Retiring Twin Ports musicians plan to go out with a 'Sh-Boom'
After nearly a quarter-century of rockin' the oldies, the legendary Duluth band Sh-Boom is ready to retire.
The six members of the 1950s and '60s throwback band will hang up their instruments after playing one final concert next Saturday.
"Two of our members were leaving for medical reasons, so we figured it was time for the rest of us to retire, too," said Kathy "Sue" Moland, one of two founding members still playing in the band. "We're all in our 60s, except for one. It's getting to be time."
Sh-Boom played what was planned to be its final performance on New Year's Eve in Grand Marais. But the members decided they should return to Duluth for a final sendoff.
The band will be playing from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday in the basement ballroom at the Clearwater Grille, formerly the Lakeview Castle, along the North Shore.
"We just want to thank everyone who's been coming out to see us for 24 years one last time," said Moland, a retired elementary school music teacher.
Sh-Boom has been bringing older generations back to their youth and introducing younger generations to classic rock and roll since 1989. The band has been a mainstay in bars and nightclubs and at public events around Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The band is known in local music circles as much for its sound as it is for its dancing and signature outfits that fit the bill for any '50s or '60s band.
Linda Hines of Superior has been following the band for years. She considers herself a "Sh-Boom groupie."
"They truly care about their audience; they've been connected to them for years and their following is extraordinary," Hines said. "You can tell that the band loves the music it plays."
Having danced to countless Sh-Boom performances over the years, Hines said she's gotten to know the musicians on a personal level.
"We're fortunate to have so many great local bands, but Sh-Boom is one that I've been able to connect with beyond music," she said. "It's transitioned to the point where they're friends now. We share more than just a passion for music."
Band members say it will be hard to say goodbye to the fans and friends they've made over the years. They usually play about two or three weekends a month, amounting to literally hundreds of performances in 24 years.
"I think we'll take longer breaks at the farewell gig to visit with all of the people who come," said Linda "Lou" Talbot, another founding member of Sh-Boom. "I've heard from so many people on Facebook who are planning to come."
Talbot said she just hopes there's enough space for everybody in the ballroom. It holds about 500 people, and they're expecting a big crowd for the free performance.
"An old friend from high school is flying in from the east coast to see us perform for the first time," said Talbot, who works as a waitress in Duluth. "There are a lot of people who will be coming to see us one final time, or for the first time if they haven't had the chance to before."
The farewell show will also be a reunion of sorts for the band's members. Over the years, there have been some 27 members that have been in the band.
Besides founding members Moland and Talbot, the band currently includes four men: Keith "KP" Paulson, Rudy "Toot" Lundahl, Gary "Bumpa" Williams and Dave "Dyno" Lindemann.
The musicians also plan to have their families there. Now that the band is retiring, the members say they can spend more time with loved ones, something they haven't been able to do enough when they're frequently on the road.
"We'd mostly be playing at clubs and places where our grandkids couldn't see us," Talbot said. "That's why we always enjoyed playing at Bayfront and Chester Bowl. The whole family could come."
But now that they're retiring, don't expect the musicians to give up music for good.
"I will always keep up with music. I'll still direct the choir at church and give the kids piano lessons and do weddings," Moland said. "I'll never give up music."