Feature: With a passion, Hickenlooper will become rock ‘n’ roll governorBy Ricardo Baca | January 10th, 2011 | No Comments »
It may not appeal to folks who like their governors a little more high-cultured, but John Hickenlooper had a solid reputation as Denver’s rock ‘n’ roll mayor.
And with the lineup of local musicians slated to perform at his inaugural events, he seems destined to keep that label — sub the word “governor.”
As Denver’s mayor, Hickenlooper invited seminal L.A. punk band X over for Chinese take-out before introducing them later that night at the Bluebird Theater. He texted Michael Franti when the popular singer’s tour pulled into town, earning an on-stage shout-out at the Fillmore Auditorium (and later Hick showed up for a shimmy at Franti’s gig).
His tastes run from the properly tasteless to the embarrassingly populist. Hickenlooper came to the Larimer Lounge to see bum-core band Slak Jaw play to a crowd of 20 people. He hung out at the Lion’s Lair for a solo show by aging rocker John Doe. He snapped a few pics of the Fray’s intimate Gothic Theatre show as they warmed up their new material for the arenas.
And that was all in 2008-09.
In 2010, Hickenlooper stopped into the 10th annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase for a boostery campaign stop that coincided with his obvious passion for music.
“Forget Austin, Texas,” Hickenlooper told the swelling crowd waiting for Denver hip-hop act the Flobots last July. “I’m sick of hearing about Seattle or Portland. It’s happening right here in Denver!”
Hickenlooper’s big celebration Tuesday will feature dinner and dancing at the Fillmore Auditorium — to the tune of Hazel Miller and her band. He’ll follow that up with a rock show at the Ogden Theatre with gypsy-rockers DeVotchKa opening for multiplatinum act OneRepublic. It’s a unique, all-Colorado lineup for a politician who has smartly transitioned his passion for live music into a political priority.
And it won’t stop on inauguration day. On Jan. 21, Hickenlooper will be on hand to help promoter Chuck Morris introduce arena rock group Bon Jovi at an intimate fundraising concert (with tables ranging from $5,000 to $50,000) for the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation.
Music with a cause? Hick says he’s all about it. “There’s rock ‘n’ roll and there’s rock ‘n’ roll that tries to change the world, it tries to address who you are as people at the core of yourself and what you do after you leave a concert, it tries to make the world a better place,” he said at that UMS stop. “That kind of rock ‘n’ roll is my kind of rock ‘n’ roll, and I think that kind of rock ‘n’ roll is your kind of rock ‘n’ roll.”