Radar was one of the great people who worked for me. He did all the behind-the-scenes technical stuff for the bands that played at the bar. The first time he came to Reds, he was working with a band from Missouri called “Cyclone”. They played here for a couple of weeks and Radar fell in love with Akron. He told me that he would like to stay and work here. And that’s exactly what he did. He returned about a month later and worked for me for quite a while.
As time went on, the bands came in with their own light man, sound man, roadies and even groupies followed. So it was became hard for me to keep him busy all those years. Even LaFlavour had Jimmy Comedy. So he went to work at Tangiers and stayed there for quite sometime. I certainly missed the quality of his work. On my 80th birthday, he brought me a bat, a Louisville Slugger. I heard recently that he’s gone. What a nice gentleman he was. I really miss the guy.
Story by Arnold Red Shapiro
A lady came in one night and said, “There’s a great band playing out in Portage Lakes. I wish you would come see them.” I said, ” I don’t use local bands, but I’ll go see them”.
So I went out to where they were playing and thought the boys were very good. They had a lot of hair – facial hair, long hair – and were just playing good music. So I told them, I don’t use local bands because I don’t like them to play at other local bars. If they were willing to travel, I know an agent in Buffalo, New York that could help them. He could teach them a little choreography and put them on the road. That’s what happened. They went to Buffalo for several weeks. He cleaned up their act from the long hair and jeans and put them in matching outfits for a new look. Then they went on the road.
After that, they would come to Akron four or five times a year, especially during the holidays, and play at Reds. They always draw big crowds because they had been gone for a while and people were excited to see them.
As many people know, LaFlavour played at Reds for many, many years. As they grew older, I grew older. The only difference now is that they’re still going, I’m not.
Here’s what Craig from LaFlavour had to say about playing at Reds.
See last week’s Photo Friday.
Every Friday (providing I remember), I’ll post a photo of something that doesn’t necessarily have a story behind it. Just memories. So here’s the first one from 1977. It’s of Jim Mansfield, Mark Shapiro and Jim Burrell playing “Shotgun” at Red’s Picnic with LaFlavour.
Yes…there was a time before MTV, Sirius Radio and iPods. In the early sixties, if you wanted to hear music, you had to listen on a transistor radio full of static or a turntable with scratchy LPs. You might even catch a musical act once a week on Ed Sullivan or the Mike Douglas show, providing your family owned a TV- a black and white TV. For live bands, you might see a national act at Music Hall in Cleveland every now and then, but for local bands, your choices for entertainment were limited.
That’s exactly what made Red’s Bar unique at the time. It was one of the few places in Northeast Ohio that people could go the hear bands perform live. The first band to perform at Red’s was The Four Fifths. After several years of the same band performing every week, Larry Alltop, a local singer, talked to Arnie about hiring bands from out-of-town. This turned Red’s from a local corner bar into an entertainment destination for years to come.
In this video clip, Arnie talks about the bands that played at Red’s in the early years.
Story by Mark Shapiro