Local musician Ken Janssen was a catalyst in the Cleveland scene when he booked bands at the Beachland and played around town with his bands It*Men (pictured), Vista Cruisers and Hot Rails. He passed away earlier this year, and there was a memorial service for him at the time. But his former bandmates, his wife Kathy and the folks at the Beachland wanted to do something more. So they’ve organized a music-related send-off on Saturday, May 30, the day that would have been his birthday.
“This will not be a 'benefit' per se, nor a 'funeral' or anything like that, but a big sloppy celebration in the spirit of what Ken was known for,” says former bandmate Matt Cassidy in an email. Organizers are using Gotta Groove's crowd funding campaign to sell tiered packages to get a final LP pressed. The proceeds of the concert, dubbed Kenfest, will go to covering costs of the record. Some proceeds will also go towards helping the home health care worker who was instrumental in taking care of Janssen. The LP is a compilation of unreleased tracks from Janssen’s various bands. The show will feature “several bands that Ken was friends with” and will include “reunions with the original members of Ken's bands to cap off the night.” Locals New Planet Trampoline, Charles Hill Jr., Kill the Hippies and This is Antarctica are all on the bill. There will also be live karaoke afterwards. “It's our plan to make 'Ken's Birthday Show' something that goes on for some years to come at the Beachland,” says Cassidy.