Okay, okay! I know it took me 2+ months to write this article and another half month to get it on line, and I will not offer up the many good excuses I have for the tardiness. I will, however, apologize for my delay in documenting dozens of great shows condensed into three days and evenings at the East Lounge of the Gold Coast Hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 29 and 30, and Easter Sunday, March 31, 2002.
But I am ahead of myself. I must start, speaking of condensing a plethora of great talent into a short time frame, by once again taking my hat off to Ronny and Laurie Weiser for the wonderful party they hosted at Rancho Ronny's Rollin' Rock Record Studio/home on Wednesday, March 27.
It was ironic that the first group to kick off Ronny's party was also the official "House Band" of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame stage in the East Lounge, the great San Antonio rockabilly trio, The Bop Kings.
SAN ANTONIO'S BOP KINGS LED OFF ROCKIN' RONNY WEISER'S
PRE-VIVA LAS VEGAS PARTY. LEFT TO RIGHT: TOMCAT MILLER,
CASEY MILLER AND MIKE NELSONEY.
Not ever seeing The Bop Kings in person before, at first I didn't know who these guys were, but they were very impressive from the get-go! Dynamic, animated, talented and creative, The Bop Kings were a tough act to follow.
One of the nicest performers I have met in recent years is Barbara Burnette Her stage act is now in the form of a tribute band to the Johnny Burnette Rock N Roll Trio. In fact, the photo above is a close-up of a recent tattoo on Barbara's right arm that recreates a classic photo of the trio: Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, and Paul Burlison.
It's always nice to run in to Chicago's Carl Schrieber, as I did again at Ronny Weiser's party just before Carl took the stage.
CHICAGO'S CARL SCHREIBER MEETS
MY FRIEND DEBBIE FROM NAPLES, FLORIDA.
JUST ANOTHER TYPICAL, ALL AMERICAN ROCKABILLY COUPLE
HAVING FUN AT ROCKIN' RONNY'S "MEET AND GREET".
Also taking the stage at Ronny's "Meet and Greet" party was Cave Catt Sammy.
CAVE CATT SAMMY PERFORMING AT
RONNY WEISER'S "MEET AND GREET" PARTY.
(To see my review of their third CD on the Rubric Records label, click here)
RONNY AND LAURIE WEISER, ENJOYING THE GOOD MUSIC
THAT IS ALWAYS A PRODUCT OF THEIR GREAT PARTIES.
LYNNE GREENAMYRE, AKA LURLENE THE TRAILER COURT QUEEN,
ONCE AGAIN ENTERTAINS THE CROWD AT RANCHO RONNY'S.
AN UNIDENTIFIED FRIEND JOINS DARLENE AND KENNY BRUCE FROM DETROIT.
KENNY IS THE BASS PLAYER FOR BONES MAKI AND THE SUN DODGERS.
YOU COULD HAVE FOOLED ME!
TOGETHER THEY SOUNDED LIKE THEY HAD BEEN PLAYING TOGETHER FOR A LONG TIME,
BUT IT'S ACTUALLY TONY SLASH FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ON BASS,
BOBBY MARLAR ON VOCALS AND GUITAR WHO CURRENTLY HAS HIS OWN BAND OUT OF BOSTON,
AND TODD ON DRUMS WHO IS WITH THE SIN CITY SURFERS FROM (WHERE ELSE?) LAS VEGAS.
LLOYD TRIPP IS JOINED BY GARY SAX OF THE SIN CITY SURFERS AND OTHER MUSICIANS.
THE EAST LOUNGE SHOWS
Thanks to Bob Timmers, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the rockabilly artists and groups whose careers have been boosted by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, we had three days and nights of great shows at the East Lounge of the Gold Coast Hotel, which featured about three dozen acts.PERFORMANCES ON FRIDAY
As with Rockin' Ronny's "Meet and Greet" Party, The Bop Kings from San Antonio, Texas led off the Rockabilly Hall of Fame's East Lounge show at 2:00 PM (Las Vegas time).
THE BOP KINGS
LEFT TO RIGHT: GENE SUMMERS, KAY WHEELER, BOB TIMMERS, BARRY KLEIN
AND SANFORD CLARK ENJOY THE EAST LOUNGE SHOWS FRIDAY.
THE SILVERJETS, WHO TOOK THE EAST LOUNGE STAGE SEVERAL TIMES,
KICK OFF THEIR FIRST SET ON FRIDAY.
DAVE AND THE BAD CATS WITH BOB "GIT IT" KELLY PERFORM ON FRIDAY.
GERMANY'S ROCKIN' ROARY RETURNS FOR THE SECOND YEAR,
AND THIS TIME HE BRINGS HIS GROUP, THE STONE VALLEY BAND.
CASEY FROM THE BOP KINGS PARTICIPATES IN THE "ROCK N ROLL TRIO" TRIBUTE
HOSTED BY BARBARA BURNETTE
IAN OF THE LUSTRE KINGS DOES A COUPLE OF SONGS WITH BARBARA BURNETTE
AND HER "ROCK N ROLL TRIO" TRIBUTE.
DURING BARBARA BURNETTE'S TRIBUTE TO THE ROCK-N-ROLL TRIO,
JEROME, THE SINGER FROM THE SILVERJETS, JOINS IN.
TIME HAS BEEN KIND TO '50'S DALLAS ROCKABILLY LEGEND GENE SUMMERS,
WHO PUT ON A WONDERFUL SET BACKED BY THE SILVERJETS.
GENE SUMMERS' SON JOINS IN ON THE VOCALS.
GENE SUMMERS STOPS BY TO SAY HELLO AFTER HIS PERFORMANCE
DRAWING THE LARGEST CROWD . . . THE PALADINS
Saturday was indeed an unbelievable day from the first act, SouthBound 151 at 1:00 PM right through to The Silvertones, the Ontario, Canada "Westernbilly" group who came on stage darn near close to 2:00 a.m. early Sunday, and every single set was nothing short of spectacular! However, I must say that the biggest crowd, for the third year in a row, gathered to watch the "California Elvis", Glen Glenn, appear at 8:00. Backed by terrific musicians including Alan Clark, Gator, and a special appearance by Sandy Nelson, there was even a logjam in the area outside the East Lounge between the check-in lobby and the casino, where a packed crowd stood to experience this great rockabilly legend.
After Glen Glenn's performance, San Francisco's Dave Crimmen provided the music for Kay Wheeler to recreate her famous dance sequence from the first rockabilly movie, "Rock Baby Rock It", which was filmed in 1956 and released in 1957.
SOUTHBOUND 151 STARTED OFF THE SHOW ON SATURDAY
L.A. BASED DULCE YOUNGER AND THE SILENCERS PERFORM SATURDAY AFTERNOON
THE RADIO FLYERS TAKE THE STAGE WITH RIP CARSON ON BASS.
RUSSELL SCOTT OF RUSSELL SCOTT AND HIS RED HOTS STOPS BY SATURDAY.
HE CLOSED THE SHOW ON FRIDAY.
RONNY AND LAURIE WEISER, WHO WERE RESPLENDENT IN THEIR MATCHING WESTERN OUTFITS,
TAKE A SEAT IN THE EAST LOUNGE BOOTH TO ENJOY THE SHOWS ON SATURDAY.
PROFESSOR JOHNNY AND THE RHYTHM SCHOLARS ARE LED BY FORMER COMMANDER CODY BAND MEMBER JOHN TICHY AND HIS SON GRAHAM.
(Small World Department: John's Aunt Patti was a houseguest of mine in Florida in February, but at the time I didn't know the connection.)
HERE'S JOHN TICHY (with blonde hair and plaid shirt in back row)
ALMOST 30 YEARS AGO WHEN HE WAS A MEMBER OF COMMANDER CODY
AND THE LOST PLANET AIRMEN (HE WAS THE VOCALIST ON "CRYING TIME" AND SEVERAL
OTHER OF THEIR WELL KNOWN SONGS).
LEFT, GRAHAM TICHY, WHO PERFORMED WITH PROFESSOR JOHNNY AND THE RHYTHM SCHOLARS,
ALSO PERFORMED TWO SETS WITH HIS BAND, BONES MAKI AND THE SUN DODGERS.
THAT'S HIS DAD, JOHN TICHY, ON THE RIGHT, WHO LED THE GROUP PROFESSOR
JOHNNY AND THE RHYTHM SCHOLARS, AND JOHN'S RESUME' INCLUDES A LONG STINT
WITH COMMANDER CODYAND HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN.
IN REAL LIFE, JOHN TICHY IS A PROFESSOR AND DEPARTMENT CHAIR OF
MECHANICAL AND AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS AT RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE.
SANFORD CLARK MAKES HIS FIRST VLV APPEARANCE AND IS
JOINED BY JOHNNY VALLIS, WHO WAS ON OUR STAGE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.
WELCOME "SANFORD" AND "WELCOME BACK "JOHNNY".
(Photo courtesy Johnny Vallis)
FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW IT WAS STANDING ROOM ONLY FOR GLEN GLENN.
IT'S CASH AND CAT ON THE EAST LOUNGE DANCE FLOOR SATURDAY.
SANDY "TEEN BEAT" NELSON TAKES THE DRUMS.
SANDY WAS THE FIRST ROCK'N ROLL FRONT MAN DRUMMER, WHOSE HITS INCLUDE
"TEEN BEAT" AND "LET THERE BE DRUMS"
SAN FRANCISCO'S VERY TALENTED DAVE CRIMMEN PERFORMS ON THE
ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME STAGE FOR THE FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW AT VIVA LAS VEGAS.
AFTER HIS PEFORMANCE BEFORE A PACKED CROWD, GLEN GLENN STAYS
BUSY WITH THE LONG LINE AT THE AUTOGRAPH TABLE.
BONES MAKI AND THE SUN DODGERS PERFORMED TWO SPIRITED SETS,
THIS ONE ON SUNDAY ON THE EAST LOUNGE STAGE.
At 11:00 PM we celebrated a CD release party that featured an energetic set by Josie Kruezer, commemorating the release of her third CD, "Beggin' Me Back ". Judging from the crowd's reaction and the long line at the autograph table, we know Josie's new CD is a hit!
DAVE CRIMMEN PROVIDES THE MUSIC FOR KAY WHEELER TO RECREATE HER FAMOUS
DANCE SCENE FROM THE ROCKABILLY MOVIE CLASSIC, "ROCK BABY ROCK IT".
SUE THOMPSON, WHO WOWED THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME WEST LOUNGE LAST YEAR
WITH MANY OF HER HITS, INCLUDING "SAD MOVIES" AND "NORMAN",
THIS YEAR APPEARED WITH HER ORIGINAL BAND FROM THE EARLY 1960'S.
At midnight, when it officially became Easter Sunday, Rip Carson took the stage and, not surprisingly, energized the crowd with his celebrated vocal style and charismatic performance. Rip does a wonderful job with his own compositions, as well as rockabilly classics which he performs faithfully, but always with his own imprint.
JOSIE KRUEZER STIRS UP THE CROWD WITH SEVERAL SELECTIONS FROM
HER NEW CD "Beggin' Me Back".
IT PAYS TO BE LAST IN LINE AT THE AUTOGRAPH TABLE!
The last two acts in the wee hours of Saturday night (actually early Easter Sunday morning) were two acts from Michigan and nearby Ontario that I took great pride in introducing to the Viva Las Vegas fans.
RIP CARSON - NOT ONLY A GREAT STAGE SHOW,
BUT A VERY TALENTED MUSICIAN, SINGER AND SONGWRITER.
Cash O'Riley and the Downright Daddies are a group I had met about two years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan at a Big Sandy show. When I saw them perform last year in Royal Oak, Michigan at the Motor City Spin-Out www.rockabillyhall.com/BarryKMotorCity.html, I knew this group had a great future. Judging from the crowd's reaction, I believe we are going to hear a lot more from Cash O'Riley and the Downright Daddies.
In late 2001, I noticed that a group from Ontario, Canada, The Silvertones, seemed to be making a lot of appearances in Michigan. Because I was in Florida at the time, I was unable to catch this group, so I obtained their new CD, "New Hi-Fi Westernbilly Styles Vol. #1", and invited them to perform at the East Lounge. They not only closed our late Saturday (early Sunday morning) show to a very appreciative audience, but they really got the crowd going when they opened our Sunday afternoon show at 2:00 PM on Easter Sunday. They call themselves a "Westernbilly" band, but the Silvertones do a darn good job with several genres, including western swing, hillbilly bop, rockabilly, and rock and roll. They even did a very faithful rendition of "White Lightning" a hit for George Jones, which was written by J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper). At any rate, after the crowd heard two sets each from Bones Maki and the Sun Dodgers, Cash O'Riley and the Downright Daddies, and the Silvertones, no one accused me of booking bands from or near Detroit because of ethnocentrism - all of these groups were just great!
JACKSON, MICHIGAN IS FAMOUS FOR TWO THINGS: THE STATE PENITENTIARY
AND A BAD-ASS BAND, CASH O'RILEY AND THE DOWNRIGHT DADDIES.
After such a great day on Saturday starting at 1:00 PM and ending at almost 3:00 AM Sunday, I didn't know what kind of a crowd we would have, in spirit or number, early Easter Sunday, but three consecutive sets by The Silvertones, Bones Maki and the Sun Dodgers, and Cash O'Riley and the Downright Daddies demonstrated that the performers on stage, and a ready-to-rumble audience were all poised for a rock and roll party.
From 5:00 PM until after midnight, the crowd still hung around and were treated to an encore set by Ronnie Lee Twist. Ronnie Lee Twist is a Wyoming-based singer, songwriter and performer who was born in Germany, grew up in Marin County, California, and lived in Nashville for several years in the 80's before returning to California. He has always been in music, as a Johnny Cash Tribute Band, radio personality, poet, songwriter, and rock 'n roll performer. His two sets on the East Lounge stage were well-received, and showcased his many talents.
FROM ONTARIO, CANADA, THE SILVERTONES,
STARTED THE SUNDAY AFTERNOON EASTER PERFORMANCE WITH A GREAT SET.
BONES MAKI AND THE SUN DODGERS HAD THE CROWD SCREAMING AND HOLLERING
EVEN LOUDER THAN SATURDAY NIGHT.
CASH O'RILEY AND THE DOWNRIGHT DADDIES DIDN'T LET ANYTHING STOP THEM SUNDAY, NOT EVEN
CASH'S BROKEN GUITAR STRING, WHICH ALLOWED TIME FOR JONNY AND ME TO TELL SOME JOKES.
THAT ELVIS IMPERSONATOR WITH RONNIE LEE TWIST IS ACTUALLY HIS MOM.
THIS NOT ONLY CAUGHT THE INTEREST OF EVERYONE IN THE EAST LOUNGE,
IT SURE STOPPED TRAFFIC OUTSIDE OF THE LOUNGE ALSO.
One of two wonderful surprises on Saturday night included a rockabilly group from El Paso, Texas, The Rhythm Shakers, who were simply fantastic, and generated two encores.
THE "ROCK AND ROLL REALTOR" DOING A FEW MOVES DURING "BLUE SUEDE SHOES".
A JAM SESSION FEATURING DAVE AND THE BAD CATS, WHICH INCLUDED: DAVE HERMSEN, T.C. GEBHEIM,
RONNIE LEE TWIST, BARRY KLEIN AND BOB TIMMERS
BARRY SAYS, "SORRY FOLKS, NO TIME FOR AN ENCORE",
AS RONNIE TWIST LAUGHS AND BOB TIMMERS LOOKS AT HIS WATCH.
The band that probably made more performances than any other group at Viva Las Vegas V was The Silverjets. Jerome and his group not only did two sets themselves, but they backed up several groups, including Gene Summers' great set, and also Sanford Clark, Barbara Burnette, Johnny Vallis and more. Way to go, Silverjets!
THE RHYTHM SHAKERS FROM EL PASO, TEXAS,
ONE OF THE "BREAKTHROUGH BANDS" OF VIVA LAS VEGAS V
What better act to finish Viva Las Vegas V for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame stage show at the east lounge than San Francisco's Dave Crimmen and his band?? This was the fourth year in a row that Dave Crimmen has performed for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and he currently holds the record for number of performances. Singer, songwriter, musician and performer, Dave is just a wonderful, enjoyable act. There's no better way to end a wonderful weekend at the East Lounge at Viva Las Vegas V!
LURLENE THE TRAILER COURT QUEEN IN FULL COSTUME
PERFORMED ON SUNDAY EVENING.
THE BUZZARDS, FROM LONG ISLAND, WERE ANOTHER GREAT BREAKTHOUGH BAND. THAT'S ROY WILSON ON LEAD GUITAR AND VOCALS.
Editor's Note: Barry Klein writes for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and his book, "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll", was published in 1997. To contact Barry, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a list of Barry's other articles and interviews for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, go to