Skip Griparis concert highlights rock history

Emily Krivograd, Campus-Life Editor

 The “Time Travels to the Heroes of Rock” concert performed by Skip Griparis in the Philip Lynch Theatre on Feb. 28 served as a tribute to well-known rock musicians. As a part of the Performing Arts Series, the event featured Griparis mixing the of history of rock music and comedy in his 7:30 p.m. performance.

As an alumnus, Griparis has been considerably successful as both a musician and an actor. In 1975, Griparis was recruited to sing and play in the Olivia Newton-John band, which he toured with for four years. 

Afterword, Griparis acted in the 1989 film “Major League” and the 1994 film “Major League II,” portraying Monte the Colorman. Since his success in films, Griparis has performed as a singer and guitarist in his “Time Travels to the Heroes of Rock” shows.

“I knew the music thanks to my parents introducing me to different genres such as music from the 40s and 50s,” said freshman computer science major Jacob Wolniak. “[Griparis] performed good covers of all the songs.”

Griparis kicked off the night with the blues, offering some verbal history along with his renditions of blues musicians. The earliest of blues music originated in the early 1900s; an infusion of the first rock ‘n’ roll sounds were heard in the late 1940s.

Griparis then transitioned to the slightly more recognizable rock sound of the early 1950s, highlighting artists such as Big Joe Turner and The Platters. Hitting every high note in his dead- on impressions, every cover earned Griparis a round of applause between his explanations behind the sound of each artist.

“Blind since age seven, [Ray Charles] actually began his career by channeling Nat King Cole,” said Griparis. “Not a bad start, but Ray Charles went back to his southern roots. He developed what is known as rock soul.”

After a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Griparis updated his audience on where each singer was at the end of the 50s; as Elvis Presley was serving in the Army and Berry had been unfairly sentenced to three years of jail time due to racial tensions.

Griparis then provided attendees with sounds of the era from a cover of Gene Pitney to The Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Due to a surge of socially conscious songs in the late 60s, Griparis elaborated on the message of harsh racial segregation in Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind.”

Griparis finished off the two-hour show with hits from Little Anthony and the Imperials.