Our hearts go out to Wally Miles, creator of the local music bash known as Wallypalooza. He lost his brother Ted recently, and his heart’s hurting, but he’s determined that the show will go on.
Ever since the last Wallypalooza — held in January 2013 at the now-defunct Thirsty Turtle in Maryville — Miles has been laying low. He found a new job, a new relationship and a new direction for his life, and it seemed his days of putting together a massive party that showcased local music were behind him.
(For those unfamiliar with Wallypalooza, they started out as a birthday celebration for Miles, a 1997 graduate of Maryville High School and a longtime resident of Blount County. He invited friends to the lake in 1998 to celebrate the day, and they enjoyed an afternoon of music blaring from an old boombox. The next year, someone came up with the idea of getting a rock band to play for the annual gathering. Over the next 14 years, the event was christened Wallypalooza and grew into the monster that it is today. And starting in 2008, when he booked three bands (Middle Finger, Stonemosis and Half of Something) at also-defunct Nater’z Sports Grille in Maryville, it’s become a beast over which he has little control, at least in terms of how many people show up.)
But when the folks who run Blackstock Auditorium, 940 Blackstock Drive in Knoxville’s Warehouse District, called and asked him to do Wallypalooza one more time, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity, he told us.
“I’ve always wanted to do it on that stage, because I’ve been sneaking in there since I was a high schooler and it was the Electric Ballroom,” Miles said of the venue. “I remember seeing Danzig there in 1995 with Marilyn Manson and a young, upstart band named Korn. I couldn’t tell you what I did last week, but I can tell you about that show!”
It’s the first Wallypalooza event to be held outside of Blount County, and if it were any other venue, he added, he’d probably not consider it. But doing it at Blackstock was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“I never thought it was possible, because people told me for years one day I’d get in there, but I just shrugged it off,” he said. “Then the guy who does the booking asked me what I was going to do for Wallypalooza this year, and I was just straight-up honest and told him I hadn’t been thinking about it. He asked me to do it there, and I talked it over with the missus and said, ‘Look, here we go again!’”
His girlfriend (Linda Shelton) gave the event her blessing, however, and Wallypalooza 2014 is now set for April 4 and 5 at Blackstsock. The lineup includes:
• April 4 — Something Wicked, Big Trouble, Joe Coe, Evince, The Bad Dudes, Rot Iron and The Dirty Gunnz; and
• April 5 — Catalyst, Indie Lagone, AfterLife, Imprint, Shallowpoint, Big Pushy and Crome Molly.
The shows begin at 8 p.m. each night, and the cover charge will likely be somewhere from $5 to $10, Miles said.