B'Ginnings

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B’Ginnings was a large musical showcase nightclub in Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, that opened in approximately October, 1974.[1] The principal and most well-known owner was Danny Seraphine, the drummer for the supergroup rock band Chicago, who had had a hit song called "Beginnings."

Pentwater, a band that toured in the 1970s and played B’Ginnings over 20 times, recalls on their web site that, "B’Ginnings’ interior was decorated to resemble a Chicago street scene, complete with stoplights, ‘el’ tracks, and street signs. Free drinks and big haired girls flowed."[2]

Keith Nelms, former stage manager/sound engineer, recalls that, B’Ginnings(max.capacity; 936, per fire marshal); was equipped with a 16' × 32' stage, with stairs/loading ramp ; full concert P.A./monitors; & a professional lighting system, (with spotlight). The control booth was set up directly across from the stage, recessed, in the north wall; at ceiling level, with the only access being a narrow iron ladder,(anchored in floor/concrete;welded/attached to the ceiling beams)by the clubs main entrance. All the technical equipment was located here; the sound consoles/equalizers(Tascam model 10/24 channel-FOH/Neotek 24X4-monitors)and lighting console/spotlight, DJ gear/ turntables/TEAC 3340-reel to reel, house backlighting, curtain control(stage was fitted with motorized/velvet-like black curtain, that raised & lowered at the push of button). The interior(west wall) was decorated with mock building facades/windows/doors/porches; with backlighting, to resemble a residential Chicago street scene, complete with stoplights, street signs,(State & Lake/Rush & Oak). ‘L’ tracks,ran from east to west walls(with mock iron, support structures, suspended from ceiling), that looped,("The Loop")around the stainless steel, sunken dance floor(at sub-level in front of stage,with a large disco/mirror ball overhead). A very large, illuminated replica, "Chicago"(Theatre)marquee, on the ceiling, above the main/center bar(1 of 3 bars), an illuminated mural of the skyline of the city of Chicago,(as viewed from Lake Michigan, looking west), covered the entire east wall of the club. In the southwest part of the building, there were numerous Gold & Platinum record awards, from the band Chicago, lining the walls of manager Dino Koletis' 2nd floor office;(2-way mirrored glass enabled the manager a 1 way view of the club from his office desk/chair). Going down the ornamental iron, spiral staircase, from the office, on the sub-ground level, was the spacious, professional dressing room, equipped with wall to wall, lighted mirrors, thick, shag carpet, & a private shower/bathroom. Besides all these excellent features, there was also a full service restaurant/kitchen in the southeast part of the building. *** One Saturday night, in December 1976, Danny Seraphine, and the whole band Chicago, flew into O'Hare airport,(fresh, from a show in southern Illinois); with a Chicago police escort, and a long line of limousines, they drove out to B'Ginnings, to see Dannys' favorite band/pet project, "Streetplayer"; performing a showcase that night !! The club was abuzz with anticipation knowing that their, "hometown boys, made good", were coming there, at the peak of their career,(Chicago X, was certified platinum;, "If You Leave Me Now", was the #1 single, on the charts!) The band arrived, just in time for "Streetplayers" set, and immediately mingled with the crowd. Meanwhile, Danny, came up into the soundbooth,and asked me, if he could take a turn, at the sound controls for a while,(I agreed, of course)!! During the course of the evening, I rubbed elbows and chatted, with all of the band members; and before long, it was, "last call"! It was one of the most exciting nights at the club,(with the band socializing, not performing), since their "Grand Opening", performances in 1974!! This was the last time the whole band, together, were at the club! What fond memories !! **(Previous entry compiled/submitted by Keith Nelms-stage manager/sound/lighting engineer 1975–1977) [1].” Another rock historian similarly remembers B’Ginnings as the “class of the suburban rock venues,” featuring “eye-candy hostesses combined with ear-piercing Marshall stacks [2].” Owned by musicians, it was considered a great place for musicians to play because of these amenities!!, [3]. The venue was “totally remodeled” in 1980 [4] but closed soon thereafter.

The club was noteworthy not only for attracting national acts, but, as the following list demonstrates, for supporting local Midwest bands and, at a time when most Chicago clubs would not book new artists, punk rock, or evennew wave bands, or little-known acts. With Windy City Productions, occasionally taking chances on them, at least for a warmup or audition night performance.(Eventually, Windy City dissolved, in late 1976, into Jam Productions & Celebration Flipside Productions, respectively); Jam hung onto B'Ginnings, & the Ivanhoe Theatre exclusively, along with many other venues in Chicago, along with exclusive booking rights with some of these embryonic artists, as well,(which has helped Jam maintain their overall power base, in the regional/national booking scene, still, today)!! Probably the biggest impediment to the club's longevity was its location, in a shopping mall nearly an hour’s drive from the Chicago city limits. While several of the members of the band Chicago, and many area musicians, hailed from the suburbs, most fans of harder and edgier rock lived in the city. The club was impossible to reach by public transportation, and to fill its capacity had to rely either on fans from the more conservative towns nearby, or on large numbers of urbanites making the long drive out. With the opening of Poplar Creek Music Theatre, just down the road from B'Ginnings, in the late spring/summer of 1980, the club had run its course of live concerts, in a cramped club atmosphere! Bands that used to headline at B'Ginnings, earlier, in the mid-late 1970s', were now headlining or opening acts at Poplar Creek. This opened the way for its demise, & late in 1980, early 1981, The club was sold, renamed J Lennons; and not long afterwards, closed down completely; ending an almost 6½ to 7 year run of live entertainment at this location! It was soon converted into what it is today; Illinois Secretary of State drivers license testing facility. == (Footnote) The floorplan & bathrooms are still the same as the club, at this facility, & upon entering I was waiting for my shoes to stick to the floor and smell(beer), & the space heater in bathroom is from the old club days, still in the wall!

Some Bands That Played at B’Ginnings[edit]

Other entertainers, appearing in concert at B'Ginnings Concert Club[edit]

  • Chicago (2 Nights, Grand Opening) 1974
  • Rare Earth (Grand Opening week) 1974
  • Santana 1974
  • Rory Gallagher / Rush 11/7/1974
  • Buddy Miles 1974
  • Canned Heat 1974
  • John Mayall 1974
  • Black Oak Arkansas w/Ruby Starr 1974
  • Flo & Eddie (Turtles) 1975
  • Nazareth 1975
  • Charlie Daniels Band 1975
  • Leo Sayer 1975
  • Outlaws 1975
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 1975
  • Caravan / Flock 1975
  • Dion 1975
  • Association 1975
  • Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen 1975
  • Michael Martin Murphey 1975
  • Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show 1975
  • Dave Mason 1975
  • Billy Joel 1976 (performed in residency, several nights in a row)
  • Montrose (feat. Sammy Hagar)
  • Captain Beyond 1976
  • Be-Bop Deluxe 1976
  • Tower of Power 1976
  • Pablo Cruise 1976
  • Brecker Brothers 1976
  • Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band 6/23/1976
  • Tommy James 1976
  • Savoy Brown / Starz 1976
  • Bellamy Brothers 1976 (band equipment/truck was stolen from their hotel after show, it was never recovered)
  • Vogues 1976
  • Rush 8/26/76
  • Angel 1976
  • Wayne Cochran & the CC Riders 1976
  • Jay Ferguson 1976
  • Atlanta Rhythm Section (twice) 1976
  • Ambrosia (5 times) 1976–1978
  • Richie Furay 1976
  • Tom Jans 1976
  • Luther Allison 1976
  • James Gang 12/04/76 (former guitarist, Tommy Bolin died earlier in the day, in Florida, & the band was informed prior to the soundcheck; They were utterly devastated, & dedicated the show to his memory, & especially, dedicated his song, "Standing In The Rain", to him!
  • Wild Cherry 12/76
  • Gasolin' 1976
  • Cheap Trick / Streetplayer 1976 (New Year's Eve Bash!)
  • Stormy Weather 1977
  • Shoes 1977
  • Pointblank 1977
  • Runaways 2/5/77
  • Headhunters (Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius) 1977
  • Scorpions(AC/DC opened) 1977
  • Mink DeVille 1977
  • Elvis Costello & the Attractions 1977
  • Talking Heads 1977
  • Warren Zevon 1977
  • Pat Travers 1977
  • Max Webster 1977
  • UFO 1977
  • Rick Nelson 1977
  • Brand X (Phil Collins-twice) 1977-1978
  • Van Halen / WLUP 1st Anniversary Party 3/20/1978
  • Van Morrison 1978
  • Boomtown Rats 1978
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads 1978
  • Sea Level / Dixie Dregs 1978
  • Survivor 1978–1980
  • Budgie 1978
  • Molly Hatchet 1978
  • B-52S 1978
  • Cars 1978
  • Pat Benatar 1978
  • Police 3/13/79
  • Elton John "One Man & his piano" (solo)1979
  • Knack 1979
  • Babys 1979
  • Triumph 1979
  • Prism 1979
  • Joe Jackson 1979
  • New Riders of the Purple Sage 1979
  • NRBQ 1979
  • Romantics 1979(opened for Rockpile)
  • Judas Priest 1979
  • Scorpions 1979
  • Robert Palmer 1979
  • Eddie Money 1979
  • Iggy Pop / Skafish / BB Spin 1979
  • Iron Butterfly / Savoy Brown 1979
  • Joe Cocker 1979
  • Jan Hammer 1979
  • John (Cougar) Mellencamp 1980

References[edit]

  • Buckinghams concert flyer, dated August 29, 1980

External links[edit]