SUMMERFEST Wk 2: Joan Jett, Thorogood, Everclear, ZZ Top, Living Colour


Summerfest Grounds

Summerfest 2021 Festival Stage Headliners for Week Two:

Joan Jett and the Black Hearts - September 9

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - September 9

Everclear - September 9

ZZ Top - September 11

Living Colour - September 11

GA Tickets available here for the weekend, individual days, or the whole festival.

Joan Jett and the Black Hearts

Joan Jett is an originator, an innovator, and a visionary. As the leader of the hard- rocking Blackhearts, with whom she has become a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, she's had eight platinum and gold albums and nine Top 40 singles, including the classics "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "I Hate Myself For Loving You," and "Crimson and Clover." Her independent record label, Blackheart Records, was founded in 1980 after she was rejected by no less than 23 labels. Blackheart is one of the longest running indie labels and continues to give voice to new bands. Jett has acted in movies and television, including 1987's Light Of Day, and in a Tony-nominated Broadway musical, The Rocky Horror Show. She has appeared on such acclaimed television shows as Oprah (the last season) and Law and Order.

As a producer, she has overseen albums by Bikini Kill, Circus Lupus, as well as the Germs' LA punk masterpiece, GI.

Her music has become a permanent force in mainstream culture. A version of "I Hate Myself for Loving You” was reworked for NBC's Sunday Night Football theme song, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night”, and was performed for 9 seasons by the likes of Pink, Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Her music is heard in countless films and TV shows including Easy - A, Kick Ass, The Runaways, Shrek, Baby Mama, and many more.

Since co-founding the Runaways, the pioneering all-girl punk quintet, at age 15, Jett's determination and drive have kept her in the public eye. Jett was able to see her story told in The Runaways, the film based on (lead singer of The Runaways) Cherie Currie's book Neon Angel starring Kristen Stewart as Jett, and her fellow A-lister Dakota Fanning as Currie. Jett was close to the project: She served as an executive producer. Jett and the Blackhearts released their latest record, 'Unvarnished,' in 2013 and continue touring the globe to throngs of adoring fans.

Joan Jett has spent her lifetime breaking barriers and challenging expectations - this is, after all, a woman who is both a spokesperson for PETA and a devoted supporter of the US Military. She's fought hard for all of her historic accomplishments, yet she remains humble and appreciative.

"I've had a blessed career," she says. "I consider myself so lucky to have been able to do things my own way."

George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Since 1976, they’ve sold over 15 million albums, built a classic catalog of hits, and played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows. They broke records with their 50 Dates/50 States Tour, delivered landmark performances at Live Aid and on SNL, and became mainstays of radio, MTV and stages worldwide for more than two generations. Through it all, they’ve remained one of the most consistent – and consistently passionate – progenitors of blues-based rock in pop culture history.

For the past 45 years, it’s been very good to be George Thorogood & The Destroyers. And in 2021, their Good To Be Bad Tour: 45 Years Of Rock will prove why like never before.

“If you’re content, you may as well be dead.” George laughs with his familiar rasp. “I think everyone has thoughts about retiring, but the phone keeps ringing. You want me and The Destroyers to come to your town, set up our gear, wear some cool threads and play ‘Who Do You Love?’ End of conversation. Let’s rock!”

For Thorogood and his longtime band – Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) – the power to rock audiences has been both battle cry and creed since the beginning. “It wasn’t about the amount of people we drew, but rather the impression we made,” George remembers. “I asked myself, ‘Are we reaching them? Do they want more?’ And we knew from the very first set that we had something special.”

It’s on stage that George & The Destroyers flip the switch nightly, delivering what The Toledo Blade calls “a gut-bustin’, guitar-wailin’, face-meltin’, fiery-tempoed, take-no-prisoners, good old-fashioned lunch-bucket rock & roll show” that includes their signature hits “Get A Haircut”, “I Drink Alone”, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, “Move It On Over”, “Who Do You Love” and the definitive badass anthem “Bad To The Bone”, along with several surprises. “It’s been a constant evolution to make the show all killer, no filler,” explains 43-year Destroyer bassist Bill Blough. “Something still inherently clicks the second we step on stage. We feel the audience’s energy and the show just explodes.”

But after 45 years of rock – and no signs of stopping – can Thorogood point to what continues to make it all matter? “My highlight is every night when I walk on that stage and play our hits for those happy people,” he says. “At the end of the show, the audience is smiling, I don’t see any police and everyone got their money’s worth.”

More importantly, is it still good to be bad? George Thorogood instantly flashes that huge grin. “You bet it is,” he says. ”We’ll always be the baddest band in the land. Expect our best on this tour, because that’s what you’re gonna get.”

Everclear

Considering Everclear has written and recorded some truly iconic ’90s alt-rock hits, it would be all too easy these days for the band to be a victim of its past successes, relegated to performing as a glorified jukebox, existing to satisfy the nostalgic cravings of Gen Xers everywhere. But singer-guitarist Art Alexakis isn’t about to start phoning it in now.

Although the band hasn’t released a new studio album since 2015’s triumphant Black Is The New Black, Everclear continues to tour actively. And while it’s a virtual surety that no Everclear gig is complete without a rendition of “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine,” lately the band has found that exploring the full range of past material—especially the “deep cuts”—not only gives fans a rare treat, it also injects new life into the band’s live dynamic.

“By mixing it up and digging into the catalogue, it still makes it fun and relevant for us, and I think for the fans as well,” says Alexakis. “It’s still important to play the hits, but by playing those other songs as well, it makes it all seem more vibrant and real. Even though I recorded some of those songs 20 years ago, I haven’t played them in a long time, so it’s like reinventing the wheel. I’m having more fun now than I have in years. I think all of us are.”

ZZ Top

ZZ TOP a/k/a “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” lay undisputed claim to being the longest running major rock band with original personnel intact and, in 2004, the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, there are only three of them – Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard -- but it’s still a remarkable achievement that they’re still very much together after almost 50 years of rock, blues, and boogie on the road and in the studio. “Yeah,” says Billy, guitarist extraordinaire, “we’re the same three guys, bashing out the same three chords.” With the release of each of their albums the band has explored new ground in terms of both their sonic approach and the material they’ve recorded. ZZ TOP is the same but always changing.

ZZ TOP’s music is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful and 100% Texas American in derivation. The band’s support for the blues is unwavering both as interpreters of the music and preservers of its legacy. It was ZZ TOP that celebrated “founding father” Muddy Waters by turning a piece of scrap timber than had fallen from his sharecropper’s shack into a beautiful guitar, dubbed the “Muddywood.” This totem was sent on tour as a fundraising focus for The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, site of Robert Johnson’s famed “Crossroads” encounter with the devil. ZZ TOP’s support and link to the blues remains as rock solid as the music they continue to play. They have sold millions of records over the course of their career, have been officially designated as Heroes of The State of Texas, have been referenced in countless cartoons and sitcoms and are true rock icons but, against all odds, they’re really just doing what they’ve always done. They’re real and they’re surreal and they’re ZZ TOP.

Living Colour

Living Colour is an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1984. Led by guitarist Vernon Reid, the bands lineup solidified in the mid-80's w/ Corey Glover (vocals), Will Calhoun (drums) and Muzz Skillings (bass). Stylistically, the band's music is a creative fusion influenced by free jazz, funk, hard rock and heavy metal. Their lyrics range from the personal to the political, in some of the latter cases attacking Eurocentrism and racism in America. 

The band’s debut album, “Vivid”, was released in 1988 on Epic Records. The album reached #6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was later certified double platinum by the RIAA. It featured “Cult of Personality,” a #13 hit on the Billboard 200 Singles chart as well as the Top 40 hit, “Glamour Boys.” “Cult of Personality” went on to earn the band their first Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. 

In 1990 the band's second full-length album, “Time's Up”, was released and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 while certifying gold, with strong singles “Type”, “Love Rears Its Ugly Head”, “Elvis Is Dead” and “Solace of You”, and featured guest appearances by Queen Latifah, Little Richard, Doug E. Fresh, and Maceo Parker. It also won their second Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

In the summer of 1991, Living Colour released the 6-song EP "Biscuits", which coincided with the inaugural Lollapalooza tour. Skillings left the band in the summer of 1992 and was replaced by session veteran and Sugarhill Records bass player Doug Wimbish.

“Stain”, their third LP, was released in 1993 by Epic. Reaching #26 on the Billboard 200, the album had a much heavier and aggressive sound, containing elements of thrash metal and industrial music while receiving a Grammy nomination for 'Leave It Alone'.

After a hiatus in 1995, Living Colour returned in December 2000 and began recording “Collideøscope”. Released in 2003, the album featured aggressive lyrics, with many of the songs about the September 11 attacks including “Flying”. It also contained cover versions of AC/DC's “Back in Black” and The Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows.” 

Their first release on Megaforce Records, “The Chair in the Doorway” was issued in 2009 and reached #159 on the Billboard 200 charged by the single “Behind The Sun.” 

The impetus for Living Colour's next album came from a performance of Robert Johnson's "Preachin' Blues" at the 100th Anniversary Birthday celebration at the legendary Apollo Theatre in New York City. Released on September 8, 2017,“Shade” is the sound of a band coming to terms with its shadows and light,” says founder Vernon Reid. “From the blue pulpit of Robert Johnson to the mean red streets of Brooklyn... “Shade” is the next chapter of a unique American journey” and peaked on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums at #12 with the help from singles “Who Shot Ya”, “Come On”, and “Program”.