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ROCKIN' HALL BREAKS OUT THE KREW

Everclear, U-Krew, Hudson Brothers say Hall of Fame like a 'family reunion'


by: COURTESY OF OMHOF - Mark Hudson
The first time Hakim of Portland hip-hop pioneers U-Krew heard of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame was the day he learned he’d been inducted into it.

“There was no cooler way to find out about it than to be nominated,” he says with a chuckle. “It was great to know that we were appreciated like that and that our work was appreciated like that.”

Formed in 1984 in Portland, U-Krew was one of the first African-American R&B acts in the country to mix rap into their tunes. Along the way, U-Krew scored two Billboard-charting numbers, “If U Were Mine” and “Let Me Be Your Lover.”

“We were really proud to be from Portland,” Hakim adds, noting that he and his bandmates were a bit nervous about how they would go over live when they started touring with such name acts as MC Hammer. However, “after three or four dates we were looking at each other and saying we can hang with these guys.”

Joining U-Krew among inductees (and this year’s performers) are Everclear and Hudson Brothers and many others. The ceremony and concert will be 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 at Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. Tickets are $25, $100 for VIP. For more information, visit omhof.org.

This marks the sixth year the Hall has inducted performers, notes Terry Currier, owner of Music Millennium and the Hall’s president.

To be eligible, a solo artist, band or industry professional must have been born in Oregon and worked professionally for 20 years in music or moved to Oregon and worked in music for 20 years.

Currier adds that the Hall employs various folks from the scene, from former music critics to club owners, to vote each year.

“We keep their names quiet so nobody can bribe them,” he adds with a laugh.

The event will also feature an autographed guitar auction with all proceeds going to music education in Oregon schools. In addition to funding college music scholarships, Currier says the Hall has put on programs for schools that lack adequate music programs. Meanwhile, the ceremony is an ideal opportunity for old pros to rub shoulders again, he says.

“It’s like a family reunion.”

Everclear’s West Hills

Art Alexakis knows he’s controversial. Aside from his checkered personal past, his band, Everclear, has long been the target of hipster ire in Portland. In part, that’s because Alexakis moved here from California and allegedly disrupted the Edenic music scene with his desire to actually sell records.

by: COURTESY OF OREGON MUSIC HALL OF FAME - Everclear and lead singer Art Alexakis (center) adoped Portland as its hometown and enters the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, along with Mark Hudson and others Oct. 6 at Aladdin Theater. “Regardless of where you’re from, there’s always going to be people who don’t like you,” he says. “But we have a huge fan base in Portland. I don’t think there’s a need to be vindicated.”

He adds that the Rose City directly inspired a number of his songs, particularly “I Will Buy You A New Life,” where he name-checks Portland’s West Hills.

“There seems to be a West Hills in every city,” he says with a laugh, noting fans in more than one town thought he was referring to their West Hills. “I guess I was more brilliant than I thought I was, but I was being uniquely specific to Portland.”

He’s invited all his old band mates down for the ceremony, although he’ll be playing with Everclear’s current lineup, not its older incarnation. He adds that he’s honored to have made his mark in the alternative rock revolution that swept the airwaves in the ‘90s, but credits Nirvana above all others for ending the reign of 1980s “butt rockers.

“I was just happy to be a part of it.”

Proud to be an Oregonian

When Mark Hudson of the Hudson Brothers found out they had been inducted into the Hall, “I immediately called my brothers (Brett and Bill) and asked if they were pulling a joke on me!” he says. “When I found out it was true, I called my mom and everyone I know in the beautiful state of Oregon!”

The Portland trio is familiar to anybody who grew up watching Saturday morning TV in 1974 and 1975 for their “Razzle Dazzle Show,” and will likely perform their Top 20 hits, “Rendezvous” and “So You Are A Star.”

“If I can remember the chords, I might do the song I wrote for Aerosmith, ‘Livin’ On The Edge,’ ” Hudson adds, noting he’s worked with everyone from Ringo Starr to Harry Nilsson.

Elton John originally signed the three brothers back in the day, he notes.

“We moved to London and made a record, came back to America, but before the record was released, we were at a party with Elton, Led Zeppelin and Dusty Springfield,” Hudson says. “That’s when we met Chris Bearde, the producer of ‘The Sonny and Cher Show.’ He thought we were cute and funny, and the next thing we knew, he straightened our hair, capped our teeth, put us in ... matching suits, and we replaced Sonny and Cher in the summer!”

Unlike the Partridge Family, the Hudson Brothers were actually musicians, he says, but “we were a rock band that was on television and it actually hurt our music.”

Nonetheless, he has no regrets about being on TV.

“For three Italian boys from Portland, Oregon, I have no regrets. I’m proud to be a Hudson Brother and an Oregonian.”

Behind the scenes

Mark Sten will be inducted along with Tom Robinson of Concert Sound, which engineered countless shows over the years and installed sound systems throughout the area. Sten says he’s honored to have been chosen, but is thoroughly “overexposed” to music.

“I have zero interest in seeing live music anymore,” he says, noting his ears are fried. Not to mention he’s not a big fan of the direction live music has taken.

“Music is overly sophisticated and packaged and produced,” he says. “I liked it better when there was less gloss.”

That doesn’t mean he’s some bitter old cat shooing Lady Gaga clones off his rock ‘n’ roll lawn; in fact, he has a lot of great memories of putting on shows.

“What I most enjoyed was we always had good crews, and we always had fun,” he says. “It’s always a pleasure to work with people you enjoy and to feel positive about what you’ve done for the community.”

More inductees

In addition to U-Krew, Everclear, the Hudson Brothers and Mark Sten and Tom Robinson, this year’s inductees are:

Patrick Lamb, singer-saxophonist: he won Best Soloist Performance at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in 1990s, as well as three Muddy Awards from the Cascade Blues Association. Lamb’s recorded six albums and produced an award-winning show, “Let The Good Times Roll, A Tribute To Ray Charles,” for the Oregon Symphony Pops.

by: COURTESY OF OREGON MUSIC HALL OF FAME - Keyboardist D.K. Stewart has a long list of blues luminaries he has played alongside, and his career landed him in the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
Chris Miller played guitar in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with The Rockin’ Razorbacks before moving to Texas. Playing with artists such as Junior Brown and Marcia Ball, Miller is probably best known nationally for playing both steel and electric guitar with Dave Alvin.

Calvin Walker, drummer, keyboardist, vocalist and trumpeter, has been a player, producer, manager and promoter in the Portland scene. He’s worked with Michael Allen Harrison, Five Fingers of Funk and Sheila Wilcoxson, as well as many others. The former development director of KMHD 89.1 FM Jazz Radio, Walker has jammed with Carl Smith and the Natural Gas Company, Cruise Control, Shirley Nanette and in his own band.

Saxophonist Danny Schauffler has played or recorded with Felicidades, Sky River, Paul deLay, Quarterflash, The Rockin’ Razorbacks, Dan Reed Network, Johnny Limbo, Tom Grant, The California Raisins and others. He has also been a member of Oregon Music Hall of Fame bands Nu Shooz and the Crazy 8’s.

Keyboardist D.K. Stewart has performed with the Nighthawks in Eugene, as well as such blues luminaries as Big Walter Horton, Hubert Sumlin, Sunnyland Slim, James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Joe Louis Walker, Roomful of Blues, Albert Collins and others. He’s played in bands led by Lloyd Jones, Robert Cray, Jim Mesi and Paul deLay as well as his own group, and is a member of the CBA’s Muddy Hall of Fame.

Disc jockey Iris Harrison started doing radio at KVAN-AM, a progressive rock station in the ‘70s, before moving onto KGON-FM. To many, Harrison is KGON, and she has entertained radio listeners and turned them on to both new and classic rock for more than 35 years.

In addition to the inductees, the Hall will honor The Decemberists as “Artist of the Year” as well as their 2011 album “The King is Dead.”