Litterer to perform at rock hall of fame induction ceremony
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been over 20 years, but Steve Litterer believes that his old rock band can still “rip it up.”
The band will get a chance to prove him right on Sept. 1.
In January, members of the Charles City based rock band “Litterer” learned that they will be inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. In July, the band learned that they will be one of the acts performing live at the induction ceremony on Labor Day weekend.
“We’re excited about it,” said Steve, who said the band members have been rehearsing individually and will get together to rehearse as an entire band this weekend. “This will be the first time with the whole band, so that will be pretty exciting.”
The complete band hasn’t played together since the group disbanded in 1996, although three of the band members got together for a benefit show a couple of years ago. Litterer’s members are Steve Litterer (guitar, backing vocals), Tom Litterer (bass, lead vocals), Dave Litterer (drums), Carleen (Litterer) Laue (keyboard) and Brent Estlund (guitar.)
The hall of fame show starts at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1 at the historic Roof Garden Ballroom at Arnolds Park. The ballroom became famous throughout the Midwest for hosting marquee swing and rock ‘n’ roll bands, and has just completed a major rebuild. The New Roof Garden closely resembles the historic two-story ballroom that was demolished in 1987.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame show range from $30-$50 and are available online at eventbrite.com.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing a lot of our old fans,” Steve said. “A lot of them have contacted us, and said they are so excited — they just can’t wait.”
The concert will also feature performances by fellow 2019 inductees Flipside, Pena Brothers Band, Shymen, The Jacks, The Ravons, and an all-star band that includes Jill Miller, Willis David Hoover, Maurice Walker-Jules, Merle Pithan, Steve Samuelson, Johnnie Walker, Nick Kneedler, Becky Thoreson, Mark Williams and Dan Sullivan.
Litterer is slated to play just before the all-star band. Dave said that the band will just have to plug in their guitars and start rocking.
“They’re going to supply drums, sound system and light system,” he said. “It will be great. We can still play.”
“It’s going to sound awesome,” Steve added.
Dave said Litterer will get to play for 25 minutes — or four or five songs. Steve said the band’s original ballad “Romancing the Night” received the most airplay in its time, and the song “Rock This City” might be the band’s signature tune, so versions of both of those songs are likely to be part of the show. Other Litterer tunes they are considering include “She’s So Dangerous,” “Ghost Town Park,” ‘Live on Love,” and “Lost in Time.”
“We’re trying to work some of it into medleys, so we can hit more songs,” Steve said. “We’re gonna cram as many pieces of our songs in as we can.”
Dave said the band plans to play one cover tune — the song “Ice Cream Man,” by Van Halen. The rest of the songs will be originals.
A hard rock music group from Charles City, Litterer was active from about 1980 to about 1996. They developed a loyal regional fan base over that time. The band cut a pair of albums, toured with some well-known rock superstars and came within inches of landing a record deal with a major label. Then they traded in their drumsticks and guitar picks for more typical lives in and around their hometown.
Just a few of the major artists Litterer played with include Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Dr. Hook, Night Ranger, Slaughter, 38 Special, Head East, Warrant, Ratt, The Grass Roots, the Guess Who and Autograph.
The publicity generated by the hall of fame announcement has fueled suggestions that the band play some dates beyond the hall of fame concert, and perhaps even go on a reunion tour, but both Steve and Dave are hesitant to commit to that — at least for now.
“Let’s wait and see how this show goes first,” Steve said.
Steve and Dave said the band played the Iowa Great Lakes area quite often and had a big fan following there, so he expects to see a lot of familiar faces at the show.
“That whole area was our big ballroom area back in the day, so there are a lot of people who still remember us out there,” Steve said.
“I think we’re going to run across a lot of people from the past,” Dave said. “We’re going to have to have them put on name tags, because recognizing them after 30 years might be interesting.”
Steve said that he’s hoping a substantial gathering of fans from Charles City will also show up to support the group, perhaps clad in Litterer apparel.
The band announced a merchandising agreement with Unique Country Store in Charles City this week. The store will partner with Litterer for all promotional products, which will be available for the upcoming concert. Anyone interested in ordering some Litterer merchandise can simply visit the store.
“We’ve known Shelly and Shawn (Zweibohmer) at Unique Country Store for a little while now, and they’re great people, and we thought it would be nice if we had some merchandising, because we’ve been asked about that,” Steve said. “They have stepped up to the plate and helped us put together some things.”
Litterer will participate in a whirlwind of events throughout the weekend. Inductees will participate in a parade and a “meet and greet” on Saturday, Aug. 31. The induction ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake before the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Information about induction weekend can be found online at iowarocknroll.com.
To kick off the weekend, the band Head East will be playing at the venue on Friday night, and Litterer band members intend to see that show.
“That will be fun,” Steve said. “We did a lot of shows with Head East.”
“That will be cool,” Dave said. “They were inducted into the hall of fame a few years ago.”
Since incorporation in 1997, more than 400 entities have been inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame. Categories include Bands, Individual Artists, DJs, Media Representatives, Venues, Ballrooms, Border Bands, Women Who Rock, Support People, Out of State Artists, and Lifetime Achievement Awards. Inductees must have a minimum of 25 years of experience in the industry and have made a significant impact on Iowa’s rock and roll music scene.
“We’re just very humbled by all the people who have gotten a hold of us and congratulated us,” Steve said. “The support has just been amazing for us.”