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Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 06:57 am

Halloweening and how


Friends, family and fellow musicians gather to celebrate the life of John Henry Johnson on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Robbie’ s on the Old Capitol Plaza in downtown Springfield.

Now, now my frantic friends, let this week bring out the inner Halloweener in you. But first, we have some sad and serious news to report in a joyous way.

This Sunday, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Robbie’s (thanks Archie!), musicians, family and friends gather to celebrate the life of John Henry Johnson. Born Dec. 3, 1954 and passing recently on Oct. 8, the respected and admired drummer, also known as JJ Rock or Rock Steady Johnson, was a true friend to music and musicians, showing his love of playing at each and every performance.

And there were many of those, as the list of bands and players he worked with is long and noteworthy, including Smoothtimes; Chahrm with Ada Lou; Crisp, Robert, Johnson and Parker, plus many more. Admission is free to the event with donations accepted for Johnson’s family. Honoring the life and music of John Henry Johnson by performing at the fundraiser is this incredible list of Midwest musicians including Santiago Roberts, Ada Lou Rogers, John Crisp, Frank Parker, Virgil Rhodes, Mark McKnight, Adrian Muex, LaMonte Parsons, Bill Boyce, Tebe Zalango, Johnny Owens, Lady Carole and others. This is a good time to reflect on all the great pleasure received from the many artists who rarely reap monetary rewards from their labors, yet never waver in offering up their talents.

Welcome to IT’s Best of Springfield issue. Congratulations to the winners and everyone who got and gave a vote. I’ll share with you what Perry Zubeck offered about the intense competition in the music scene. “I’d have to say,” he said, “there is no ‘Best of’ in music. There’s a best horseshoe, a best taco or bartender, but so many talents blow me away in this town.” Thanks Perry, on that I think we can all agree.

Now let’s move on to the Halloweening portion of our show. For my money the longest running and most ridiculously fun Halloween event must be the NIL8 hosted Hobgoblinspookadelic, appearing this year at Donnie’s Homespun on Saturday as an all ages show featuring NIL8, The Timmys, Seething Coast and Boon.

Second on my list of seriously silly stuff are tribute bands, you know, the groups that impersonate others. Why? Well, on Halloween they are no different than all the other folks dressing up and somehow then it makes sense to me. In this category we have Hush (Tool tribute) with Cemetery Gatez (Pantera tribute) at Catch 22 on Friday and ZZ Trip (you guess the tribute) at Boondocks on Saturday.

The next best for me are those bands that come in costume for Halloween shows, because it’s not an easy proposition to pull off. I’m sure many musicians will dress up for the night, but the only ones in Pub Crawl promoting such fun is the band Ran$om playing at the Boar’s Nest in Athens on Saturday.

On Halloween proper, the Tin Can Pub presents HELLOWEEN with Dead Zebbra plus Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes, a must see if ever there was one. I’m scared.

Please do yourself a fearful favor and peruse the Pub Crawl for all the dreadful Halloween-related shows this coming week, including several costume contests.

Two other events to mention: Steve Kaufman, the world-renowned bluegrass flatpicker and guitar instructor is at Samuel Music this weekend for clinics and a concert. Then, our good friend and Latham, Ill. native Chris Miller comes to visit from Nashville, 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday at the Walnut Street Winery. Joining Chris on his faithful Martin is electric guitarist Catfish Evans, with Joe Dawkins performing a guest set and Hobo Coble too, if he finds his way from Decatur.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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