“I would kind of call us pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll because that’s when rock and roll was started,” says the Indiana music veteran. “I played with several groups back in the late ‘50s. I went on the road in the early ‘60s with groups, and I just have been playing off and on all my life.”
After baring witness to several decades of music and entertainment in the Hoosier state, the author and historian is looking to establish The Indiana Museum of Music and Entertainment (IMEM) with the help of fellow entertainment authors, collectors and historians. They came together to create a non-profit and will hold a pop-up event at Fountain Square’s Wheeler Arts Theater this Saturday in an effort to gain community support for their future museum.
“We’re hoping this pop-up project draws interest, and somebody will come in and say, ‘I have this building that you guys can use for the museum,’ or that they’ll give us enough money to rent a building so we can get it started,” he says. “This is more or less a fundraiser, hopefully to get a building.”
Through the free event, visitors will be able to get a taste of what the group is all about through the many authors and IMEM founders who will be in attendance, while also enjoying live music from Clifford Ratliff and Friends, Tim Wright (Wright Brothers) and Karen Irwin, and Cathy Morris. Additionally, there will be several exhibitions set up throughout the theater, including: rare memorabilia and film from both The Beatles’ 1964 Indiana State Fair performance and Elvis Presley’s last concert at Market Square Arena via Tom Fontaine; early Indiana rock and jazz memorabilia via Larry Goshen; radio and TV memorabilia (including WTTV’s former production console) via John Rabold; and rare Indiana records, posters and concert flyers via Rick Wilkerson
Tom Fontaine is a collector of music memorabilia since the days of Beatles trading cards, and his wealth of rock and roll artifacts has been well-documented by many local publications over the years including NUVO
. But now through this opportunity, he’s especially looking forward to shedding light on Indiana’s rich history of music and entertainment.
“We all feel like it’s time to have these artists – whether they came to Indianapolis or they’re from Indiana – get their recognition,” he says. “We’re all really, really passionate about it.”
Looking ahead, the group plans to continue coordinating more pop-up events, with an end goal of establishing a permanent museum location that can draw out-of-state visitors to Indianapolis, according to Goshen
“I think it really would be a benefit for the city because it’d be something else that people could come from out of the state to see, just like The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland,” he says. “It could eventually be something that big because there is so much talent from here.”
When Larry Goshen started playing drums as a 16-year-old, there wasn’t a whole lot of rock and roll coming out of Indiana. But honestly though, there wasn’t much rock and roll coming out of anywhere in 1957.