Still ‘Happy Together’ after all these years - East Valley Tribune: Performance

Still ‘Happy Together’ after all these years

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Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2014 7:41 am

Classic rock music fans will rejoice as the Happy Together Tour 2014 rolls through Phoenix and celebrates 30 years of hits and multi-media performances from some of the biggest acts of the ’60s and ’70s.

The Happy Together Tour will return to the Valley on Saturday, July 19, when they play the Celebrity Theatre. In addition to The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, the lineup features some of the biggest acts of the ’60s and ’70s. They include Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, Gary Lewis & The Playboys and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. Each act will sing their hits — “Happy Together.” “We’re An American Band,” “Devil With A Blue Dress On,” “Joy To The World,” “This Diamond Ring,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and many more.

The Happy Together Tour began in 1984 with mainstays The Turtles. It started up again in 2010 and is in its fifth consecutive year and is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Turtles co-founder Mark Volman, who is a music professor at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., tours in the summers and teaches during the school year. He says the annual summer tour allows him to reconnect with longtime musical partner Howard Kaylan and fans, who have become like family over the years.

Q: Your life today reads like a movie plot: professor during the school year and rock star in the summers. Did you ever think your life would take such an interesting turn?

MV: It has played out in a way that I never expected. The life of an artist is always interesting but never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I’d be a full-time professor at a university and continue my career as a musician. Who could ever predict such a thing? Certainly not me.

Q: I take it your class draws heavily on your experiences with The Turtles and Flo & Eddie and your five decades in rock ’n’ roll?

MV: Heavily and for good reason. Me and my partner, Howard Kaylan, have gone through the evolution of rock ’n’ roll since the 1960s and so much has changed over the years, especially in terms of the business side. The class touches on the dynamics of business management, bookkeeping, working with attorneys, negotiations, record company opportunities, jobs, marketing, branding, publishing and almost every aspect of business. By the time a student is finished, they should be able to work both sides of the entertainment business.

Q: How do you keep things fresh after five decades of touring and performing?

MV: I enjoy the fans and spending time with Howard. I think that’s taken for granted a lot. The Happy Together Tour has allowed us to interact and stay in touch over a 50-year period. The way the music industry is built, its natural course is to break or tear relationships apart, not keep them together. What’s not normal is to stay together. We work really hard to build the Happy Together brand and audience security, who know if they go to our show, it’s going to be a fun night of hit songs.

Q: The Happy Together Tour features a different lineup each year, so what’s been the biggest surprise for you in 2014?

MV: We’ve known all of these artists for many decades and worked with them individually and collectively in one configuration or another. However, this is the first tour I’ve worked with Mark Farner, the former lead singer of Grand Funk Railroad. He’s a great singer and a very interesting man. I have really enjoyed my time with him and it’s been a rewarding experience getting to know him.

Q: The Happy Together Tour is back at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theatre where it all started 30 years ago. Has this detail escaped you or are you cognizant of the fact?

MV: Celebrity Theatre is like an old sleeping bag … there’s something so comfortable about the place and it’s a great place for rock ’n’ roll. It’s something we’re very aware of and looking forward to — that and some good Mexican food.

If you go

What: The Happy Together Tour 2014

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19

Where: Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix

Cost: $38-$68

Information: (602) 267-1600 or

• Read more at, the source for Phoenix metro concert news.

If you go

What: The Happy Together Tour 2014

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19

Where: Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix

Cost: $38-$68

Information: (602) 267-1600 or

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