"It was a wild place. At one point, they had the largest Budweiser account in the country," says Bill Lee, a 58-year-old former DJ at Lawrence stations KLWN and KLZR, who remembers when the Red Dog (now Liberty Hall) was, he says, "without a doubt, the place to play in this part of the country."
For its 40th anniversary, the Red Dog welcomes back some of its wayward sons as nine bands from the early days of Midwestern music are inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Lee, who wrote the book on the subject (Kansas Rockers ... The First Generation), founded the hall of fame with a group of local music lovers six months ago, after realizing that if Nebraska, Texas, Iowa and a bunch of other states have them, Kansas should, too.
Every year, Lee plans to present the board members with a list of candidates for induction. Voting (write-ins welcomed) is in October, and an induction concert follows in January.
Along with the legendary, blues-wailin', matching-lamé-suit-wearing (and aging) Fabulous Flippers, fellow inductees Rodney and the Blazers, the Red Dogs and Mike Finnigan are all rocking out and taking home plaques. Members of Kansas, Brewer and Shipley, the Blue Things and Chesmann Square are slated to attend as well. Big Joe Turner, who died in 1985, will be there in spirit.