Steven Van Zandt grew up in Middletown, where an important nightclub for local rock bands, The Hullabaloo, was located in the ’60s. So it makes a certain kind of poetic sense that a Rock History class at Middletown High School South, in conjunction with Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, has made a documentary about The Hullabaloo and Middletown’s rock history.
You can watch a trailer for the half-hour film, “Sonic Highways Middletown,” below. And it will also premiere at the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery in Asbury Park, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. The event will also include a panel discussion with original E Street Band drummer Vini Lopez, Chris Plunkett (of The Shadows and The Source), Russ Howard (of The Chlan) and other musicians who were interviewed for the film. For information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
Victor Bayers — a teacher at the high school as well as a drummer who has performed with Sonny Kenn, the Bank Street Blues Band and others — co-executive produced the film. Kenn, a legendary Shore guitarist, is also interviewed in it.
The film starts with the Hullabaloo years but also looks at the infamous Clearwater Swim Club concert of 1970 (where Bruce Springsteen and Van Zandt’s band, Steel Mill, attracted a huge crowd, and had the plug pulled on them when they played too long); the development of Michael’s Restaurant and Pizzeria as a place for local bands to play; and the comparatively “desolate” (to quote one of the students interviewed for the film) state of the local Middletown rock scene, today.
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