Asbury Park Game For New Jersey Music Hall of Fame

Greasy Lake, 2005-05-27, by: Maureen Shames
Asbury Park- ARE YOU READY?

?Mary?s Place,? may be the place for a house party, but there?s going to be a new attraction in Bruce Springsteen?s city of ruins.

The New Jersey Music Hall of Fame will open right here in Asbury Park during the summer of 2006, according to organizers who staged a press conference at the Stone Pony on May 16.

Plans call for a museum and a live performance venue that will add glitz, glamour and some sizzling music to brighten the tarnished image of the city. A caf? and souvenir shop are also part of the proposal.

The New Jersey Music Hall of Fame Board of Directors consists of a small group of hardworking ?giants? who have not skipped a beat. They have already applied for state funding and have rolled up their sleeves to begin an incredible undertaking in areas such as fundraising, selecting a prime location and handling museum acquisitions.

If only Madam Marie?s crystal ball could provide other significant details such as the exact new address and estimated costs, but these will all be ironed out over the course of the year.

Springsteen fans are curious as to his reaction regarding the hall of fame project since he is an avid longtime supporter of Asbury Park, but he did not attend the press conference. Springsteen is in the midst of the critically touted Devils & Dust tour.

The Boss will be well represented in the hall of fame along with some 160 other artists from New Jersey and just about every genre of music. Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Blues Traveler, Patti Scialfa and Patti Smith are just a few of the well-known names on the proposed lengthy list.

More than 200 people attended this conference, including dignitaries, musicians, artists and members of the media. Adding a measure of excitement to the event, Epic recording artist Val Emmich took the stage and jammed.

A well-known longtime concert promoter from New Jersey lent his endorsement.

?I professionally and personally believe this project to be a great idea as it will add to New Jersey?s rich musical heritage,? wrote John Scher, President of Metropolitan Entertainment/Hybrid Recordings.

According to Scher, ?New Jersey has been at the forefront of musical innovation unparalleled by any geographic location in the United States and probably the world.?

Wonder who came up with such a brilliant idea? It was the brainchild of two friends, Gary Wien and David J. Mieras. It came to them during Springsteen?s Christmas Jam benefit for Asbury Park at Convention Hall in 2003.

Wien and Mieras began to discuss the possibility of opening a successful local music hall of fame and this led them to immediately found the Jersey Shore Music Association. The effort soon broadened to a statewide initiative in 2004.

Now, Wien has announced that he will serve as president on the board. Mieras is a founding board member. These friends have backgrounds that complement the hall of fame endeavor. Mieras is a Jersey Shore music historian, but he is also known for accompanying Springsteen on his famous trip to Greasy Lake and becoming part of a story told to audiences during the song, ?Spirit In e Night.?

Wien is the publisher of Upstage Magazine, a Central Jersey arts and culture monthly and he is the author of ?Beyond The Palace,? a book that took the first comprehensive look at the history of the Jersey rock and roll scene.

With such grand plans, Mieras and Wien attracted a core group of ?incredible? people with backgrounds, knowledge and experience that will benefit the hall of fame project.

The remainder of the board includes: Bob Benjamin, founder, Light of Day Foundation; Tom Jones, CEO of the Halo Group; Tim McLoone, a well-known musician and restaurateur who founded the charitable Holiday Express; Lee Mrowicki, founder of Jersey Artists for Mankind and a former Stone Pony DJ; Simon Osborne, property manager for the National Trust, a non-profit preservation group based in London; Tony Pallagrosi, a co-owner of the Starland Ballroom and co-president of Concerts East; Robert Santelli, who worked for the Rock?n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland but now serves as director of public programs at the Experience Music Project in Seattle and Ken Shane, a musician who has experienced critical acclaim for his latest CD and is also a real estate professional.

The board?s mission is to preserve the musical heritage throughout the state, foster growth of the next generation of musicians and provide educational opportunities for children to experience music.

Asbury Park Mayor Kevin G. Sanders believes there is only one place for the hall of fame, and that?s Asbury Park.

?Asbury Park is the heart and soul of New Jersey?s music scene,? wrote Sanders. ?Music has been the thread that has kept this city together through the good and bad times. This is a memorable event in the city's revitalization.??

One thing is for certain, so please hold your ears?


Asbury Park is too- ready to receive a majestic brand new jewel in its crown, a statewide music hall of fame that will cast a glow on its rich musical history and draw music lovers from near and far.