Monday, March 16, 1998
Stagger Lee sweeps Cammys
Mack honored for lifetime achievement

BY CRESTA WILLIAMS
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Lonnie Mack and his Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at Sunday's Cammys.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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Cincinnati's extended musical family turned out to celebrate together again Sunday night.

The Second Annual Cincinnati Area Pop Music Awards drew a sellout crowd to Sycamore Gardens, as musicians in 30 categories, from funk to country to modern rock were paid tribute.

Rock guitar legend Lonnie Mack received the Michael W. Bany Lifetime Achievement Award and a mayoral proclamation declaring Sunday Lonnie Mack Day.

Accepting the lifetime achievement honor, he recounted the many firsts in his career as as rock 'n' roll pioneer.

''But this is the greatest first of all,'' he said, holding the plaque above his head.

A benefit for the Michael W. Bany Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Cammy Awards was a five hour-plus concert featuring Mr. Mack in a blues jam finale anchored by the Blue Birds and featuring a host of local guitarists.

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Among performers was Stagger Lee, the band that swept the country Cammys and won favorite band honors.

Stagger Lee's Bobby Joe Mueller, winner of the country vocal award, paid tribute to the man whose death inspired the event.

''Michael Bany's up there watching over us. We miss him,'' he said, and dedicated ''Remember Me'' to the late musician, killed in a December 1995 robbery.

Other performers included Blessid Union of Souls, Over The Rhine, the alternative rock band Roundhead and a reunion of the pyschodots, voted the 1997 favorite band Cammy winners.

''Put the cigarette butts in your ears, granny,'' psychodot Rob Fetters said. Spitting out his gum, he jumped literally into a wild three-song set.

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A member of the rock band Roundhead plays the electric string bass Sunday at the Cincinnati Area Pop Music Awards.
(Richard Tsong-Taatarii photo)
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The Clark Montessori School Steel Band, a group of 30 eighth-graders, opened the show with ''Everybody Loves a Saturday Night.''

Comedian Michael ''Jazzman'' Flannery, the show's host, got the crowd going with jokes and a bit of horn playing.

Jason Dennie, best folk vocalist, asked that ''all those who love acoustic music, keep supporting it.''

It was a night of thanks. Janet Pressley, best folk vocalist, thanked coffee house owners. Leap Skyward thanked their teachers. Best rock instrumentalist Mr. Fetters thanked fellow nominee Scott Covrett. Over The Rhine's Karin Bergquist thanked the stage crew.

''I sing. I don't talk,'' Duran of SHAG said in accepting best rock vocalist. ''I wish my mother could have been here.''

Best Funk - R&B band went to the Blue Birds, one of the bands Mr. Bany had performed with.

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Guitarist Greg Schaber (left) tells Little Al Thomas how he acquired the two guitars.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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''We want to thank the fans for sticking with us, and we dedicate this award to (Michael's younger brother) Mark Bany. He's given us the opportunity to keep Michael in our hearts forever,'' said Blue Birds keyboardist Charlie Fletcher.

Mood, best rap - hip hop act, wasn't there to accept it, so fellow nominee Holmskillit thanked Cincinnati for keeping rap and hip hop around.

''We here in Cincinnati are so lucky to have so many wonderful musicians in this town,'' said Best Jazz Vocalist Mary Ellen Tanner. After receiving the award for Best Country Vocalist, Bobby Joe Mueller insisted, ''I keep doing what I love to do. Thanks for making that happen.''

Mr. Fetters also received the Solo Act Award.

''Solo? I couldn't do anything without a bunch of help.''

Complete list of Cammy winners