Rock pioneers John Sebastian, Hot Tuna play Rockford Theatre

Two acts that played vital roles in the movement that revolutionized rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s will take the Rockford Theatre stage this weekend.

Friday, July 31, Lovin’ Spoonful founder John Sebastian will play the theater inside the Rockford Woman’s Club at 317 Park Ave. Sebastian began his career in 1965 playing with a variety of folk and jug bands before forming the Lovin’ Spoonful, which became a chart-topper with songs like “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Nashville Cats” and “Summer in the City.”

Sebastian later found success as a solo artist and songwriter, scoring a No. 1 single with “Welcome Back,” the theme song to the 1975 TV series, Welcome Back, Kotter, starring Gabe Kaplan and John Travolta. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year.

Hot Tuna, a spin-off of The Jefferson Airplane, fronted by bassists Jack Casady and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, will play at Rockford Theatre Saturday, Aug. 1.

After the initial success of The ’Airplane, which began to cool by the early ’70s, Casady and Kaukonen, already opening shows for Grace Slick and company as Hot Tuna, became an independent blues act, best known for a string of acoustic and live albums through the latter part of the decade. Hot Tuna has more than 20 LPs to its credit, including First Pull Up, Then Pull Down and the popular Burgers, which included contributions by David Crosby and others.

Over the years, Hot Tuna has performed everything from blues to folk and played with and recorded with a multitude of artists. Both Casady and Kaukonen are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Both shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets are available through the MetroCentre Box Office by calling (815) 968-5222 or visiting

from the July 29-August 4, 2009, issue

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