If it was not the Kansas City area’s earliest and most consequential rock club, The Soc Hop was certainly one of them. Created in 1960 in an old cattle barn near the northwest corner of 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue, The Soc Hop was part of the transformation of Johnson County, Kan., from rural to suburban. (Click on map/business card below right and all thumbnail photos on this page to enlarge.) It was the creation of brothers-in-law Mike Weaver and Ed Bowers, who saw it as both a … [Read more...] about The Soc Hop(s) rocked
If Kansas Citians know him at all, they likely know Ray Hildebrand from his 14 years as an executive of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the evangelistic enterprise whose headquarters looms over the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium. But Hildebrand will take the stage Friday, March 2, at the Midland Theater as part of the Ultimate Doo Wop Show. He and his original partner, Jill Jackson, will perform their #1 hit song, “Hey, Paula,” for the first time in Kansas City as Paul and … [Read more...] about Paul and Paula and Ray
The birthplace of punk rock in Kansas City is coming down. Well, maybe not the birthplace, but the site of one of the earliest clubs to feature punk and new wave music, mainly by local bands, in a big way has an imminent date with the wrecking ball. According to a story at kshb.com, the orange brick building on the southeast corner of 47th and Troost is coming down to make way for a new Ollie Gates shopping center. Lately, it housed a payday loan operation. But in 1981 it was the Music Box, … [Read more...] about A punk progenitor
Epitaph, 11 E. 31st St., was the apotheosis of punk in Kansas City. Shabby-chic, tragically hip and infused with art-student sensibilities, the bar was a stone’s throw from VFW Post #18 but miles from that scene’s hardcore aesthetic. Black lights made the blue martinis served by bartender Rubber Robbin glow even more devilishly. No doubt, though, it was Epitaph’s blood red and evil black color scheme and its gothic iconography of crosses and crowns that drew Christian picketers to the … [Read more...] about An epitaph for Epitaph
Kansas City Star Books has published a winner with its new “The Kings of Cut-Rate: The Very American Story of Isaac and Michael Katz,” by Brian Burnes and Steve Katz. The authors had great material to work with, starting with the rags-to-riches story of the Katz brothers and including dozens of vivid images of their marketing mastery, many featuring the unforgettable grinning-cat logo. The book touches on Kansas City music history, mainly the 25-plus-year run of Katz Drug Co.’s annual, free … [Read more...] about Go, Katz, Go!
The magnificent Art Deco Municipal Auditorium, which will host a 75th birthday party Thursday, Oct. 13, has been the site of much Kansas City Rock History. Elvis Presley played three concerts there – May 24, 1956; Nov. 15, 1971; and June 29, 1974. Other notable shows include the Jimi Hendrix Experience Nov. 1, 1968, and the Rolling Stones (with Stevie Wonder opening), June 22, 1972. I saw several great rock shows at Municipal -- Frank Zappa (12/5/81), Prince (3/19/83), Willie Nelson (2/25/79) … [Read more...] about Municipal Auditorium turns 75