Happy birth­day to Les

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - TAP DAILY - — Piet Levy

How would you celebrate your 100th birth­day?

In Les Paul’s case, it in­volves Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, a mass guitar jam and rais­ing money for the Wauke­sha County Mu­seum in his home­town.

Paul — in­ven­tor of the solid body elec­tric guitar, among many other mu­si­cal and tech­ni­cal achieve­ments — died in 2009 at the age of 94. But no doubt he would have got­ten a kick out of the Les Paul 100th, in honor of what would have been his 100th birth­day back in June.

Tak­ing place Thurs­day at Naga-Wau­kee Park in De­lafield as a kick­off event for the week­end’s Wauke­sha Blues­Fest, the 100th fea­tures a head­lin­ing per­for­mance by Mil­wau­kee’s might­i­est gui­tarist, Greg Koch, with his band the Tone Con­trols and spe­cial guest Nielsen. An au­di­encewide guitar jam is open to all skill lev­els, even first-timers; se­cure stor­age will be pro­vided for gui­tars af­ter­ward.

Wauke­sha-born TV and film pro­ducer and com­poser Chris Han­son and vo­cal­ist Robin Pluer will per­form a Les Paul and Mary Ford trib­ute. White House of Mu­sic will of­fer free guitar lessons. Items from the Wauke­sha County Mu­seum’s Wiz­ard of Wauke­sha ex­hibit cel­e­brat­ing Paul will be on site. Other per­form­ers in­clude Willy Porter, Sam Llanas, Johnny A, the Guitar for Vets Five-Star Band, all-fe­male high school rock band Em­i­nence and Nashville ses­sion player JD Simo.

The Les Paul 100th takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Tick­ets are $25, avail­able on site, and in ad­vance at the mu­seum and wauke­sh­ablues fest.com, with pro­ceeds ben­e­fit­ing the mu­seum. Ad­mis­sion is free for chil­dren 12 and un­der.


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