90s in 90 Days #25: Putting the “fun” in funnel cake and the bands where they don’t belong

90s in 90 Days #25:  Putting the “fun” in funnel cake and the bands where they don’t belong

In radio, sales departments are always looking for an angle…an “in”…a way to make more money.  Many times during the 90s, the Q101 sales department turned to me for help.  Association with local music was apparently desirable to advertisers, and that put account executives in the frequent and unenviable position of finding ways to stick the local music square peg into a commerce-driven round hole.

Top of the “awkward list” is the time I was charged with booking two bands to perform live in the food court of Great America for a special radio theme night.  There was money on the table for the bands, which would help make the idea more sellable and easy to stomach for whomever I approached.  Booking the event was easy: I decided to turn to a pair of friendly bands who would likely find amusement in the amusement park concept.  Enter Kill Hannah and Kid Million.

When I say “perform live in the food court,” I mean “perform live in the food court.”  There, betwixt funnel cake kiosks and burger stands, in the shadow of roaring coasters…and not all that far away from the arcade room with “Whack-a-Mole,” sat a makeshift stage.

People who go to Great America go there for one reason, really.  To ride rides.  Anything else that happens during the visit is merely filler between the rides.  Kill Hannah and Kid Million (more on them in a later entry) were that filler.

No one was interested.  No one.  The sound was drowned out by the coasters, and the people who walked by the performance were so focused on going from one place to the next that they barely noticed the live rock bands playing their asses off just fifty yards away.

Midway through the afternoon, after Kill Hannah had finished, I pulled Matt Devine of Kill Hannah aside to apologize.  He looked at me and said, “It’s no big deal.  We’re not really a ‘daytime’ band anyway.  We’re used to playing in darkness.”

“And without rollercoasters zipping overhead,” I added.

“That too.”

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