Ken Janssen has been a key in player in the renaissance of the Waterloo neighborhood and an active part of Cleveland’s indie music scene.
He fronted the It*Men and Hot Rails and booked bands at the Beachland Ballroom. When the Beachland’s surrounding neighborhood started to attract attention and grants to sell the area as a residential area for artists, Janssen ditched booking for real estate in 2011 to be a part of that new growth.
Then, last November, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and now uses a wheelchair. And he’ll be undergoing treatments at the Cleveland Clinic to slow the progression of the disease.
But, this being America and not every other developed nation on Earth, that costs big time.
So the Beachland Ballroom is celebrating Janssen’s 40th birthday by hosting a benefit called The Last Waltz of the It Men. Both the Hot Rails and the recently reunited It*Men will play, along with Cobra Verde, the New Lou Reeds, and Charles Hill Jr. DJ’s Alright and Csi-Fi will host.
There’s still more. The It*Men will be reissuing the album, Greatest Its, as a double vinyl set/digital download. $25 gets you into the show and a copy of the album. Contributions of $50-$200 get you additional perks you can learn about if you go to the web page to order in advance. Regular admission is $10.
All money raised from both the show and album sales goes directly to Ken and his wife to cover their expenses. And the Beachland is kicking in a dollar from the sale of every Heineken.
Photo: Ken Janssen performs with his Lottery League band at the Agora in April.