Media Life:Storied rocker signed for Auburn show

Greg Kihn Band tops diverse lineup; State Theatre marquee set to shine; Pablo Cruise on Eldo County bill
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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No naked media types for Media Life to document this week but there’s a heaping helping of new news from the music realm. Leading the list of just-announced acts scheduled for Auburn is an old favorite from the Bay Area who has carved out a couple of other careers away from the rock-new wave world he originally burst onto the national stage from. Greg Kihn, whose Greg Kihn Band produced a string of memorable albums in the 1980s, has signed on to bring tunes like 1981’s “The Breakup Song” and 1983’s “(Our Loves In) Jeopardy” to Auburn’s Gold Country Fair. The Sept. 4-7 fair at the Gold Country Fairgrounds is set to welcome Kihn and bandmates onstage for a Friday evening performance at the Gold Country Stage. Fair Manager Greg Hegwer said he’s still undecided whether to go with two, 60-minute sets or a one-time, 90-minute show. Catching up with Kihn, he’s the morning deejay on San Jose’s KFOX 98.5 classic rock station, is beloved for his work helping the nation’s fighting forces, has written four novels, and was inducted last year into San Jose’s Rock Hall of Fame. Hegwer has also solidified the fair’s entertainment lineup, bringing back the Saturday blues party and adding some “Discovery Channel” flair to the proceedings. Hard-working blues guitarist Shane Dwight, whose 180 dates this year includes a June 22 Placer County Fair appearance in Roseville, will be the headliner for the Sept. 6 round of blues. On the wildlife front, Walking With Lions will be bringing at least three Bengal tigers to the fair. They’ll put on performances throughout the four days and be available for a looksee as well. Brad’s World of Reptiles will provide giant tortoises, snakes and other reptiles for fairgoers to see and experience at the Placer Building. Skinnin’ Lynyrd, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band will rock the fairgrounds Sunday with some southern-fried sounds that Hegwer says fit in well with the traditional fair finale – the demolition derby. There’s also an Eagles tribute band, Life in the Fast Lane, on Thursday, the Aftershock Blues Band from Placerville and Motown sound stylists Patent Leather. And, of course, don’t forget the Battle of the Bands on the first day of the fair at McCann Arena. Top prize is $500. At least one member of the band has to be a high school student or younger. All this and corn dogs too. MARQUEE ACT Moving onto Downtown Auburn nightlife, the State Theatre is about to light the city in the glow of a new, retro marquee and tower sign. They’re replicas of the originals that graced the theater in the 1930s. The new ones are being fashioned for the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center Committee by Young Electric Sign Co. in Sparks, Nev. Plans are to have the signs lighted for the first time on July 11, block off the street, and hold a party to celebrate. This weekend, other retro touches and new paint are being applied to the art deco theater on Lincoln Way as part of Project Auburn. Mark your calendar for July 11, a Friday, when several local entertainers will be featured from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Among the acts will be former Placer High School musical director Glenda Gonzales singing show tunes, the blues trio Confluence, guitarist Jim Baughman (who has recorded with Merle Haggard) and the United Auburn Indian Community Dancers. The Indian Community Dancers will do a blessing dance just before the official lighting of the marquee and tower sign as dusk descends over the downtown. CRUISE AT FAIR The other Cruise – Pablo Cruise – is the headliner at this year’s El Dorado County Fair. The soft rockers, whose quiver of hits includes “Love Will Find a Way,” “I Go To Rio” and “Watcha Gonna Do,” will perform at a free concert at 8 p.m., June 14 on the main stage. The band sold millions of albums before disbanding in 1986 after 11 years together. But keyboardist Cory Lerios and guitarist David Jenkins joined up again with drummer Steve Price four years ago after the latter married in Sacramento and gave his wife a unique present – a reunion of the group. With singing bass player George Gabriel onboard, they’ve been performing ever since. Tainted Love, a popular fixture at recent Black & White Ball street dances in Auburn, are also onstage at the Placervile fair. The band will perform its nostalgia-filled 1980s set at 9 p.m. on June 13. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or phone (530) 852-0232.