Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee plans to kick-off his "final push" for the Iowa Caucuses with a concert/fundraiser in Clear Lake. Huckabee and his band "Capitol Offense" will play at the historic Surf Ballroom with former Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau on Friday, October 26th.
"It’s fun. I’m having a good time doing it. It’s great therapy. It’s also a wonderful way to get people together. People will come hear a rock band play that wouldn’t come to hear a political speech," Huckabee said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. "But it also gives me an opportunity to talk about a very serious message on the value of creativity and how the next economy is going to be creative and my music gives me a platform to do that."
This is not a high-dollar event. Tickets are $10 for individuals; $25 for a family. Huckabee plays base guitar in his "cover band" which plays familiar songs like "Born to be Wild" and "Freebird" that Baby Boomers enjoy. They’re trying to learn a couple of tunes made popular by Boston. Huckabee said he is a Boston fan.
"I think they’re one of the great kind of classic…arena rock bands of the past generation and had some great songs and some very unique sounds," Huckabee said. "Having Barry Goudreau coming to play with Capitol Offense is going to be s lot of fun and I think it’s going to give people yet another reason to show up. Not that they didn’t have a good one already, but this gives them yet another one to come."
Goudreau was lead guitarist for the band on two albums and recorded hits like "Don’t Look Back." Huckabee is an advocate of music and art education in the schools and he and his band played at the Iowa GOP’s Straw Poll. "There are some things that you outgrow. Music and art don’t happen to be among those things you outgrow and it’s a vital part of developing the left and right brain," Huckabee said. "If you don’t have a music and art education for students, you really aren’t educating them at all."
The venue for the concert is the Surf Ballroom, the place Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final concert on February 2, 1959 before the three stars were killed when their plane crashed shortly afterwards while taking off in a snowstorm. Huckabee called "The Surf" is one of the "most phenomenal places" he’s visited in Iowa.
"Spent about an hour and a half in the place, looked at the photographs on the wall," Huckabee said. "What I think is so classic about The Surf Ballroom is that it has remained a constant music venue for about 60 years in exactly the same location and the setting. It hasn’t been ruined by somebody coming in and redoing it all. The same booths, the same dance floor that were there in 1959 (are) still there today."
Huckabee said he’s not "spooked" by the history, but he pointed out they didn’t book the concert in February. Huckabee formed his band "Capitol Offense" shortly after he became Arkansas’ governor in 1996. Three of his former staff members are in the band, along with an investment banker from Little Rock.
Click on the audio link below to listen to Radio Iowa’s interview with Huckabee.