MARQUETTE - The 1980s will come to life again next weekend when a number of bands take part in 80s Scene and Reheard, a special event to support a worthy cause.
The Queen City Rockers, Trout Revenge and Blind Ambition, along with Mike Letts and The Marquettes, will rock My Place Lounge at the Holiday Inn in Marquette Saturday, Aug. 18, with a special open mic night Friday hosted by Fast Eddie Consolmagno, George Friend and Mike Letts.
"The bands involved for the main event Saturday will also be doing two songs at the open mic night as a sampler so people know what to expect on Saturday evening," said Michael Krieg of Blind Ambition who's one of the weekend's organizers.
Clockwise from top left: Blind Ambition, Queen City Rockers and Trout Revenge are three vintage 1980s bands coming together Aug. 17-18 to play for a good cause: Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Marquette County.
The two nights of vintage music will serve as a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marquette County. A suggested donation of $5 is being asked each night, with all proceeds going to the organization.
"Big Brothers and Big Sisters is an outstanding cause in Marquette and Alger County and with the initial 80s Scene and Reheard, Ron Carnell set up the benefit aspect of things," Krieg said. "When I started working on the 80s Scene and Reheard II with Rick Bissonnette and Ron Carnell in September of 2011, the beneficiary was staying the same as we hope to bring in as much as possible for BB/BS. All proceeds from the two-night event go directly to BB/BS.
"We all donate our time for this event and we do truly enjoy it."
On the Web:
80s Scene and Reheard page:
The Queen City Rockers:
Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Marquette County:
Taking part this year is John Kumjian, who was a big part of the local 1980s scene in bands like Spectrum. He'll be jamming as part of the Queen City Rockers and with Trout Revenge for the special weekend of music.
"I grew up in the Detroit area (St Clair Shores). I've been performing for the last 36 years. I got into music through my school music program, which was a fantastic opportunity for me," said Kumjian via email. "Because of my teachers' influences, I've made a career in music as a public school music teacher and a performing musician. I currently live in the Grand Traverse region and play in several groups, most notably The New Third Coast (contemporary folk), The Corvairs (rhythm and blues/classic rock), and I do a ton of recording with various groups/individuals around the region. I am primarily a drummer and also play guitar, bass, piano, harmonica and sing. I have been fortunate to play with some really fine musicians over the years."
His memories of his time in Marquette in the late 1970s and the 1980s are good ones, Kumjian said.
"These were the magical years for us and certainly the very best music education I ever received (along with my time in the music department at NMU). I was indeed fortunate to work with these people," he said.
Blind Ambition's Krieg has vivid recollections of the 1980s as well.
"The 80s scene for us was interesting," he said via email "We were something new (sound wise) and were not playing blues, jazz or classic tunes that most bands were playing at the time. Basically, you either loved us or hated us, there was no middle ground.
"We had a great following of college students that used to come and see us play at Joe's or What every weekend. We had a lot of support from some of the local musicians which was a great help in the early days since we were all new to the local music scene and were just learning the ropes. As far as we were concerned, we didn't care as to who liked us or who didn't, we were having the times of our lives playing music. Some of the venues we played back in the 80s left us wondering if we would make it through the set or get thrown out.
"Ah, the good old days."
Kumjian is looking forward to the 80s revival weekend.
"(I look forward to) seeing everybody and playing together again. We were like brothers/family back then. In many ways, we still are," Kumjian said. "All the bands were, and remain, friends after all these years. It is in many ways a long-lost family reunion.
"Besides, I enjoy getting involved for a good charity organization like BB/BS."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.