I’ve always loved Rockford, Illinois. It’s my hometown.
It’s certainly had its up and downs, but its always supported a vibrant music scene.
Numerous bars catering to live music have come and gone, but one has withstood the test of time, partly due to its steadfast commitment to promoting live music.
It’s the oldest bar in town, having opened its doors in 1919.
It’s called Mary’s Place and, for nearly 30 years, its been owned and operated by a longtime friend of mine.
However, her name’s not Mary. It’s Becky, and she’s the one who turned this hole-in-the-wall bar into a mecca for live music.
That’s what brought Darrell Chumley, better known as DC, to Rockford. He hosts a show on Youtube from “AJ’s on Main,” a barbecue restaurant in Grapevine, Texas, called “Barside Jive.”
We hang out and drink beers with musicians, artists, authors, actors, dancers and anyone else we find interesting or particularly badass.
However, when he hears about a venue that piques his interest, such as Mary’s Place, he stops by and records a segment for his show. As a result, he’s preparing to broadcast an interview with Bun E. Carlos that was filmed at Mary’s Place.
Carlos, who became a hometown hero as the drummer for Cheap Trick, can be found performing there on the first Monday of each month with his “Monday Night Band.”
Click on the video below to view DC’s teaser. As you’ll see, Mary’s Place is extremely small. If you subscribe to his Youtube page, you’ll be alerted to when this particular show will air. Go ahead, it’s free. (Exclusive to Give it a Spin: DC expects the show to air this Thursday at 1 p.m. CST.)
Follow the link below to view Carlos and the Monday Night Band playing “Like It That Way” at Mary’s Place, recorded by Picklemic and featured on Youtube. It’s a classic R&B jam. https://youtu.be/ajaVMxSSAx8
This past June, Carlos released his first solo album “Greetings from Bunezuela.” The following quote appears in a story published in the Chicago Tribune.
The cast of indie-rock royalty on Carlos’ new “Greetings from Bunezuela!” (Entertainment One Music) features Chicago-based luminaries John Stirratt of Wilco and Rick Rizzo of Eleventh Dream Day. Other guests include Guided By Voices’ frontman Robert Pollard and alt-country veteran Alejandro Escovedo. Carlos and crew take on a diverse mix of material, including covers of songs by rock gods Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones and disco-pop kings the Bee Gees.
Carlos has also been a member of “Tinted Windows,” formed by guitarist James Iha, previously of The Smashing Pumpkins, singer Taylor Hanson of Hanson, and bassist Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Ivy.
They released a critically acclaimed self-titled album in 2009.
The whole album is a love letter to power pop — everything from Weezer to the Knack to Big Star — and to simple, guitar-driven songs, Hanson says of the band’s first album, Tinted Windows. Essentially, it’s a barrage of loud guitars paired with Hanson’s sugary pop vocals and the classic backbeat of Cheap Trick.
Ten years ago, Cheap Trick tipped its hat to its hometown with the release of its fifteenth studio album.
It’s kind of a shock to discover that 2006’s “Rockford” is a good, solid Cheap Trick record. Scratch that – it’s a very, very good Cheap Trick record.
Give it a spin.