Average House Band together for - perhaps - one last reunion

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Assuming a classic pose during a previous reunion show are Average House Band members (clockwise from bottom right) with Rod Kersey holding the framed photo alongside Bill Hamm, Sandy Williams, Steve Michael and Danny Martin. Along with bandmate Fred Badalli, the band will be assuming its classic pose on a Greencastle stage at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday for its annual reunion shows at the Inn at DePauw.
Banner Graphic/Eric Bernsee

When the music’s over turn out the lights.

Jim Morrisson gave that simple bit of advice 52 years ago at the conclusion of the Doors’ second album “Strange Days.”

That’s about the same number of years, more or less, that each of the six men who will grace the stage for this year’s Average House Band reunion have been playing rock ‘n’ roll.

That’s right, the Greencastle favorites of the ’70s and ’80s will celebrate their 12th annual reunion this weekend with a pair of shows at The Inn at DePauw.

The doors open on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with the show at 9. Tickets are $10 with “Touch of Mink” VIP tables of 10 available for $100 each. For tickets, contact Steve Michael at 721-3913 or smichael@cinergymetro.net.

But when the final notes have faded into the late summer Saturday night, will the band indeed be turning out the lights? They’ve talked about it before, but Michael sounds more serious this time.

“This is probably for us, more than likely, the last one we’re going to do,” Michael said, before admitting they’ve said that before. “We always say we’re not going to do one next year.”

Eventually, though, the numbers start to add up. Michael knows that he and bandmates Bill Hamm, Danny Martin, Rod Kersey, Sandy Williams and Fred Badalli aren’t getting any younger.

“I’m 70. Rod will be 71 here in November. Bill will be retiring. Sandy’s younger than us, but not by much. Danny’s older than me,” Michael said. “We’ve got a lot of years. Over 300 years of rock ‘n’ roll between us.”

Besides this, there are personal reasons they know there will not be a show in 2020.

“We are definitely not doing one next year,” Michael said.

All of which makes the $10 asking price a steal for anyone wanting to see a bit of Putnam County music history.

And history is just what it will be. Michael emphasized that each year, they see many of the same folks who watched the band at Old Topper or some other long-gone haunt the band frequented 40 years ago.

“A lot of the crew from Old Topper back in the late ‘70s is coming back,” Michael said. “That’s where it all started.”

For the same reason, the setlist will be what fans can expect from 40 years ago or one year ago.

“It hasn’t changed in 12 years. That’s what people like. It’s the same songs we played 40 years ago,” Michael said. “They come and they think about the girl they met while they were there or the guy they danced with. And then those people got married.”

The lineup will also be the same, with Williams on guitar, Martin lead vocals and guitar, Hamm on bass and vocals, Michael on guitar and vocals and Kersey and Badalli taking turns on drums.

The band members know they’re indebted to those people for the near-legendary status they’ve reached for local music fans.

They’re also thankful to those who have helped them with the reunion shows.

“The first two years it was Rick Rhine at the Rock House,” Michael recalled. “The Inn at DePauw has been great to us. They help us any way they can.”

Even the local press has gotten in on the act, particularly Banner Graphic editor Eric Bernsee, who’s been a fan of the band for most of it’s existence.

“The Banner has always made us sound better than we were,” Michael said.

Before the official shows can start in earnest, the band will also play a warm-up set at Wasser Brewing Co. on Thursday, though at this point there may not be any room left in the brewpub building that was formerly Hamm’s Napa Auto Parts store.

“No cover, but I’d recommend a reservation because they’re getting filled up,” Michael said late last week.

While there is a charge for the Friday and Saturday shows, it’s the same as it’s been since the first reunion.

“We’ve never raised the price,” Michael said. “We said when we started we wouldn’t do that. We don’t do this for the money.”

While there are no guest musicians scheduled for this weekend, the band has made a number of friends over the years so a surprise is always possible.

“A good time is guaranteed for all,” Michal said.

As for reunions beyond 2020? Never say never, but the band is mindful of not embarrassing itself or messing up its legacy.

“We don’t want to end it like Brett Favre and stay too long,” Michael said.

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