Make reservations to see Morrison Hotel

Allan Lamb

Jaret Reddick (far left) and the guys of Bowling of Soup are ascending to Cleveland Saturday.

Credit: Beth Rankin

People are strange. So don’t be a stranger and show up at Fat Jimmy’s for Doors tribute band Morrison Hotel.

The concert will be the second live concert at the nearly year-old Fat Jimmy’s, which just introduced live music after being a full-time dance club. It will continue to play dance music Thursday nights, but on Fridays and Saturdays the venue will feature live bands from Cleveland and surrounding areas of various genres from alternative to reggae to classic rock.

The club first opened in the same Water Street location as JB’s in 1966 and featured many local artists that went on to become nationally renowned.

“As far as live music goes,” said Fat Jimmy’s owner Jimmy Tribuzzo, “a lot of great people have come through the doors.”

Local legends include Joe Walsh of James Gang as well as The Eagles, Devo and The Glass Harp. Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins and Red Hot Chili Peppers have also played there.

Before forming Morrison Hotel, lead singer Ron Speck and keyboardist Brian Hukill were in a ‘60s coverband called Aftermath. Speck was kicked out by the other members for being “too nuts.”

Hukill thought this was great, however, and in the summer of 1992 he and Speck, along with guitarist Tony Romano and drummer Mitch Piazza, all of Akron, formed Morrison Hotel. The name was taken from the Doors’ album of the same name. Speck said it is symbolic because it was the comeback album after their not-so-successful-and-rightfully-so flop The Soft Parade and saw the band as a way for the Doors to live on.

Although they are a Doors cover band, you can’t convince Ron Speck that he’s not Jim Morrison, according to Tribuzzo.

“When he gets on stage he thinks he’s Jim Morrison,” Tribuzzo said of Speck. “He looks, acts and sounds just like him.”

Speck says he has always loved the attitude and personality of the Lizard King because “someone who dies young, stays young. (Jim Morrison) invoked a rebellious rock’n’roll image. (Being the singer of Morrison Hotel) gives me the opportunity for three hours to be like him.”

For a long time, due to lack of interest from clubs in the Cleveland area that featured DJs instead of live music, Morrison Hotel played most of their shows out of state in Pittsburgh, Erie, Rochester and Buffalo.

As for local venues, most of them were played at Tangiers in Akron, where Morrison Hotel still plays twice a year. Speck’s older brother Dan -– who he says exposed him to rock and was the lead singer of Ruby Tuesday, a Rolling Stones cover band –- also plays bass on the songs that originally had a bassline to make their sound as genuine as possible.

Contact pop arts reporter Allan Lamb at [email protected].