Posts Tagged ‘Massillon Ohio’

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Run-Run-RUNAWAYS!

August 29, 2008

A publicity photo of the Runaways taken a couple months before I saw them in Massillon, OH.

Recently while driving down the road with my youngest son (25-years-old) the song ‘Tush’ by ZZ Top came on the radio. I mentioned to him how I liked Joan Jett’s version and we started talking about her. He had no idea she was in a band, The Runaways, prior to forming Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. So I told him about having all their albums, a few 8-tracks and seeing them live a couple times back in the day.

 

The next day I surfed online for some Runaways information to see what LPs were available on CD and came across the news that drummer and co-founder Sandy West had passed away on October 21, 2006 at the age of 47 of lung cancer. I had no idea. It was a sad moment because I instantly flashed back to a night in 1976 when Sandy took the time to talk to myself, Flash, Mott and Bug.

 

Joan Jett and Sandy West formed The Runaways in August 1975 and by the first of the year rock magazines like Creem, Circus, Hit Parader, Who Put The Bomp!, Cleveland Scene and even a British paper or two (I got them all back then) had begun writing about a new LA band made up of teenage girls who weren’t bubble gum or sugar coated, they were hardcore rockers (the term punk was also being bandied about). That new band was The Runaways and producer Kim Fowley, who always made the magazines, was their producer.

 

In March ’76 they entered the studio, recorded their first album, The Runaways, and went on tour amid lots of hype and media coverage. On June 1, 1976 The Runaways’ debut album was released and I dutifully bought it, I think at Far East Audio in Wooster, OH. I also picked up the 8-track for the Lincoln (I had a all black ’63 Lincoln Continental Towncar with suicide doors in mint condition).

 

Soon after word filtered out that The Runaways were going to be playing at The Wine Cellar in Massillon, OH, a nightclub. When the night came Flash, Bug, Mott and myself headed east to Massillon and caught their show. My Gawd, it was true! They were only 16 and 17! Jailbait!

 

It was a hot, sweaty, sticky night with a full crowd in attendance and while a bit sloppy I guess, The Runaways rocked the house by sheer enthusiasm, tenacity and guts. You couldn’t help but like them even though they were on par with some of the local bands talent-wise at that time.

 

After they were done we hung around for a couple more drinks and while getting ready to head out we walked by Sandy West who apparently was coming out for a cigarette before they closed The Wine Cellar for the night. We stopped and complimented her and the band and she was, looking back, gracious enough to stop and talk to us for a good 15 or 20 minutes.

 

She was fun, cute, friendly and loved rock ‘n roll.

 

That was a night we had a ton of fun. The original line-up of The Runaways that night consisted of Joan Jett (16), Sandy West (16), Lita Ford (17), Jackie Fox (16) and Cherie Currie (16).

 

I saw them one other time, on March 13, 1978 (three days before my oldest son was born and a day or two before a HUGE blizzard hit this area) at the Flying Machine in Akron, OH. The band line-up at that time included, Jett, West, Ford and Vicki Blue.

 

Apparently there is a film, Edgeplay, a Runaways documentary. I need to find that. One caveat is Joan Jett reportedly refused to have anything to do with the documentary personally.

 

After The Runaways broke up in 1979, Sandy West formed the Sandy West Band as a singer, drummer and guitarist. She released one solo EP.

 

For more information on Sandy, Rocket City Records has a great tribute online, the Sandy West Tribute.

The late Sandy West in action. Tom Golden Photo

The late Sandy West in action. Tom Golden Photo

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MOTT THE HOOPLE: BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

August 13, 2008
Mott The Hoople ruled in north central Ohio in 1973.

Mott The Hoople ruled in north central Ohio in 1973.

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

 

One stadium venue that I, and many others, initially thought would make a great place for concerts was Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, OH. Spacious and, even better, close to home (somewhere around 15 miles east of Orrville.) We finally got our wish in 1973 when the Edgar Winter Group, James Gang and Frampton’s Camel all appeared at the historic stadium named for football’s greatest coach and home for an Ohio powerhouse team (Massillon Tigers).

 

It took promoters some time and effort to stage the concert as many politicians, and the police, were against rock concerts. Eventually the politicians relented and then Mayor Mark Ross signed a permit giving the green light. Over 12,000 people were in attendance for that inaugural concert on July 21, including Rick, Roy and myself. It went off without a hitch and we thought we would have another concert venue close to home for big name acts.

 

A week later, July 28, a second concert was scheduled, one I HAD to see! Mott The Hoople, one of my favorite bands of the 70’s (and still today) was coming to headline along with the New York Dolls and Dr. Hook. I think half of my hometown of Orrville, OH turned out for that one. Even Cid-Mor and Gail, two female rockers, hitchhiked from Orrville to Massillon to see Mott The Hoople. Everything seemed to go along just fine, the music was great, the Dolls were insane and Mott The Hoople just, plainly speaking, kick-ass. What a show!

Later we found out that there were an abundance of calls to the police for a variety of complaints and reasons (to wit; drug overdoses, 5 men injured, 1 car theft, 1 grand larceny, 1 attempted grand larceny, 28 calls for trouble and a fire!). The city fathers, and especially the police department, were not happy.

 

 

An infuriated Fraternal Order of Police organization went to the mat with the city council and got concerts banned from the facility.

 

One reason was an attempt by non-ticket holders who tried to force their way in. Apparently the fence that was blanketed with some kind of material to obstruct the vision of those on the outside was set on fire. It wasn’t until the middle of the night we discovered the arson was set by some pissed off Orrville rockers who couldn’t get into the sold out event to see Mott The Hoople.

 

Thanks mainly to WMMS radio in Cleveland, the Orrville, OH rocker population, and most rockers throughout Wayne County, had Mott The Hoople fever. We had all the albums, bought the 8-Track tapes, played their songs on the jukebox at Gene & Kate’s Pool Hall in Orrville, you’re damn right we’re going to see them.

 

Despite their best efforts, and a bit of arson, the friendly police persuaded (by their oncoming presence) Slick, Bug and the others to hightail it the hell out of there.

 

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium was constructed in 1949 through the Works Progress Administration program. It is primarily used for football and is the home field of the Massillon Washington High School. The stadium holds 16,600 and is named after former Tiger and famous football head coach, Paul Brown.

 

 

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium - Mott The Hoople ruled here for a day, a day the music ended at this venue.

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium – Mott The Hoople ruled here for a day, a day the music ended at this venue.

 

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