Fifty years ago, a teenage Kenny Vance was in attendance when Alan Freed brought his rock ’n’ roll show to the Paramount Theater in Downtown Brooklyn, where he grew up. It was right there that Vance knew that he would be forever dedicated to the genre he fell in love with that night.
Vance has since become an underground legend in the national rock scene, beginning with Jay and The Americans in the early ’60s, who opened for both the Beatles and the Stones. Later, he served as a record producer and musical director for films like 1977’s “American Hot Wax” (a fictionalized biography of Freed), “Animal House” and the cult classic “Eddie & The Cruisers.”
Despite a current lack of radio support, the interest in doo-wop and classic rock has not decreased; at a recent performance at the St. George Theater on Staten Island, the Planotones (which Vance created for “Hot Wax”) drew a considerable crowd of different ages and backgrounds who sang along with the band as they tore through favorites such as “You Cheated” and “Angel Baby.”
At 64, Vance soldiers on. He’s celebrating 50 years in the business on Feb. 29 with a performance with his Planotones at the equally legendary Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island.
“That is the genre I’m in, and I’m truthful to it,” he told GO Brooklyn. “I know I’m not a kid anymore, but while I am healthy, I’m able to do this and carry on.”
Kenny Vance and the Planotones will perform at 10:30 pm on Feb. 29 at Gargiulo’s Restaurant (2911 W. 15th St. at Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island). For 7:30 pm dinner reservations and more information, call (718) 266-4891. Tickets are $125 (includes dinner and cocktails).