke hidden inside them. I've never been able to find out if the story was true or not, but Coury was present and accounted for at the show so if it was true he must have made bail rather quickly.
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All three bands put on a killer show. BulletBoys were rather new to the national touring scene and were eager to prove they could hang with the big boys and they managed quite well. Winger was very very loud as I recall, probably louder than the headliner Cinderella. Cinderella was awesome - at one point vocalist Tom Keifer was sitting at a piano wich was positioned in a lighting truss that slowly lowered to the stage amid a swirl of "snow" and purple and white lighting - it was a very cool effect.
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Click HERE to see some cool MTV footage of Cinderella at the L.A. Forum from this tour.

Memories of the SonShine Festival 1985, 1986, 1987 @ Willmar, MN

(SonShine '85 Schedule autographed by members of Whiteheart)

(All Images and photos by/via: NYCDreamin)

07/12-13/85 Sonshine Festival 1985
Appearing: Rez Band/The Cruse/Imperials/Winkie Pratney/Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart/Michael W. Smith/Kathy Troccoli/Carman/Larry Tomczak/White Heart/Geoff Moore/Bryan Duncan

This was the first year I attended the SonShine christian music festival in Willmar, MN. My cousin David and I drove down to Willmar on a beautiful Friday afternoon and soon after we arrived the music got underway with a group called The Cruse. I don't remember much about this festival except that I was thrilled to be away from my parents for the weekend - we had been fighting quite a lot in recent months about the length of my hair, my chosen style of dress, and mostly about rock music, which, according to everything my parents heard and read at the time, was responsible for everything bad in society at large and a horrible and corrupting influence on the teenage mind in particular. I had been spending some time with David as he seemed a bit saner than my parents at the time and he had suggested to them that we attend this festival as he knew I'd probably enjoy getting the chance to see some live music, some of it even rock and roll. David had serious religious beliefs as well and was a big supporter of "contemporary Christian music", but he was a pretty cool guy and fun to hang out with.
The crowd on July 12, the first night of SonShine '85

There was only one group during the two days that I considered "Rock" - the Rez Band, a bunch of Jesus-Freak hippies who came from Chicago where they had a street ministry called Jesus People USA. I was pretty familiar with their music and was quite excited to see them and they did not disappoint. They put on a great blues-rock/metal headlining performance to close out the first night of the festival.
Stu Heiss (front) and Glen Kaiser of The Rez Band kicking ass for Jesus

After the music ended we grabbed some chow and headed over to camp in a tent in the back yard of some friend of David's. We left early the next morning to get back over to the festival grounds and the music again started soon after we arrived. White Heart started the day off with their pop style music and high energy show and after they were done I was able to get a few of their autographs on my festival flyer (see above). I seem to remember one of their members was brought up on child molestation charges somewhere shortly after this festival took place. Very nice - good Christian guy. The rest of the day was mostly alot of "Praise" style music that did nothing for me except keep me mildly amused. At one point late in the afternoon when one of the guest speakers was spouting some of his beliefs, he held up a few records including a Dio record (Holy Diver) and then a Venom record (At War with Satan), pointing these out as two of the most destructive and dangerous bands to be influencing teenagers at the time. I remember being quite bummed out as he smashed the records to the loud cheers of the sheep in the crowd - I would have taken them home and listened to them and loved them.

Soon the day turned into night and the praise music theme continued, finally ending with a performance by the highly revered (in that scene anyway) Imperials.
The Imperials close out SonShine '85


Soon it was all over and David and I left the festival grounds, went back over to his friends house and spent another night camped out in the back yard. We rose early the next day and returned home where I told my mom and step-father all about the festival and how much fun (?!) I'd had. As I stated above, I don't remember much about it anymore other than it was fun - and seriously disturbing - all at the same time. I immediately began to beg my parents to allow me to attend the following summer, which would prove to be better musically, and much more interesting on a whole 'nother level due to the weather.

Click HERE to see my full set of photos from SonShine '85.

07/11-12/86 SonShine Festival 1986
Appearing: Rez Band/David & the Giants/Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart (Cancelled due to weather)/Denny Duron/DeGarmo & Key/Sheila Walsh/Billy Crockett/Gaither Vocal Band/Geoff Moore/Meadowlark Lemon/Bash 'N' The Code

SonShine '86 Schedule autographed by Billy Crockett and Mark Townsend of Bash 'N' The Code
SonShine '86 Ticket for Day 2 - autographed on the reverse by Rez Band guitarist Stu Heiss
1986 was the second year in a row I attended the SonShine Christian music festival in Willmar, MN. On the first evening as the Rez Band was tearing up the stage with their bluesy JPUSA rock message, rain began falling quite heavily, causing them to cut their set short. They announced that since they could not finish their show, they would be appearing in one of the large merchandise tents near the stage to sign autographs and meet and pose for photos with their fans. I only managed to get the autograph of their guitarist Stu Heiss.
Wendy Kaiser, vocals, Rez Band, on stage during their brief set at SonShine '86


Most of my memories from this show are of the second evening, July 12. The day had been beautiful and sunny until late in the afternoon when the emcee, Chuck Bolte, came out on the stage as Mylon LeFevre and his band were about to begin their set, and announced that there was some pretty rough weather moving into the area and that we might have to take cover for a while and that after the weather passed through the show would continue. About 20 minutes later, the skies darkened, the wind picked up and it began to rain, then pour, then the hail started. The winds continued to become more fierce and shit started blowing away - people's tents, sleeping bags, coolers, almost anything that wasn't nailed down was being blown around the festival grounds. Soon the water began to pool on the (already wet from the rain the previous evening) grounds and the whole festival area was turned into a mucky, muddy mess. The poles on one of the huge merchandise tents snapped, causing the tent to partially collapse. And then the wind knocked over one of the sound towers and also sent columns of speakers near the front of the stage falling over the edge into the mud. While all of this was going on, I was hunkered down in a tent with some people I did not know but who had invited me in to take shelter with them. Sadly, I was out of film by the time all this went down or I surely would have taken some photos of all this carnage.


We knew then that the show was not gonna continue - the grounds were an absolute disaster and it was a lucky thing no one was seriously injured or killed. I seem to recall finding out later that there had been a tornado not too far away that caused all this to occur. After it was all over and the skies cleared out and the sun came back out, I wandered around the ruined festival grounds until I found the people I was there with and we packed up our soaking wet belongings and headed for home, thankful that none of us had been injured. This was the final year the festival was held on the grounds of the Willmar College Campus - probably due to the fact that they were in utter ruins after this fiasco was all over. The following year the festival was moved to a higher location on the grounds of the Willmar Civic Center parking lot.

Click HERE to see my full set of photos from SonShine '86.


07/10-11/87 SonShine Festival 1987
Appearing: Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart/Loren Cunningham/"Battle of the Bands" Winner/White Heart/Denny Duron/DeGarmo & Key/Morgan Cryer/Carman/David Meece Band/Kim Boyce/Chuck Bolte & Jim Custer/Altar Boys




SonShine '87 Program Booklet (above) and Ticket (below)

This was the third year in a row I attended the festival - this time I attended with Mom and a buddy of mine from my new high-school. Mom rented a hotel room in Willmar for us for the night of the 10th. No particular memories of this one other than I was a bit disappointed that Rez Band would not be appearing and I was also displeased with the new location - a parking lot on the grounds at the Willmar Civic Center, due in part to the near-disaster of the terrible storm that ended the 1986 festival on such a sour note. For some reason I didn't bring a camera this time around and as such have no photos from the 1987 festival. I think I picked up a record by Christian Metallers Bloodgood at this festival and I remember having it in my hands as I passed by the Peter's Bothers (I'll do a post on these morons at some other time) merchandise booth and they attacked the cover art - a single large blood drop, saying there was NO WAY that a band with that imagery on their album cover could be a Christian group. I also remember Mom being quite wore out after the show ended with a performance White Heart on Saturday night and she allowed me, a newly licenced driver, to drive us back home, my buddy and I sitting in the front while she sprawled out and snoozed in the back. It was a quiet ride home.



This was the final time I attended the SonShine festival, they still have it every year, but I have not been interested in attending as my taste and tolerance for Christian music kinda died off with my late teens. I have fond memories of the three years I did go, but it was mostly a way for me to get out of the house for a few days and see some live music, some of the only live music my parents would allow me to attend at the time. I graduated from high school the following summer and had much better shows to choose from - and the freedom to actually make those decisions on my own...