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Persuaders To Do One More

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The Blue Front Persuaders jam the jump-band sounds once more Tuesday.

Persuaders to do one more


Was it great memories of playing in the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival that got the members of The Blue Front Persuaders to agree to reunite for a special show at the Blind Pig?

Not really.

“Our band didn't exist during the time of the festival,” said Steve Wethy, singer and pianist. “We were formed after (the first festival) started and ended before the new one started. Maybe we felt a little gypped."

What finally gave them the idea to reunite was simply the desire to play together again. “I’d liken it to a fraternity, although I never belonged to a fraternity or particularly liked them. It was important part of our lives,” said Wethy.

Who actually will play at the reunion is still up in the air, although Marc Russell (drums, vocals); Karl Dyke. a.k.a. Buddy Love (saxophone), Jake Lewandowski (bass), John Lucic (guitar) and Jim “JP” Purcell (harmonica) will be there. And, perhaps some of the other former members - about 25 played with the band over the years - will show up, too. Some possible last-minute jammers include Bob Schultz (sax), Jeff Waugh (bass, violin) and Karl Hildebrandt (bass).

Regrettably, former member Dennis Hack has cancer and won’t be able to play.

Wethy and Russell formed the band in 1978 and, yes, the band is named after the Blue Front, a popular convenience store on the comer of Packard and State.

“Blue Front is a much different place now,” said Wethy. “It used to be a dilapidated old magazine store with creaky wood floors and bare light bulbs. It had an old, antiquated air and that reflected our music.”

That music was '40's and ’50-style jump rhythm and blues.

“What we were playing was not popular at that time and we thought, ‘What would persuade people to listen to this?’ Wethy recalled. A career highlight was being the first band to play at Rick’s in 1979. “We were the ones who persuaded them to have live music,” he recalled.

The band entered its second phase in 1981 when it added two saxophone players and an upright bass. The Persuaders continued with various line-ups until 1987 when the band ended - although rumor has it that there may still be a version playing in Toledo, Ohio.

Since the break-up, former members have moved away, and count among their ranks a professor of economic geography, a pediatrician, a systems analyst, an advertising executive, a car salesman and at least two professional musicians.

But on Tuesday, careers will be forgotten and all that will matter is playing together again.

“Expect a really great time and a lot of big smiles -mostly from us,” said Wethy.


WHO: Blue Front Persuaders.

WHEN: Tuesday night.

WHERE: The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St.

HOW MUCH:  $7.50 advance, $10 at the door. Call (313) 645-6666 for details.