DC Drifters performance to feature Tower memorabilia
Published 10:01 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Rock ’n’ roll band The DC Drifters will highlight a popular Austin music hall when it performs on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Band leader Denny Charnecki will display his collection memorabilia from The Tower when The DC Drifters perform a free show at the Veterans of Foreign Wars club at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The Tower was a popular music hall in Austin that opened in 1959 and closed in the 1970s. Charnecki said the place would feature five bands in five days, a different one each night. Admission was under a dollar.
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“It was a place where people met other people. It was the place to go,” Charnecki said. “For well over 20 years, Austin was entertained and hooked up with The Tower and it was the place to go for dances and kids, a teen center.”
Years ago, the family who owned The Tower came by Charnecki’s house and asked if he wanted photos and other items from the dance hall. He accepted and now has them displayed at his home.
Charnecki said he will bring as much memorabilia as possible to the VFW on Saturday. He has photos of bands, people dancing, paintings and autographs from every band that ever played at the venue, such as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.
“Even if people don’t want to dance, I hope they will come and see it,” Charnecki said. “We want people to come out and have a good time.”
Denny and the DC Drifters started their band in 1963 and played professionally, starting in 1965, and received the Lifetime Achievement award from the Midwest Country Rock Hall of Fame. The band’s original members will be playing Saturday night.
This past weekend, Charnecki and The Drifters performed at the annual “Winter Dance Party” at the Surf Ballroom and Museum in Clear Lake, Iowa,” which featured musicians such as the Johnny Rogers Band, Tommy Allsup, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and more. The Crickets band members will play a special tribute to Joe B. Mauldin.
Ritchie Valen’s family attended and played with The DC Drifters. Valens was killed in a plane crash shortly after leaving the same show in 1959, along with musician Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson.
Charnecki said The DC Drifters will perform the same show from Clear Lake in Austin on Saturday.