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Litterer rocks the Roof Garden at hall of fame induction

  • Steve Litterer of the band Litterer rocks out Sunday night at the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at the historic Roof Garden Ballroom at Arnolds Park. (Photo submitted.)

  • Members of the band Litterer — Brent Estlund, Tom Litterer, Carleen Laue, Steve Litterer and Dave Litterer — received their Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards at an induction ceremony Sunday at the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake Sunday. (Photo submitted.)

  • The Charles City band Litterer rocks out Sunday night at the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at the historic Roof Garden Ballroom at Arnolds Park. (Photo submitted.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

The Charles City rockers made an impression Sunday night.

“Last night was amazing,” said Steve Litterer, guitarist and vocalist for the band Litterer, on Monday. “The show went perfect.”

The concert performance wrapped up a whirlwind weekend for the Charles City hard rock band, which was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The hall of fame show was 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.

Inductees this weekend were part of a parade and a “meet and greet” on Saturday, an induction ceremony Sunday at the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake, and the concert Sunday night.

The concert also featured performances by fellow 2019 inductees Flipside, Pena Brothers Band, Shymen, The Jacks, The Ravons, and an all-star band that included Jill Miller, Willis David Hoover, Maurice Walker-Jules, Merle Pithan, Steve Samuelson, Johnnie Walker, Nick Kneedler, Becky Thoreson, Mark Williams and Dan Sullivan.

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, Charles City.

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.) Before Sunday night, the complete band hadn’t played together since the group disbanded in 1996.

Just a few of the major artists Litterer played with in its heyday include Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Dr. Hook, Night Ranger, Slaughter, 38 Special, Head East, Warrant, Ratt, The Grass Roots, the Guess Who and Autograph.

Steve, typically a backup vocalist, took the lead singer spot for the band’s final song of the night Sunday, a cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man” that brought down the house. The rest of the band’s half-hour set included a montage of the group’s most popular original songs, and several of the fans in attendance knew the lyrics and sang along.

‘We had so much Charles City support it was unbelievable,” Steve said. “The band sounded great and we did have an awesome time.”

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.

The publicity generated by the hall of fame induction has fueled suggestions that the band play some dates beyond the hall of fame concert, and perhaps even go on a reunion tour. Band members have not yet committed to anything like that — but they also haven’t ruled it out.

“Honestly, I can’t answer that,” Steve said. “We haven’t discussed it, just concentrating on the induction show.”

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