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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Milwaukee Air & Water Show 2015

2015 Milwaukee Air & Water Show: One of Wisconsin’s Largest Family-Friendly Free Events

This summer, Milwaukee’s lakefront will once again play host to one of Wisconsin’s largest family-friendly free events – the Milwaukee Air & Water Show. The show, which has grown into quite the spectacle since its debut back in 2004, will take place at the lakefront between Bradford and McKinley Beach on the weekend of July 25th and 26th.

This year’s July time slot will push the show a month later than the city’s previous Air & Water Show – a move in which organizers hope will prevent a repeat of last year’s fog issues that grounded the air show for the entire weekend. Barring more fog troubles or other inclement weather situations at this year’s event, the water show will run both days from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. followed by the ever-popular air show, which is scheduled to take place from noon to 4 p.m. each day.

The announced headliners for this year’s air show include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who will pilot their internationally recognized red, white, and blue F-16 Falcon jets and France’s Breitling Precision Jet Team, the world’s largest team of professional civilian jet performers. Also headlining the event are the U.S. Army Golden Knights, the U.S. Army’s official Parachute Demonstration Team and the Aerostars Formation Aerobatic Team, whose breath-taking passes and awe-inspiring maneuvers always delight the crowd.

Headliners for this year’s water show have yet to be announced.

The 2015 Milwaukee Air & Water Show will also feature an interactive display that lets show attendees get up close and personal with a real A-7 Corsair II – the type of light attack aircraft that was flown by the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. While exploring the interactive display, guests are welcome to try on a variety of pilot gear and may even climb inside the cockpit of the aircraft itself.

There will also be plenty of quality vendors located along the lakefront ready to provide food and drinks to those in attendance. As such, event organizers are asking for spectators to leave their coolers, grills, and food at home and to instead support the local economy by purchasing their food and drinks from the lakefront vendors.

Though the event itself is free to the public, tickets for reserved seating and parking will be made available by the event organizers. Tickets for the reserved parking, specifically, will be very limited and as such, are expected to sell out quickly. Be sure to purchase your reserved seating and parking tickets well in advance if you wish to take advantage of such conveniences.

For more information about the 2015 Milwaukee Air & Water Show, please visit their website at www.milwaukeeairshow.com.

Mexican Fiesta 2015

Mexican Fiesta - Three Days of Fun, Food, Music, and Culture

For over 40 years, Mexican Fiesta has celebrated the sounds, culture, and tastes of Mexico while honoring the traditions and family-values of the growing Hispanic community. This year’s festival will once again be held at Milwaukee’s Summerfest Grounds located at 200 North Harbor Drive and will run August 21st to 23rd from noon until midnight each day.

The family-oriented event will feature many culturally-themed attractions, including a gallery of Latino-influenced artwork, an impressive lineup of national and international musicians and entertainers, and lucha libre wrestling on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be midway rides, a children’s area with a dedicated children’s stage, a handmade craft fair, and over 400 food vendors, exhibitors, and sponsors at the commercial expo.

As Mexican Fiesta would not be complete without some contests to enjoy throughout the three day event, the organizers have added several to the weekend’s festivities. On Friday, dancers will celebrate the rhythms of merengue and salsa during the salsarengue contest. Another dance contest will occur on Saturday, as well as a traditional Mexican screaming contest and a hopping contest. Saturday will also feature Hot Wheelz 2015 – a car and motorcycle show with fantastic cash prizes. On Sunday there will be a traditional costume contest for children aged 1 to 11, a jalapeƱo eating contest, and an amateur bachata dance contest.

Tickets for the festival are $13 pre-sale or $15 at the gate, but there are free admission opportunities available. Anyone wishing to attend the festival without paying the entry fee will be granted free access to the grounds on Friday between noon and 3 p.m. Seniors aged 65 and over, people with disabilities, and active military personnel and veterans can also attend Mexican Fiesta free of charge on both Saturday and Sunday by arriving between noon and 1 p.m. Current identification will be required at the gate. Children aged 8 and under are always free with a paid adult admission.

More information about Milwaukee’s Mexican Fiesta can be obtained by visiting their website at www.mexicanfiesta.org or by contacting festival organizers directly by emailing info@mexicanfiesta.org or calling 414-383-7066.

Milwaukee Untapped Tours

Don’t Just See Milwaukee – Experience It with Untapped Tours!

Untapped Tours of Milwaukee, host of “Milwaukee’s most complete city tour”, not only lets you see the city from the comfort of a private air-conditioned bus, but it also helps you to experience it like a local. For three full hours you’ll witness firsthand what makes Milwaukee such a uniquely vibrant city as you visit some of the city’s best attractions.

While touring the city, guests learn about the rich history of the area while visiting some of the city's more famous attractions like the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park, and North Point Lighthouse. Lesser known sites, however, are by no means forgotten and are also given their due attention as the tour progresses.

Over the course of the tour, you’ll drive past some of Milwaukee’s most stately mansions, while making plenty of photo stops at some of the city’s most beautiful locations and famous landmarks. You’ll also be invited to enjoy a cheese “sampling” at Clock Shadow Creamery, Milwaukee’s only urban cheese factory, as well as a beer or soda tasting at Lakefront Brewery, where guests receive a complementary pint glass to remember the occasion.

Though certain destinations are commonly visited during the tour, it is important to note that not all tours feature the same attractions due to game day restrictions or other closures. Not to worry, as there is always plenty to see and do along the ride and many great photo opportunities to be had. If you have your heart set on visiting a specific location and are concerned about missing out, however, you can always inquire about which locations will be featured on which dates before making your reservation.

Anyone interested in taking the tour must first make a reservation, which can be made online at www.untappedtours.com/book/calendar.aspx through the site’s calendar application. The tour, which runs daily from late spring through to early fall, costs $38 per person, with lap-seated infants riding free of charge. If at all possible, book early to ensure your preferred date and required number of seats are still available.

Once you’ve made a reservation and your reserved tour date has arrived, it is requested that you check in with Untapped Tours ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. You are asked to check in with the group at City Hall, which is located downtown at 200 East Wells Street at the intersection of East Wells and Water Street. From there you will begin the tour. The tours generally start at 10 a.m., though Sunday tours tend start an hour later.

If for whatever reason you are unable to take the tour during your reserved time slot, not all is lost. Rain checks are provided upon request, though refunds are not. Please keep in mind that any participants under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of the tour and to keep the experience more personal in nature, each tour is limited to just 11 guests.

More information about Milwaukee’s most complete city tour can be obtained by visiting Untapped Tours’ website at www.untappedtours.com, emailing info@untappedtour.com, or by calling 414-698-8058.

Westown River Rhythms

Westown River Rhythms – Free Outdoor Concert Series

The 2015 summer concert series at Pere Marquette Park should be a good one if their posted schedule is any indication. Over the course of the 12 week series, the park will fill with a range of sounds from an assortment of musical genres. The free outdoor concert series will run every Wednesday night from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. from June 10th through August 26th.

This year’s lineup again consists primarily of Milwaukee-area talent with a couple international bands also scheduled to perform on the riverside stage. The first international group to perform will be one of Ireland’s top traditional groups, FullSet, on August 12th, followed by Australia’s BROTHER who will bring their unique Celtic tribal flavor to the stage August 19th.

The full 2015 Westown River Rhythms schedule is as follows:

June 10: Painted Caves (Middle Eastern psychedelic meets California surf rock)

June 17: Uprising (pop/rock)

June 24: De La Buena (Latin American meets African diasporic)

July 1: WhiskeyBells (traditional country and Americana)

July 8: Thriftones (multiple genres)

July 15: Trapper Schoepp (Americana rock)

July 22: The Rockin’ Johnny Band (blues)

July 29: Copper Box (accordion-fueled roots rock)

August 5: Five Card Studs (soul, rock, and disco hits from the 60s and 70s)

August 12: FullSet (traditional Irish)

August 19: BROTHER (Celtic tribal)

August 26: Hugh Bob and the Hustle (heartland rock n’ roll)

Pere Marquette Park is located right on the Milwaukee River at 900 North Plankinton Avenue. For more information about Westown River Rhythms, please visit the Westown Association’s website at www.westown.org/neighborhood-events/river-rhythms-2/.

Summerfest 2015

Summerfest 2015 – 11 Days, 11 Stages, and Over 800 Acts

This year’s Summerfest, which runs from June 24th to July 5th (with a break June 29th), is shaping up to be quite the event. Between 11 grounds stages and the Marcus Amphitheater, the festival is set to host to over 800 acts from a wide variety of musical genres. With so many great musicians confirmed to play at Summerfest 2015, the festival should have no trouble drawing in its typical size crowd of nearly 900,000 avid music lovers.

There are several major acts lined up to perform at Summerfest 2015 – the most famous of these taking the stage at the Marcus Amphitheater. Headliners of the Marcus Amphitheater include Florida Georgia Line, Kings of Leon, Keith Urban, Stevie Wonder, Zac Brown Band, Linkin Park, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, and Neil Young with Promise of the Real. Two additional headliners have yet to be named. Please note that if you plan on attending any of the Marcus Amphitheater shows, you must purchase tickets to the specific event as general admission to Summerfest does not grant entry to the Marcus Amphitheater.

For those of you not attending the Marcus Amphitheater concerts, there are still plenty of other great headliners scheduled to play at the many grounds stages accessible by anyone holding a Summerfest 2015 pass. Some of the larger names include Sheryl Crow, Jane’s Addiction, The Doobie Brothers, Lindsey Stirling, Magic!, Public Enemy, Paris Hilton, Martina McBride, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. The list is so extensive, however, that it’s hard to truly do it justice. In total, over 1000 performances will take place during the 11-day festival.

A full listing of the festival’s headliners, with separate lists for Marcus Amphitheater performers and those performing on the 11 grounds stages, can be found at http://summerfest.com/2015-lineup/.

Though music is primarily what Summerfest is about, it’s by no means the only attraction. While on the grounds you can also enjoy a wide range of food and beverages provided by over 45 vendors. No matter what you are craving, whether it is a light snack or a full meal, they’ve got you covered. You can also enjoy a cold Miller Lite, the official beer of Summerfest 2015 (if you are of legal drinking age) and check out the four marketplaces that will be selling a variety of items including apparel, artwork, jewelry, and home accessories.

There are various ticket options available for those planning to attend Summerfest 2015, one of which is bound to suit your attendance style and budget. Here is a little more information about the available ticket options:

General Admission – This $19 ticket grants one-day entry to the festival. It doesn’t provide access to any of the Marcus Amphitheater shows, but it does grant access to the rest of the festival grounds and all of the grounds stages. This ticket may be used to gain entry to the grounds any day and time during Summerfest 2015’s operating hours.

Weekday Admission – This ticket costs only $12 and grants one-day entry to the festival grounds, including access to all the grounds stages. The only stipulation is that you must enter the park between noon and 4 p.m. on a weekday to take advantage of this deal. Please note the festival is closed Monday, June 29th.

3-Day Pass – This pass, which costs $45, acts as three General Admission tickets. It grants you any day and time entry to the festival grounds and its 11 grounds stages for three separate days over the course of the festival.

11-Day Power Pass – This ticket, perfect for serious music lovers, costs $80 (while supplies last) and grants you general admission to the grounds each day for the entire 11-day festival. These tickets are only available for purchase at select locations. For a full list of participating vendors, please visit http://summerfest.com/power-pass/.

Single-day General Admission tickets for seniors aged 60 and over and children aged 10 and under can be purchased any time for just $7 at the gate. Infants aged two and under do not require a ticket.

For those of you driving to the festival, parking passes come in two flavors – Preferred and Premier. Tickets for the Preferred Lot cost $20 and tickets for the Premier Lot cost $35. Both options are for single-day parking passes only and can be purchased, along with General Admission tickets, Weekday Admission tickets, and 3-Day Passes at https://store.summerfest.com/tickets.

None of the options detailed above include admission to the Marcus Amphitheater. All tickets to the Marcus Amphitheater shows are sold separately through Ticketmaster, but include general admission to the festival grounds and access to all the grounds stages during the day of the specific Marcus Amphitheater concert.

With so much to offer and such reasonably-priced ticket options for those wishing to attend, it’s no wonder that the festival is expected to draw in nearly 900,000 guests during the 11-day festival. So, if you are a music lover who happens to be in the Milwaukee area between June 24th and July 5th, you are in for a treat. Head on over to Milwaukee’s Summerfest Grounds and experience for yourself the sights and sounds of the world’s largest music festival.

Milwaukee Summer Soulstice Music Festival

Celebrate the Longest Day of the Year at Milwaukee’s Summer Soulstice Music Festival

The East Side Business Improvement District in partnership with Made in Milwaukee is ready to help you celebrate 2015’s longest day of the year. The annual Summer Soulstice Music Festival is a free live music affair held just north of Milwaukee’s downtown on E. North and Murray avenues. This year’s event will occur on Saturday, June 20th from 10 a.m. to midnight.

The festival will feature three stages of local talent, with each stage kicking off the day’s entertainment with a Young Musicians Showcase. The Young Musicians Showcase, which provides a stage for talented youngsters from nearby schools, will start up at 1:30 p.m. at the Murray Stage, 2:00 p.m. at the East Stage, and 2:30 p.m. at the West Stage.

Following the Young Musicians Showcase, each stage will feature a full lineup of popular Milwaukee-area bands. Some of the more notable bands scheduled to perform on the three stages are The Cavewives, Delta Routine, GGOOLLDD, Greatest Lakes, Soul Low, Tigernite, and The Traveling Suitcase.

The bands scheduled to close out this year’s festival include The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken on the Murray Stage and New Age Narcissists featuring Milwaukee Hip-Hop All-Stars on the East Stage. Both bands will be taking to their respective stages at 9:45 p.m. Aluar Pearls will be closing out the show from the West Stage, but will start up shortly after the others at 10 p.m.

Apart from the three concert stages, the park will also be filled with several other attractions worth checking out, including a green market (open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), an arts fair (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and a food court (from 11 a.m. to midnight). There will also be adventure rock wall climbing (available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), dodgeball (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and a BMX stunt show performed by the professional BMX team This East Side to keep you entertained.

For more information about the Summer Soulstice Music Festival, please visit The East Side Business Improvement District’s website at www.theeastside.org/happenings/summer-soulstice.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Exclusive Interview: Bill Turner, former lead guitarist for Bill Haley and His Comets; Front man of Blue Smoke

By Aaron S. Robertson

A look back at the 70s resurrection of 50s rock 'n' roll by a guitarist who worked alongside one of the great legends there at the very beginning. Plus, thoughts on Chuck Berry, meaningful advice for aspiring musicians, and a whole lot more.

When I was growing up sometime in the early 90s, I remember that one of the very first cassette tapes I ever owned, if not the first one, was a collection of original 50s recordings by Bill Haley and His Comets. I think it came from the local Best Buy store near Southridge Mall, if I remember correctly. See, growing up, my tastes in music were heavily influenced by my parents, other relatives, and all of their friends, via the local oldies and classic rock stations here in the Milwaukee area. By the time I owned this tape, Haley had been deceased for at least a decade, having passed away in 1981, and the music itself was somewhere between 35-40 years old, I'm guessing. But for me, none of that mattered. Good music is good music. It knows no time.

With all of that being said, it was a real pleasure for me to have this opportunity to interview Bill Turner, who served as Haley's lead guitarist from July of 1974 until the end of 1976. Bill and I ended up connecting on Facebook not long ago, and so we've had some back-and-forth correspondence in recent months.

Bill Turner guitarist
Bill Turner.
In addition to being a member of The Comets during this time frame, Bill is also known for his work as the front man of Blue Smoke, which actually predates his time with Haley and company, going back to 1972. Blue Smoke is still active today, and we'll come back to that band a little bit later on.

Asked how he got the chance to join Bill Haley and His Comets, Bill indicated he worked his way in by getting to know some of the other members over time. But it all started out as being a fan of Haley's as a boy.

"I was always a huge Bill Haley fan," Bill recalled in our approximately hour-long phone conversation on March 30 from his home in New Jersey. "I first heard of him in a newsreel on the TV in the spring of 1958," he said, going on, "I was seven years old at the time. The newsreel was showing a riot that broke out at a concert. The band was Bill Haley and His Comets."

Over the years, friendships formed. "I became friends with some of The Comets. They traveled through New York a lot. I always noticed he [Haley] had a new lead guitarist every time they passed through New York," Bill explained, continuing on, "I got to know Rudy Pompilli [Haley's long-time sax player] well, and I practiced in front of him. I learned all the original guitar solos by listening to the original records late at night with my headphones. I listened to the solos at half the speed."

I was always interested in the 70s revival of 50s rock ‘n’ roll and how that all came to be. I guess I always just assumed that the hit 1973 movie, American Graffiti, was the start of it all. But not so. "Well, American Graffiti definitely played its role, yes, but it can really be traced back to Richard Nader’s Rock and Roll Revival concert," Bill explained. The first of Nader's shows was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden in October 1969, and a tour followed, introducing original rock 'n' roll songs and performers to a new generation of fans.



Bill described to me during our phone conversation and in e-mail correspondence since then, some of the nightly fees that 50s rock 'n' roll artists and groups were getting before the revival:

Bill Haley - $1,000
Chuck Berry - $400
Bo Diddley - $300
Doo-wop groups - $250-500

"Chuck Berry was booked at a college homecoming down south before cancelling his appearance to go on Richard Nader’s tour. Bo Diddley had his car in the shop in Florida and couldn’t afford to get it out," Bill told me.

In a follow-up e-mail April 8, Bill explained, "To me, the biggest irony is how Chuck Berry, at that time, was working for only $400 per night, and yet he, in my opinion, is the most imitated rock 'n' roll guitarist, ever. Well, I guess today it would be Jimmy Page, according to what all the younger guitarists I meet tell me."



We stayed on the subject of Chuck Berry for a bit. I was curious to know if Bill had ever met or worked with him, and what his thoughts were, if any, on Chuck's extreme bitterness over the years, whether real or perceived. See, along with Bill Haley, Chuck Berry is one of the other legends I grew up listening to quite a bit.

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"Well, Chuck was bitter, yes. And the reason for a lot of it was because his early recordings listed Alan Freed as a co-writer, which wasn't true," Bill told me, continuing, "I had lunch with Chuck once. It was at a restaurant he owned. I had just come out with a new album. Still remember what we both had. I had flapjacks and a hot chocolate. Chuck had hominy grits and black coffee."

Returning to Bill Haley, I was curious to know what he was like. “He was a true gentleman. Great guy. He had some health issues, though. He was a heavy smoker and had a bit of a problem with drinking,” Bill told me, adding, “He had other health issues that he needed to be treated for...but had a big problem trusting doctors. A doctor would give him a medication, and he would throw it away right after walking out of the doctor’s office.” And that famous kiss curl Haley wore in his hair? “He was blind in his left eye. That’s why he had the curl – it was to draw attention away from the eye, which often looked away slightly in another direction.”



But despite whatever shortcomings the man may have had, there is no doubt the role Haley played in rock history, and his place in it is secured. "Bill Haley was there in the beginning. He was playing rock ‘n’ roll before it was named. Rock ‘n’ Roll was originally called ‘Cowboy Jive’. There was no name for it at the time!," Bill said, adding, "Alan Freed coined the term from Haley’s song, ‘Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie’. Listeners would call in and ask Freed, ‘Hey, can you play that rock ‘n’ roll song?’ Because the lyrics included, ‘Rock, rock, rock, everybody...roll, roll, roll everybody...’”

Though he was with The Comets for only roughly 2.5 years, Bill has unintentionally become a go-to, authoritative source for just about all things concerning Bill Haley and his band over the decades.



"Even Dick Clark himself would regularly contact me when he planned to show a vintage video clip of Bill Haley - to identify certain members in it. The Comets had three bass players in succession who each played standup bass and were dark complexioned-Italians...and to complicate things further, each of the three was named 'Al'!" Bill said, continuing on, "There was Al Rex (Piccirilli) in the 1950s, followed by Al Pompilli in 1958, and who was in turn followed by Al Rappa from 1959 through 1969! Today, only Al Rex and Al Rappa are still living, both men in their mid-late 80s!"

In October 1987, Bill got the original Comets back together for the Philadelphia Music Awards, which was a standout feature news clip on prime time TV's Entertainment Tonight. Bill played electric bass with them for the ceremony. Perhaps the most gratifying thing, Bill explained to me, was that this band of original Comets members remained together for the next 25 years, and once again became an international touring attraction. They were performing repeatedly throughout Europe and the UK, and even in far flung places like Dubai. They also successfully held a residence in Branson, Missouri, sharing the theatre stage in a packaged show that also featured Paul Revere and The Raiders and the surviving member of the Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley. "It was a long-time gig they held up until recently, when several of the Comets members eventually passed away, each at a ripe old age, respectively," Bill said.



In the past several years, starting out as an interview subject for Otto Fuchs's book, Bill Haley: The Father of Rock 'n' Roll, published by Wagner-Verlag in Germany, Bill ended up being hired as the English language editor for the book, which was originally published in the German language. Bill had contributed rare vintage photos, as well as corrected literally thousands of errors, ranging from mere typos and grammar to major historical errors regarding dates and places, as well as false rumors and long-believed factual errors.

Bill Turner of Blue Smoke
As for advice for aspiring musicians, Bill has a lot to offer. “Treat it like a business. Form an LLC. Try to be as original as possible. Join the musicians union: the AFM – it’s perhaps the best investment you can make in your career,” he started telling me, going on, “Don’t play for free – it’s a race to the bottom when a band does that. And beware of politicians – particularly the liberal Democratic, 'environmentalist' zealots – for, despite their lofty altruistic goals and promises, the very first 'pollution' they go after, are loud, noisy, and smoky places...precisely the very workplace environment of bands and musicians, and that’s just disastrous for our business as music industry people. It always results in the eradication of our livelihood...and the entire mid-week live music scene in every case...including the many family-owned small businesses which are pretty much what most restaurants, nightclubs, bars and lounges really are!” He cited the efforts of New Jersey's Democratic politicians as the cause for Atlantic City’s downfall, in particular due to the drastic drop-off in attendance. "Even as a lifelong non-smoker, I stand opposed to the smoking ban laws, because by the mid 1990s, the 'Smoke Eater' ventilation systems had solved the second-hand smoke problem in clubs quite satisfactorily; and also because the law itself was foisted upon us under false pretenses - we were assured by the politicians that our business would increase, possibly even double, because the non-smokers would all return to the clubs and venues once again. Instead, the exact opposite had happened - the non-smokers never came back, and the customers who did smoke soon became tired of having to step outside to light up...and soon stopped coming out altogether. Now everybody is sitting home all week....including all the musicians and bands who used to be gainfully employed. So what is the solution that I am proposing? Simple - let each restaurant, bar, nightclub and venue, etc., decide for themselves whether they want to be a smoke-free facility, or a place where customers can smoke as before. After all - this would really be the 'democratic way'...now wouldn't it?"

In addition to advice for aspiring musicians, Bill also has some meaningful words for young people in general: "Be very, very careful with using credit. Those who understand interest collect it; those who don't, pay it."

Blue Smoke band
Blue Smoke.
Coming back to Blue Smoke, the band was formed in February 1972, and it is one of the first Americana/roots rock bands. The band's first three songs learned, Bill told me, were “Rock Around the Clock”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, and Mystery Train”. The band is performing a show during an overseas festival coming up soon on May 30 in Wolfsburg, Germany. "It's the band’s first trip overseas. We're really looking forward to it. The entire event is completely underwritten by Volkswagen," Bill said. Other than that, Bill said there have been many gigs on St. Patty’s Day from Noon to 1:30am over the years (Yes, you read that right). Many casinos over the years. The band has played on others’ albums in a backing role, and it has also won two industry awards for film soundtrack work on an indie spy film, The Crusaders, which is a punk rock takeoff on the British mid-60s spy series, The Avengers, which starred Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg. "For those of us old enough to remember the height of the mid-60s James Bond craze and everything that followed in its wake," Bill said. He went on to explain that this was a TV movie pilot that was pitched to both VH-1 and MTV, but that both have since passed on it.





In 1996, the band scored a major breakthrough by getting hired by MTV to record the soundtrack music to a series of four, 30-second commercial spots heralding the new "M-2 Satellite Network", which starred a cast of 24 Elvis-costumed actors posing and dancing as Blue Smoke recorded 58 seconds of the famous "C.C. Rider" entrance chaser used on Elvis' live concerts.



In addition to his work with Blue Smoke, Bill is quite the bluegrass fan, and has received many opportunities to work with notable groups and artists from that genre. "Bluegrass is actually my own personal favorite music!," Bill told me. "I'd gotten to appear six times on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville with my friends, 'Uncle Steve Crockett & His Log Cabin Boys' during the 1980s."

Yet, no performances in the Milwaukee area. In fact, Bill has never been to Milwaukee, period. We'll have to work on that. The area is missing out on some exceptional talent.

For more info on Blue Smoke and to listen to some great music, check out the band's MySpace page at https://myspace.com/billturnerandbluesmokeban/music/songs .

More recent videos of Bill Turner playing bluegrass with other bands:

With the Grasslands band (on mandolin)



With the Beth Coleman Band (on dobro and fiddle)