surreal day for promoter
DEC 6, 2007
Madison's Ken Adamany was in his early 20s when he operated the
Factory, a Madison live music club that is now Avol 's Bookstore (and
formerly Canterbury Books) located on Gorham Street just off State Street.
Despite his young age, he was already an experienced concert
promoter. He continues promoting concerts today and helped guide
Cheap Trick to international success.
Bringing Otis Redding to Madison in 1967 was a coup. "I was so
honored, " Adamany told the Wisconsin State Journal in a 1997 interview.
Adamany recalled the Dec. 10, 1967 day that Redding and six others
died when Redding's plane crashed into Lake Monona on its approach to
Madison. Only one person -- trumpet player Ben Cauley -- survived,
and he'll be part of a Redding tribute marking the 40th anniversary
of the crash Monday at Monona Terrace.
Adamany said it was very unusual for a club act to fly to a gig.
"And we were told they were busing in from Cleveland, " Adamany said.
"That 's why when I got the first phone call, I didn 't believe it.
"One of the detectives called me and asked, Are you expecting an
orchestra flying in? ' I didn 't know what he was talking about for
two reasons: One, it wasn 't an orchestra; and two, they were coming in by bus.
"They were late, but it was a very, very overcast day, and I figured
they were having trouble finding the building. "
By early evening, a police officer called Adamany and described some
of the victims. That 's when Adamany knew it was Redding and his band.
A long line already formed outside the Factory. The first of two
shows was scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
None of the fans knew the tragic news. Adamany had an employee use a
bullhorn to tell concertgoers from an open window.
"No one believed it, of course, " Adamany said. "It was in the era of
students not trusting business people. "
Radio reports, however, confirmed the news. Police asked Adamany to
have a show. He presented a free concert.
In a 2003 interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Cheap Trick
guitarist Rick Nielsen said he was a member of one of the acts that
performed. "The news spread slowly, " Nielsen said. "People were
walking around in a daze. Instead of locked doors, we played. "
In a twisted development one week later, some concertgoers started
copying tickets and using fake ones for the $3 ticket refund.
"We refunded way more than we sold, " Adamany said, "and we sold
about 700 or 800 tickets. "
Adamany recalled how booking acts was still in its infancy in 1967.
He continued to book acts at the Factory. In 1968, Jimi Hendrix played there.
"Booking was not as organized as it is now, " he said. "We hardly
ever heard from road managers. I remember waiting for Wilson Pickett
until about five minutes before he hit the stage. No one knew
anything about where he was.
"Now, you 're in touch with an act five times a day. If you bring a
show into Madison, we 're on the phone constantly with a PR person,
the road manager and sometimes the management office and the agent. "
To acknowledge Redding 's talent, Adamany read a quote from James
"Curly " Cooke, a former Madison resident who played in the Steve
Miller Band. Cooke saw Redding perform at the Monterey Pop Festival.
"I was at the right of the stage for Otis Redding, " Cooke said. "It
was phenomenal. I have never to this day seen anybody with so much
power and raw energy. I 've never seen anybody like that. It was one
of the absolute highlights of my life. "
If you go
What: Otis Redding tribute, marking the 40th anniversary of his death
When: 5:30-8 p.m. Monday
Where: Grand Terrace and Lecture Hall, Monona Terrace Community &
Convention Center, One John Nolen Drive
Events: Monona Terrace's rooftop will be open for patrons to view the
Redding memorial, dedicated in August 1997.
The free program will feature special guest Ben Cauley, the plane
crash's lone survivor. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz will begin the program.
Craig Inciardi, curator from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum will present the memorabilia collection of Redding's widow,
Zelma Redding. The event culminates with a showing of the DVD "The
Legacy of Otis Redding."
Information: http://communityevents.mononaterrace.com or call 261-4150.