On this date in history, the band Roadmaster received the key to Kokomo, Indiana during their show at Havens Auditorium on the IU Kokomo campus.
The year was 1980 and I was a senior in high school. I happened to be the co-editor of my school newspaper, The Husky Voice, and somehow I convinced our advisor to let me do a cover story on this show to spotlight the concert and also showcase some local bands who were playing at that time.
Basically, this was my first attempt at rock journalism, so to be revisiting this event all these years later is pretty special to me.
Roadmaster was from Indianapolis and were signed to Mercury Records. They put out several completely excellent albums (yes, vinyl albums!) in the mid ’70’s and added one more in 1982 before the band was dropped from the label.
The bass player (Toby Myers) joined John Mellencamp’s band from there and was with the Hoosier Star for a major portion of his biggest success.
Many Indiana fans expected Roadmaster to break big, considering they had all the ingredients that bands like Foreigner and Journey had…soaring lead vocals from a charismatic front man, a scorching lead guitarist, a keyboard player who provided arena ready chord progressions and could solo for days, and a stomping rhythm section. Their songs were definitely memorable, too…their song “Sweet Music” was an anthem that had hit potential for certain.
Roadmaster – Sweet Music
I don’t know if their label just couldn’t promote them enough, or if they just had that small market luck, but they were a band that Indiana was proud of.
When they came to Kokomo in 1980, it was a big enough deal that our mayor attended and presented them with the key to the city. That was an amazing thing to witness as an aspiring musician…inspiration for days!
The local band Buffalo played a great opening set, too. A proud night in Kokomo rock history, and a proud event in my journalistic career.
Written By Braddon S. Williams
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