Dowagiac Daily News, Michigan
Dec 1 2006

Wood Fire books Leon Redbone Tuesday, Jan. 23


By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
Friday, December 1, 2006 10:20 AM EST

Larry Seurynck is seeing things again.



This time his vision is Leon Redbone in Dowagiac, as in the performer
known for his trademark Panama hat and dark glasses who some
suspected of being Frank Zappa in disguise.

Redbone, the performer of early 20th century jazz and blues featured
in Rolling Stone a year before he landed a recording contract,
appeared as a semi-regular musical guest on NBC's "Saturday Night
Live" throughout the late 1970s and early '80s.

More recently, Redbone covered Frank Loesser's romantic Christmas
song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Zooey Deschanel for the closing
credits of Will Ferrell's 2003 holiday film, "Elf."

The man the online encyclopedia Wikipedia calls "the most famous
non-famous American musician" is scheduled to appear downtown at Wood
Fire on Tuesday night, Jan. 23, 2007, Seurynck said Thursday.

Tickets are expected to cost $50 for the intimate setting.

Seurynck's previous insights include obtaining Muhammad Ali's ring
for Dowagiac Boxing Club, now part of the Police Athletic League
(PAL), and an upscale Italian restaurant downtown that is
increasingly known as a venue for high-caliber live jazz and blues
musicians.


Just ask the two Salt Lake City fellows who trekked cross-country to
the Grand Old City by plane and train to hear Franz Jackson.

Seurynck's latest vision sees an artist of Redbone's caliber doing
for the live music scene what a Gwen Brooks poetry reading did to
inspire the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival in the early 1990s.

"We believe it will be a very significant night for the arts in
Dowagiac," Seurynck said. "A performance by Leon would set the stage
for major performers on a quarterly basis. It will be a wonderful
opportunity for town and Wood Fire as a venue."

Redbone, 57, was born Aug. 26, 1949, supposedly in Cyprus to Armenian
parents who named him Dickran Gobalian.

His vague biography cultivates a mysterious air.

He first began performing in public while living in Canada.

Frequent appearances in Toronto clubs and at folk music festivals
built his musical reputation while enhancing his enigmatic persona.

Rumors that he was actually Zappa in disguise faded with the Mothers
of Invention frontman's cancer death on Dec. 4, 1993.

Rolling Stone profiled Redbone in 1974 as "so authentic you can hear
the surface noise."

He told the magazine he was the love child of Paganini and Jenny
Lind.

Warner Bros. Records released Redbone's first album, "On the Track,"
in 1975.

So distinctive is Redbone that he has appeared in at least two comic
strips, Mister Boffo and Gary Larson.

He performed the theme song for the 1980s sitcom, "Mr. Belvedere."
Redbone has also appeared regularly on the PBS children's show,
"Between the Lions."

He has also done music for and appeared in television commercials, of
which his most famous was a spot where he flies over a beach on a
flying carpet singing, "This Bud's for You" for Budweiser beer.

His 15 albums, including a live album recorded in Paris released in
2005, earned him a cult-like fan following who traipse significant
distances to hear him play.

He reportedly travels to engagements exclusively by car since
surviving the crash of a small plane in the early 1980s.

Recurring gags involve the influence of alcohol and claiming to have
written works well before his time, furthering his mysterious aura.

His concerts are said to blend performance, comedy and instrumentals.
He often wears an ensemble of a white coat and trousers with a black
string tie while sitting stiffly on a stool.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress