Looking back, I really did have great time growing up. I didn’t alway think so back then, but today I can see all the really exciting things I was able to do and experience. Back in the summer of 1982, I had just turned 17, I worked a pretty crappy job at Burger King, and my best friend Jimmy and I could always find a way to get in a little good, clean, fun. Part of that fun was heading into Chicago from the far west suburbs to find some of the best live music. And in those days, there was nothing better than ChicagoFest.
ChicagoFest began in 1978, and I believe my mom took us there that first year with my grandmother, because Grandma Lu worked for the Tribune at the time and got free passes. I don’t think any of us knew what to expect that first year, but as I recall, Grandma Lu hated it. I don’t think my mom was too fond of it either, but me, I loved it. ChicagoFest was set up out on Navy Pier. Oh, not the Navy Pier that is currently the number one tourist destination in Chicago, with its giant Ferris Wheel and mall. Navy Pier back in 1978 was a run down, rickety, old abandoned cargo port, but for two weeks in the summer, it was transformed into one of the best music festivals the city had ever seen.
But ChicagoFest wasn’t just about the music, although that was my big attraction, it was a compete city festival that included a carnival style arcade, food vendors, live news broadcasts, and The Bozo Show for the kids. I believe even Phil Donahue broadcast his talk show from one of the stages. But the star of the show was still all the music. The Main Stage was located out in front of the pier, but all of the other music was set up on floating stages along the side of the pier. They all had different themes, country, jazz, blues, and rock were just a few, and they were all sponsored by local radio and tv stations, so you ended up with names like, the WLUP Classic Rock Stage. I believe that first year we saw the band Chicago on the main stage, which I believe was sponsored by the Chicago Tribune.
With my advancing age, sometimes memories can get a little shuffled up. I know Jimmy and I headed into the city on more than one occasion to attend ChicagoFest, the first was in 1979 before our freshman year. We saw Alice Cooper on the main stage. We took the train downtown with Jimmy’s older brother, and I may have forgotten to tell my mother where we were going. But I can’t honestly remember if it was the summer of 1981 or 1982 when we drove down to the fest in my dad’s old Chevy Malibu station wagon. I thought we had originally gone to see a band called The Kings, you know , of This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide fame. We also saw a couple of local bands that were starting to gain some popularity, the first being an Oak Park band called Off Broadway who had mild hits with the songs Stay in Time and Full Moon Turn My Head Around, and another lesser known band that was just starting out called The Kind.
The Kind released their first self titled album in 1982 on an independent local label called Three-Sixty Records. The band consisted of four members, Frank Jalovec on lead vocals and guitar, Frank Capek on lead guitar, Mark Gardner on bass, and Frank Sberno on drums. I bought my own copy of the album at a local record store and head shop called, The Flip Side, but it has long ago been lost. One of my favorite songs on the record was a heavy guitar piece called Total Insanity, and there was also a very good cover version of The Supremes’ Stop! In the Name of Love. But by far, the gem of the album was an iconic 80’s local favorite called Loved By You.
Back in the summer of 1982, the radio world had yet to become the super station conglomerate it is today, and there was still a little freedom at local stations to play the music they liked , not just the national hits controlled by a list put out by a corporate office in some other city. Back then, radio stations were a little bit more in touch with their local audience, and because of this, from time to time, a local act could still manage to get a little airplay. And that is what happened with the song Loved By You. In early August of that year, The song cracked the WLS Silver Dollar Survey, debuting at number 44 on the Top Forty-five singles chart. The Kind had actually already been on the Thirty-three top album chart for about a month, but the inclusion on the singles chart insured further air play.