Spring fling swings to the oldies | NevadaAppeal.com

Spring fling swings to the oldies

Rex Bovee

Outside the Carson Nugget Friday evening, a couple talked about the Elian Gonzalez immigration controversy.

“The newscaster said that civil disturbance is inevitable,” the woman said as the man opened the door for her.

But upstairs in the Nugget’s ballroom, dozens of couples were jitterbugging on the dance floor, reliving the days before the world learned the name Fidel Castro.

Simon Farrell blasted away on his sax as oldies group Eddie and the Cruisers played Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.”

Just as they may have done at a sock hop three or four decades before, some gals paired up on the dance floor, not waiting for the guys to redeem them from wallflower status.

The Spring Fling was a benefit for the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada. Before and between the Cruisers’ sets, Scott Gahagen, Bill McLean and Sean Austin from radio station KPTL spun the silvered CDs that have replaced 45s for modern-day deejays.

“We do an oldies show every spring for the Nugget, always to benefit some local organizations,” KPTL’s Craig Swope explained. He said more oldies dances could be scheduled there over the summer.

The great weather and a radio announcement of the Spring Fling drew a small contingent of hot rodders down from the Reno/Sparks area. Jim Shine, whose white beard makes him look more like a Santa than a 50s greaser, brought wife Judy down in their red ’54 Chevy Belair.

“This is our first chance to cruise this year,” said Shine, who said he teaches rock and roll dancing, sings and is a deejay himself, as well as a member of the Kickback Kruisers car club.

Neal Grows, who rods with Reno’s Klassic Kruisers, wheeled his flamed yellow ’56 Chevy 150 into Carson. And Claudia Williamson rolled into town from Sparks in a rare 1952 Chevrolet Styleline, an eight-passenger wagon that’s a bit of a sleeper, restored to original form except for a sneaky 350-cubic-inch mill slipped under the hood.

Up on stage, Eddie Wilson (well, that’s who he is behind the microphone) almost whispered the gentle lead-in to “On the Dark Side,” from the soundtrack of the movie “Eddie and the Cruisers” and originally performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.

That last piece of trivia from the College of Musical Knowledge was worth a pair of free champagne buffets to one attendee during the contest the KPTL put on during the breaks.

The Nugget had kicked in a stack of buffets and steak dinner coupons to help the Children’s Museum cause and Shine scored a pair, too, because he knew that 1962 was the year Little Evie had a hit with “Locomotion.”

Miller has been singing with bands for 38 years, since way before “rock and roll” and “oldies” showed up in the same sentences.

Miller’s past 15 years have been in the Northern Nevada area and Eddie and the Cruisers have gigs all summer in the region, including during Hot August Nights. They play at the Hilltop Club in Coughlin Ranch in Reno April 20.

Miller said he has his best line-up ever in the current band: Farrell, guitarist Jimmie LeGarvey, bass player Larry Goldman, drummer Lou Werlinger, keyboard player Nancy Barker and Dave Zydzik on tenor sax.