It’s a long way to the top of you wanna rock ‘n’ roll, as AC/DC famously sang in the 1970s.
Now, three Valley-based musical acts and a theater in the round have found their way to the top, and they’ll be enshrined later this month.
The Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame announced it will induct Nils Lofgren, Meat Puppets, Gin Blossoms and the Celebrity Theatre as part of its class of 2017.
“There are many people who are deserving of this. It’s a nice honor and I’ll take it,” says Nils Lofgren, a Valley resident since 1996, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a longtime member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. “Sounds like it’ll be a wonderful night all the way around.”
Diving headfirst into a solo career at just 17 years old, Lofgren released more than 20 albums in a career that spans a half-century. He continues to make new music and will release Blind Date Jam, an experimental record with local musicians, in a few months.
“It’s really a calling,” Lofgren says. “It’s something that no matter of how sick and tired I am, you’re so excited that people are coming to see you.”
The ceremony will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 17, at the Celebrity Theatre and will include live performances by each of the artists and presentations by guest speakers. FOX 10 TV’s John Hook and Kari Lake will introduce the event.
“It seems only fitting that we hold our induction ceremony at this historic venue,” says Mark Myers, Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame president. “To have these three acts come and play on the same stage on the same night is astounding.
AMEHOF is a nonprofit organization that was created to recognize and honor the contributions of musicians, entertainers and individuals who have impacted Arizona history and culture. Since 2002, they’ve honored more than 85 inductees including Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks, Wayne Newton, Linda Ronstadt and Marty Robbins.
“To be put in an institution with Marty Robbins is fine by me. I like the company,” says Cris Kirkwood, co-founder and bassist for Meat Puppets, the cult icons who rose to prominence in the early 1980s with their unique blend of punk, cowboy and psychedelia. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain also cited the band as one of his core influences, and the two acts famously collaborated on MTV’s Unplugged in 1993.
Robin Wilson of the platinum-selling band Gin Blossoms, who helped put Tempe’s 1990s music scene on the map, says he’s also filled with a sense of pride.
“I’m proud of my bandmates,” Wilson says. “Proud to be from Tempe. Mostly though, I’m feeling nostalgic. We have the brass ring. We’re still together after 30 years and making music, making a living, supporting our families and doing what we want.”
Concert promoter Danny Zelisko said he’s happy to see the Celebrity Theatre get star billing of its own.
“This is the most historic venue in the Valley where thousands of the best shows ever to tour have played,” Zelisko says. “This recognition is so deserved.”
Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, 602-267-1600, celebritytheatre.com, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 17, $10-$40.