Two Nights of Classic Rock Legends in Cohoes (Thursday Dec 8th and Friday Dec 9th)
Written by Staff on December 5, 2022
Interview: Gary Weinlein (Jim Morrison) By: Rob Smittix
If there were ever two simultaneous nights to be in the Spindle City December 8th and 9th are those dates. Classic Rock Productions presents December 8th: “Jim Morrison Absolutely Live” with special guest Grace Slick and Mick Jagger, and December 9th: “Groovin’ Classic Rock Hall of Fame Legends.” Groovin’ is in its 13th year but this will be the first time this show will be held at The Cohoes Music Hall. Both Nights: Show at 8 p.m. Doors at 7 p.m. Today I’m talking to the man who is keeping it going Mr. Gary Weinlein
GW: Thursday, December 8th would’ve been Jim Morrison’s 79th birthday.
RRX: So, you’re actually doing this on Jim Morrison’s birthday? So, you are really going to channel him directly. You will be playing Jim?
GW: I am Jim. I channel the lizard king and I have for many years. Actually, a long time ago I got barred from doing any further Catholic high school canteens. Back in the day, they were always on a Friday night. All of the Albany Catholic schools had them. I was the lead singer of a group called Five to One and basically I did a lot of Jim Morrison stuff. Unfortunately, I channeled Jim a little too much for high school and kind of did some obscene things with the microphone through the groin area.
GW: I swore over the PA but I didn’t know the PA was on. I directly swore at the principal and the vice principal calling them assh***s but I was just joking for the band to hear it because we were all just good Catholic school kids. Then all of sudden I hear my voice come echoing back off the walls. Oh my God then one thing led to another, and I didn’t go to school on Monday because I knew I was going to get expelled. On Tuesday, I mustered up the energy and surer than sh** I get called down before first period to the principal’s office. I sat down before the principal and vice principal. He asked, “do you know what you’re here for?” I said I kind of have an idea. He said, “your father is late on tuition, could you give him the message that it’s past due and to get it in as soon as possible?” I’m like, that’s it? he said “yeah that’s it,” I said okay I’m going to class. I get up and he says “oh by the way…”
RRX: Here it comes!
GW: “Whatever you think you did on Friday night, you will never do it again, you have officially been barred from performing!”
RRX: That’s how it all began. I wish you could’ve told them, oh yeah well, I’ll be playing at The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City as Jim, mark my words.
GW: (Laughs) Give it a few years! It’s amazing we’ve been performing almost as a Northeastern national act for the last twelve years. Ten years at Atlantic City Golden Nugget. Five Years we did Proctors in Schenectady, we did one year at the Palace and then went four years at The Egg. I’ve always done a benefit for the military, the last four years have been Blue Star and Gold Star Mothers, previous to that were different benefits for the Albany Veterans Center and the Tri-County Vietnam Era Veterans. We donated a lot of money over the years. It was very well received. But doing the same shows in the same theaters year after year can get old but we never did Cohoes. So, we will be doing two nights at Cohoes Music Hall as a classic rock double-header.
RRX: Two nights are better than one!
GW: I’m kind of giving this two-night thing to Tommy Love because he’s been with me for 13 years. We started the very first year up at Michael’s Banquet House. He did Mick Jagger. I did Jim Morrison.
RRX: I don’t know if Tommy ever turns Mick Jagger off, do you ever turn Jim off? Tommy is always Mick!
GW: You know what? I am only channeling Jim when I am doing the shows. This is just a passion for classic rock music and the acts that we do. Tommy is doing Mick Jagger on Thursday night. I’m doing Morrison and Molly O’Hara does Grace Slick. She’s also our saxophone player and she’s phenomenal. Then Friday night we’re doing another six acts, which gives us nine acts total.
RRX: That’s a lot of entertainment!
GW: Friday Night is “Groovin’ Classic Rock Hall of Fame Legends”. Santana (Pat Ginnelly), Linda Ronstadt (Fran O’Neill) and Eric Burdon (Kris Coleman) is the first act. Then after intermission we’ve got Tom Petty (Scott Garling), Ann Wilson (Fran O’Neill) and Robert Plant (Tommy Love).
RRX: These two nights sound amazing.
GW: Friday is going to be a nice night, but Thursday will have a spiritual allure to Doors fans, to have a show on Jim Morrison’s birthday.
RRX: Most definitely.
GW: Let me tell you back in 1991, on the 20th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death, January 3rd, I did a show at Saratoga Winners as Jim and they had to open the doors to the parking lot, there were over 600 people there. It was outrageous. You couldn’t move in the place it was so packed. It was just insane.
RRX: Then you sang “c’mon baby light my fire” and somebody took it literally. I miss that place man.
Here’s a fun fact: Gary Weinlein better known as Jim Morrison on stage, was actually considered one of the Capital Region’s top professional football prospects during the late 70s. Gary played with the Metro Mallers of the Seaboard Football League beginning in 1973 and continued his career with the Mallers and Troy’s Uncle Sams (Sammies) during the championship years of 1975 – 1978. “I was signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1978 and had a great run at making the team playing in four pre-season games as a Bengal making it to the last cut. The legendary NFL head coach Paul Brown, (then the owner of the Bengals) made a call on my behalf to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League where I played the remainder of 1978. The following year I left the Argonauts to sign with the New York Giants, where again I made it to the final 50 player cut down. Their first year special teams coach Bill Belichick did everything he could to get the administrators to keep me, but back then his power was limited. ” -Gary Weinlein
There’s much more to the football story but we need to save that for another interview!