Sometimes a writer will step back and let another take over. When I asked John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of Local Spins Online Magazine, to reflect on his last 20 years of producing the music-fueled charity event, Feedback (first known as Basement Bands Benefit), I expected a few bits of quotes. What I got is really worth printing in its entirety, but here are a few things should know before you venture out to attend this concert. These are John's reflections on Feedback:
"For two decades, this has been a true labor of love for me and my band mate, friend and guitarist Charley Honey. When we first launched this 20 years ago at the old Intersection in Eastown, we looked at it as a way to raise money for a good cause -- supporting food pantries for needy families coordinated by Access of West Michigan -- and spotlight under-the-radar bands who sometimes don't get the attention they deserve.
That first year, our band The Honeytones played, along with an unusual garage-rock outfit Workshop. Headlining the show was Two Headed Sam, a very cool, soulful rock band whose membership happened to include Mark Sellers, who'd later go on to great success as a restaurateur and GR bar magnate (Stella's, HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Company).
Since that time, Feedback has been held at Billy's Lounge (formerly Martini's), The Rhythm Kitchen, The B.O.B. and for the past several years at Founders Brewing Co.
Over the years, a who's who lineup of talented bands has played Feedback, including The Concussions, The Crane Wives, Midlife Crisis, The Willeys, Molly Bouwsma Schultz, Ralston Bowles, Valentiger, Jimmie Stagger, Nathan Kalish, DangerVille, Jim Crawford Band, Knee Deep Shag and more.
So to commemorate this anniversary, this year's show features some popular performers from past Feedbacks: Domestic Problems (which is playing Founders for the first time ever on Sunday) and The FuzzRites.
Plus, The Honeytones will bring in some special guests to play with them during their opening set -- harmonica player Hank Mowery and singer Hannah Rose Graves. And there could be some surprises to boot. In addition, there will be a 50-50 raffle and sales of a commemorative Feedback poster to further aid the cause.
There have been some drop-dead amazing performances over the years: Domestic Problems playing to a jam-packed Rhythm Kitchen with folks sitting and lying on the floor; Molly Bouswma Schultz and Friends tearing it up at Founders in what would be the predecessor to Vox Vidorra; The Concussions filling the dance-floor with their surf-rock goofiness.
For me, few things have been more satisfying than hosting an event that's not only a wall-to-wall blast with some absolutely incredible performers but one that's raised more than $25,000 in donations for an organization that really needs the help to serve a growing population of needy families in Kent County.
A couple of years ago, I became a board member at Access, partly because my involvement with Feedback concerts got me to see what good work this organization does and partly because it's a passion of mine to battle hunger and poverty. So many folks just don't realize how many people in our own community are struggling to get by every day. Access of West Michigan does so much with so few resources I'm hoping Feedback helps raise awareness of their mission.
Also, we've actually asked a bunch of bands who've played Feedback in the past to swing by Sunday's event so we can acknowledge them and give them a shout-out from the stage. It's a long roster of top-notch artists who've donated their time to the cause over the years."
Thanks, John, Charley, and all the artists who help make sure that we all remember that charity begins at home…even if your definition of home translates into the entire city. "Good will to all" suddenly has fresh meaning. Be thankful this year for what we have and for what we can do when we make music together. Stay classy, GR!
Admission: $5 donation, but please consider giving more if you are able to do so this year.
Editor's note: John Sinkevics' legacy to our region is evident not just though his charity but via his Local Spins Online Magazine. Sinkevics provides our region with a great online portal through which we can all connect more fully with the music that is changing the face of our city. Local Spins is without a doubt an essential online music guide for locals looking to gain a solid perspective and for those outside our region who wonder what the hell is happening in Grand Rapids.