Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2017

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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July/August 2017 • 38 lina called Never Mind the Bullocks, a lovely play on their last name and The Sex Pistols. After a while the stage manager gives the "one more song" sign, and they whip through "Creeque Alley" by the Mamas and the Papas. But wait — it's not the last song after all. They've just played their big finale and now they have to pull something out of the hat, fast. Show busi- ness is tough. One other thing about this festival — there are so many bands. Itchycoo Park. The Norwegian Beatles. The Bluebeetles. Meet the Beetles. The Rigbys. Sixty Four. Britbeat and Union Jack. Peter Conrad (Ringo). Hal Bruce (Paul). Jay Goeppner (John). Gavin Pring (George). And so on. I assume they're all preĴy good, but now that I know about the Blue Mean- ies, I'm definitely checking out their af- ternoon set from George Harrison's opus All Things Must Pass. Besides, my buddy ScoĴ has come over from Louisville, and he loves that album. It's raining now and we shelter un- der the Big Four Bridge as the band sol- diers on. "I wanted to play this at my mom's funeral," ScoĴ says when the Meanies cue the title track, "but the Catholic church wouldn't let me. I guarantee you this will be played at my funeral." There's something mystical about listening to this particular music while geĴing spriĵed by Mother Nature. The weather map looks foreboding, the breeze picks up and the rain continues for the whole set. But the front splits in two and bypasses Jeffersonville. This is a small miracle. ScoĴ makes a break for it to get home and walk his dog, and I head to Red Yeti restaurant two blocks away for a hummus plaĴer — the festival's set amid a quaint walkable neighborhood, which is one big change from downtown Louisville. Today is my marathon day, and the evening list includes the Grassroots ("Temptation Eyes!"); a group of young hotshots from Colombia called Classics- tone (covering the Abbey Road album); a Covington, Ky., band called the Newbees ("Muscle Shoals for Rubber Souls"); and a band of Canadians called All You Need is Love, playing tunes from the Summer of Love. The laĴer outfit includes Mark RashoĴe, Jake Clemons' manager and guitar player who got him hooked up with Abbey Road on the River. The Newbees go all-out with a horn section and go-go dancers, and the charis- matic trio fronting the band have a blast on songs like "Respect," "Brown Sugar" and "You Can Leave Your Hat On." Set closer "Hey Jude" ends in delightful cacophony as the guitar player morphs into the solo from "Free Bird." Mashing up two songs like that is a thing with kids these days, but sax player Hamilton looks perplexed. My sister Judy has joined me now, and we peek in on Mark Lindsay (only so-so) and Herman's Hermits (the clear crowd favorite of the weekend) before snagging a decent seat for last main stage act of the night. It's The Family Stone, a vestige of that barrier-breaking band from the late 1960s that includes two original members and Sly's daughter. Words can't quite describe it — hearing those songs, and that sound, is just sublime. SUNDAY, MAY 28 The day starts great. I'm off to see Peter Asher, who's recounting his musi- cal memoirs again this year, and the Jake Clemons interview I've been pursuing for a couple of days has the green light for this afternoon. At Big Four Park, former Wings drummer Steve Holley plays with the Cryers and John Lennon lookalike Jay Go- eppner. It's less humid, decidedly pleas- ant and, news flash, completely overcast. Goeppner tells a story about Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen hanging around dur- ing the recording of John and Yoko's Dou- ble Fantasy album, and adding a guitar solo on "I'm Losing You" that was never used. These kind of tidbits are a dime a dozen at this festival and part of its charm. Now it's money time, and it turns out Jake's suite is the best place to get some privacy, so we head off through those old familiar hallways and sit down for a chat. He's also a big man, tall and trim, dressed in jeans, chukka boots and olive- drab work shirt, and his soft eyes are vis- ible through the light tint of his cool glass- es. His hair, arguably his most prominent visual calling card, is perfect. He was raised in a strict Baptist household, the fourth of five children, and his father, Capt. William Melvon Clem- ons Sr. (Retired), was a U.S. Marine Corps band director. The house was full of mu- sic, but nothing much secular, and by the time Jake delved into the Beatles catalog, he kinda resented them. "It's funny being at this festival — everyone has cool stories about geĴing ahold of their dad's vinyl collection or something, but I never had that," he says. "By the time I really discovered the Bea- tles, I was upset. These four guys broke into something that hadn't been done be- fore, but they didn't stop there, they de- cided to do everything." He laughs. "I was really upset — what are you leaving for me to discover? I'm preĴy biĴer about that." He was about 8 when he first saw Clarence perform, on Springsteen's Tun- nel of Love tour. He'd never heard dis- torted guitars and recalls his ears hurt from the volume, but he saw the crowd response when Clarence stepped into the spotlight and knew he wanted some of that too. His dad insisted he take piano lessons before he could get near the sax. By then he'd snuck a look at MTV and had his mind blown by the Run DMC/Aerosmith version of "Walk This Way." HIs brother force-fed Nirvana's Nevermind into his brain, and the early '90s race riots in Virginia Beach led Jake to socially conscious hip hop like KRS One and later The Roots. He gave up football to aĴend the Virginia Governor's School for the Arts, where he started learning about the Marsalis family, John Coltrane and other jazz giants. Two weeks out of high school he was working as a bouncer when a ska band came to town. "Ska bands are happy bands — they don't need bouncers," he says. "I grabbed my sax out of my trunk and thought may- be I should just jump onstage. I figured no one is gonna kick me out — I'm the guy who does that." The band had just lost a horn player and invited him to join their tour. He moved to L.A. In his 20s he was something of a gun-for-hire sax player who changed his last name in an effort to develop his own persona apart from his famous uncle. He wrote music but didn't share it widely, hosted a TV show for seven years and got into business marketing and finance be- fore finally accepting that he was destined "I gotta carry the mantle, and I've gotta be me. They're both important. … Part of me would love to know what forging my own way would look like, but I'm here for a reason, and I embrace that."

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