What’s in a life?

Our lives are filled with a series of moments. Things we like to remember and some we do not.
In this case, imagine…how would you like to:

  • have Bruce Dayton cover 60% of your mom’s birthday gift…when you were 10?
  • be a national water skiing champion at the age of 8?
  • be a Golden Gloves boxing champion from ages 10 through 15?
  • be a leader of one of the “Top 100 Garage Bands” in the world
  • ideate and execute one of the “Top 15 Music Clubs in the world” as voted by Playboy Magazine?

And, that is only five of over 40 similar stories.

Recently, LocalTies had the pleasure of sitting down with a true Minnesota music icon, Danny Stevens. He has been called the king of Minnesota rock and roll and ‘The Original Teen Idol.’ His band, Danny’s Reasons, became the most recognized and most profitable band from the Twin Cities in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Additionally, he was the visionary in taking a blighted downtown area of Minneapolis in the early ‘70s and turning it around with a series of music clubs that changed the tenor, scope and feel of the city into an event destination…the Father of First Ave. This is a story of a V.I.P. music, nightclub and record promotions career. As we unpack this, keep in mind the Vision, the Instinct and the Passion (V.I.P.) that was brought to bear in this process.

The Early Years

Danny was born in humble beginnings in Joplin, Missouri, the oldest of nine children. His mother moved the family to the Twin Cities during the 1940s while his father was serving in the Army Signal Corp during World War II. Once here, they integrated themselves into the community with his mother becoming an Aquatennial Queen Attendant riding the Dayton’s parade float in the process. This was the first of many times being associated with the Dayton family…more on that later. They lived in the Hennepin-Lake neighborhood, Lake of the Isles.

At the age of seven in 1950, Danny started his first career as a water skiing aficionado. He was in the Cypress Gardens Traveling Show (known as Ski Antics) across the country. In 1951, he was the World Water Skiing Champion in the Boys Junior Division. Eventually in the 1960 Aquatennial, Danny became the Jumping and Slalom Champion and then, was loaned to the traveling Tommy Bartlett Water Show.

But, not wanting to let any grass grow under his feet, that success wasn’t enough of a challenge. In the winters he won the Silver Skates award from 1956 to 1960.

Starting in 1961, Danny continued his interest in boxing (which started when he was three). He won the 1961 Golden Gloves title in the Welterweight division with a second round technical knockout. In fact, he was courted by the United States Olympic boxing team. Danny said, “I think it was more of a courtesy because they knew I was friends with the former heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Dempsey, and they hoped I would bring him along.” Funny thing is that Mr. Dempsey was Danny’s ‘corner man’ along with Danny’s father when he won that Welterweight division title.

At this point in the interview, I asked Danny what drove him to excel at almost everything he attempted. He replied, “I grew up very poor and knew I did not want to be poor ever again.” When asked about his goals at this age, he said, “I had two goals in the ‘60s. One was to make money and the other was to better myself.” Supporting that vision, Danny ended up graduating from West High and then transitioned into a straight A student in pre-med at the University of Minnesota. However, he had a different vision and passion than medicine.

The Music Years

Starting in 1965, Danny put together a band called Danny and the Night Sounds. That group beat out over 400 bands to win the Top Band award at the Minnesota Teen State Fair Contest. Later that same year, he formed the iconic group, Danny’s Reasons. This band in various incarnations has now performed in every decade from then to the present.

While not the only impetus, the success of Danny’s Reasons was heady, halcyon inducing stuff that prompted a conversation with the university’s medical school dean. He told the dean that he wanted to take a leave from school to explore this music business opportunity. The dean told him, “If you do, you will never be back.” To this day, the dean was absolutely right. Danny never went back.

This was where Danny’s instincts kicked in. During this time in the Twin Cities music scene, bands played at one of only three different venues. One, teen dances, the second, seedy clubs and third, personal parties. Danny, however, had different ideas. He wanted to play at society-type events. Because of the popularity of his band, he was able to gain entry in with some of the movers and shakers in the Cities, then known as The Society. This was one of his encounters with the Daytons.

In 1964, Danny’s Reasons played at a party for Mr. Dayton. Because the band was so well-received, many people at the party wanted Danny’s Reasons to play at their functions as well. In this case, it was not working harder, but smarter. The luck didn’t stop there…the vision and the instinct took a back seat to his passion for promotion. This was the hinge where the door of Danny’s destiny swung open.

Danny convinced Bruce Dayton to turn the eighth floor of Dayton’s flagship downtown store into a dance/music venue called, The Eighth Floor Auditorium. Here they showcased the newest and latest fashion styles (do I hear ‘mod’ clothing from Carnaby Street?). It was so successful that the idea spread to other floors within the department store and Danny was chosen to select the entertainment for each floor. Not only that, but the Eighth Floor became an iconic place of its own. In fact, outside of the holiday season, the Eighth Floor Dance Days were the highest volume and most profitable for the store all year long. This concept was so well received that Danny and Danny’s Reason was included in Dayton’s Annual Report for 1965…the only group to have been highlighted and mentioned in the annual report.

Danny’s Reasons provision was the providence of this Society process.

A Digression

However, let me digress for a moment. This first time Danny encountered Mr. Dayton was in 1953 when Danny was 10. He took the bus from his Lake of the Isles neighborhood to downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet Mall to buy a birthday present for his mother. He started window shopping the big beautiful display windows on the ground floor of Dayton’s downtown store.

Then, he was thunderstruck by a fashionable female mannequin with a wide brim red hat, a fitted red dress and red shoes holding a red parasol. Danny knew this red dress was the gift he wanted to buy for his mother – after all, she was an Aquatennial attendant! Then, he saw the price…$200!

He was crestfallen and began to weep. While he cried, at times uncontrollably, with his head in hands, he was tapped on the shoulder by an older man who asked him what was wrong. Danny recounted his tale of woe. The man asked how much he had to spend. Danny said he had saved up over $100 from odd jobs and chores. The man said, “Let’s see what we can do about that.”

The man led Danny into the store, wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to the cashier…and then, walked away. While the cashier was ringing up the dress for Danny’s mom, she asked Danny, “How do you know Mr. Dayton?” Danny said, “Mr. Dayton? I don’t even know who that is.” She said, “He’s the man that owns this store. And he wrote this note for me to sell you this dress for $80 so that you would still have enough money to get home.”

That was the first time Danny met Mr. Dayton. Danny reminded him of that instance ten years later when they were discussing the eighth floor, “College Nights.” He said, “That was YOU!? Provision, indeed, does come through the providence of the process.

Back to the Future

The mid-sixties were big for Danny and the Reasons. The British Invasion made a large impression on the band. They dressed like the Stones as well as performed their songs…along with music from their other favorite bands at the time…the Animals and the Zombies. More music influencers for them were the Byrds featuring Roger McGuinn and David Crosby, and the Yardbirds featuring the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

For all the notoriety that Danny Stevens has experienced, he is refreshingly egoless. While Danny’s Reasons has their own website and Wikipedia page, Danny Stevens does not. Danny was very complimentary of and thankful for the associations and individuals who helped him and the Reasons along the way. He said Irv and Danny Trestman, owners of Trestman Music Center (TMC), sold them equipment on credit when they first started. “There wouldn’t have been the Reasons if Mr. Trestman hadn’t been so generous and obliging, “ Danny said. And, the rest, as they say, is history.

In 1967 Connie Hector, who had worked at Trestman Music Center, left and formed his own publication called Connie’s Insider. This publication specifically centered on the six state, upper midwest music scene featuring artists, concerts and album reviews. Connie’s Insider was the gold standard for all things music. The magazine ran from 1967 through 1972. During those years, Danny’s Reasons won the Best Show Band of the Year Award each year.

Danny’s Reasons continued to flourish throughout the ‘60s. They appeared regularly on local television…channels 4 (with Bill Carlson) and 11 (with Nancy Nelson). Their ongoing popularity made them a prime candidate as an opening act for national bands that came into the Twin Cities on tour. Danny’s vision of continued media publicity bred their popularity locally, then, nationally, as they befriended the main national and international acts for which they opened. These included the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, the Yardbirds, the Kinks and the Cream.

Also in 1967, because of the respect they had for the Rolling Stones, they contacted them to see if they were ever going to release “Under My Thumb” as a 45 single. Danny’s Reasons got the go-ahead and were free to release it as their own single (with “Triangles” on the B-side). The arrangement is different from the Stones version, but the single still had the desired effect. They received national as well as local recognition and appeared on the Mike Douglas Show in New York. During this period, it was also the first time that they played with Joe Cocker at The Prison, a local Twin Cities club.

They also traveled to the west coast where they met The Doors when they pulled up next to the Doors’ van outside the London Fog in Los Angeles. They played the Whisky A-Go-Go with Jim Morrison and The Doors (in 1965). This was a friendship lasting until Mr. Morrison’s death. Danny even has the iconic pair of leather pants that Mr. Morrison popularized. Heady times, all planned out and executed according to the vision. Danny said of this period, “We knew we were not the best band musically out there. But we didn’t want to be. We wanted the publicity and the media recognition to grow our band’s brand and name.” Mickey (Danny’s brother and fellow band member who was hung from the ceiling in a WWI Uniform and goggled leather flying helmet) said, “Danny was a master of promotion. He knew what he wanted to do and did it very, very well.”

The Close of the Sixties and the Creation of the Clubs

Danny’s instincts were about to carry him into a new and inspiring venture. In 1968, he decided to enter the nightclub business. He rented space on a month-to-month basis in a building in downtown Minneapolis, the site of the former club named Diamond Lil’s. The new club opened on New Year’s Eve of ’68. It was named Times Square.

His sense was to take a concept that he saw at the Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles that had an all ages area and an adult drinking area. The club had national, as well as local acts booked for weekends (Friday, Saturday and Monday nights). The club became so popular with other national acts that when they were playing in town, the bands would come by to play after-hours at Times Square to the delight of the crowds and management. One of the biggest acts to perform in this way was Janis Joplin after Danny and the Reasons were her opening act earlier that evening when she played the Armory in 1969.

With this success, Danny’s Reasons were living large. Danny bought a 20 room mansion in the Minneapolis Kenwood neighborhood. Always the promoter, Danny had the only Rolls-Royce in town (a 1960 car that previously belonged to the Prince of Saudi Arabia) that he drove his acts and other dignitaries around to their and their labels’ delight. Danny actually got stranded with Janis Joplin in this Rolls after their Armory gig. Rolls had a nasty habit of having their keys breaking off in the ignition. This wasn’t a problem since Janis had a pair of tweezers that snatched the key from destruction. Ahh…livin’ large!

In the summer of 1969, Danny’s landlord said that he was selling the building, when Danny said “Sure, but what do I get out of it?” His landlord had a Class-A liquor license that he owned from the Hotel Hastings (at the time located behind the Orpheum). If Danny were to release him from the lease, he would give Danny the license. This may sound like a common business negotiated settlement, however, liquor licenses were not as readily available then as they are today. They had to be tied to a property or venue in the same city ward of their issue and could not be bought on the open market. Danny’s foresight got him the right to take this invaluable commodity (worth $300-400,000) and move it to a new home within the same ward.

Danny had this instinctual idea to lease the abandoned Greyhound Bus Depot in downtown Minneapolis. The two brothers who owned the property, Ted and Marvin Mann, had no idea of what to do with the building since there was no Class A License that was available in that ward of the city…only Danny had one.

You have to remember, in the late ‘60s to the ‘70s, downtown Minneapolis was described by an article in the Minneapolis Tribune as “a somewhat seedy, diverse, nocturnal hand out for a horde of multi-aged Twin Cities residents…it matched the squalor of the movie, ‘Taxi Drivers’ Manhattan…drunks, junkies, prostitutes, young teenagers looking for kicks…” So, this was not a slam dunk. In fact, this was an attempt to turn this neighborhood into a first-class, destination venue.

Danny needed a partner that would enable him to outfit the building properly while he brought the license and his vision copied from the Whisky to fruition. His ’Society’ contacts were instrumental. “Papa” Joe Daszkiewicz, boxing promoter (he managed Scott Ladue until his death) and restaurateur of the Northern A-Go-Go (formerly the Northern Supper Club) initially wanted in, but backed out due to financial issues.

Then, Elizabeth Heffelfinger, the first woman in charge of the Republican National Convention, enthusiastically wanted to be a part of this revitalization project. Danny first played at one of her at-home events years before so there was an immediate trust. She was married to F. Peavey Heffelfinger, the chairman of a leading Minneapolis grain dealer, Peavey Mills.

Mrs. Heffelfinger said to Danny, “Do you like beer?” Danny said no. She however, pressed on. “You know, I know Bill Coors. We sell him all his grain. I am going to call him and get the exclusive rights to sell Coors beer at this club.” She did and he agreed. This may not sound like a big deal now since Coors is readily available everywhere. Back in the day Coors was considered a rare commodity. Coors was not available beyond a small five state region. In fact, when kids would go to Colorado for spring break, they would buy cases of Coors and sell them to people at a premium back east. So, this was epic.

Mrs. Heffelfinger, on the cusp of this success, unfortunately had to back out due to her own personal illness. Another partnership attempt was gone. Perseverance would carry this passion to fruition. Danny contacted Bill Graham who owned the two most influential music venues in the country at the time – the Fillmore East and West. Danny wanted to have his new club be the Fillmore Midwest. While Mr. Graham did not want to commit to these naming rights due to his own family issues, he did provide the acts that he booked to stop in Minneapolis as they criss-crossed the country.

At this point, Danny was forced to attempt to bring in another potential partner, Allan Fingerhut. Allan had a lot of enthusiasm, but had no practical experience in the music, public entertainment, or nightclub industries. Allan was strictly a financial partner, brought in after the project had already been ideated, created and set in motion.

So, with real excitement and full commitment, a new corporation was formed called, The Committee, Inc. where Allan was the chairman and Danny was the president. They were co-owners of what eventually would be named the Depot. Danny brought the vision and the liquor license and Allan brought his trust fund and the ability to retrofit the inside of the old bus station. It was decided that the Depot would open on April 3, 1970.

Initially, Danny wanted Santana to open the new club. However, after some convincing from Timothy D. Kerr (head of promotions for Columbia Music) and David Zimmerman (the Reasons’ manager), it was decided to have a relatively new group of performers called Mad Dogs and Englishmen, headed by Joe Cocker, open the club. This group was playing only a limited number of shows (48 cities over 60 days) across the country. The group consisted of Joe Cocker (vocals), Nicky Hopkins (keyboards), Eric Clapton (guitar), Rita Coolidge and Merry Clayton as back up singers in the Space Choir and Leon Russell – the main keyboardist and the tour’s musical director. All told, there were 20 musicians, 20 Englishman and three children all on stage at the same time…mayhem and music. This was captured on film and was later released as The Mad Dogs and Englishmen movie.

Allan Holbert, the music critic of the Minneapolis Tribune, wrote at the time, “It is likely that there hasn’t been such excitement, such chaos, such congestion, such noise just off Hennepin Avenue as there was Friday night. Lines were long and people were lined up four-deep around the block.” Holbert went on to say, “Carpeting and interior decorations weren’t yet installed, but the old bus station was packed by the time Cocker took the stage. The club ran out of booze by 8:00 PM and had to send out for more.”

With the vision of all these people lined up to get in, Cocker’s manager said that they wanted more money than the $15,000 that they were being paid for the weekend. Allan Fingerhut’s dad, Manny, told him not to pay them anything. He said they could leave town without their equipment and the reputation of having squelched on abandoning a venue for a pre-paid commitment. Manny said that it was essential to be a fair, but tough businessman. In the end, Allan overrode his father and paid them up to $5,000 to go on without Danny’s knowledge.

The Depot became a favorite venue for a lot of national acts. A partial list of those booked and performing were Jethro Tull, BB King, Rod Stewart and the Small Faces, Tiny Tim, Ike and Tina Turner, Richie Havens, Eric Burdon & War, Iggy and the Stooges and the Kinks.

The Kinks were scheduled to play on May 23rd, 1970. As was his custom, Danny picked them up in his Rolls and was going to drop them off at their hotel. Ray and Dave Davies asked Danny what he was going to do for the rest of the day. He told them that he and the Reasons were going to play at an anti-war rally on the University of Minnesota Campus. They asked if they could come. Danny said sure and off they went to the Kaufman Student Union. When they got there, the crowd was small as Danny’s Reasons started to play. Then, the word got out that the Kinks were there and that they were up next on the bill. Streets outside Kaufman started to swell with people; students, profs, hangers-on.

As the Reasons finished, Danny introduced the Kinks to uproarious applause. They played their first song and then Danny approached Ray Davies. He asked Ray if a friend of his could sit in with them for the set. Ray said sure. The friend was Jimi Hendrix. He sat in and then played his own short set due to the crowd-swell blocking streets. His set peaked with the National Anthem. This was the same version as seen in the movie “Woodstock”, released just the week before the Depot opened in early April. Jimi told Danny that this was the song that kept going through his head and kept him grounded when he was in a foxhole in Vietnam. Danny said that, “Jimi was a true Patriot.”

The Depot lasted through June 14, 1971. A series of mistakes and financial pressures forced it’s closure. Allan had ill-booked acts like Tiny Tim (you could see him free that weekend at the Minneapolis Auto Show). Allan started a poorly executed marketing campaign (Harvey Dubisch) that cost the Club $35,000 in a legal settlement. Then, the payout to Joe Cocker’s Manager and getting into a fight with Ike Turner all started to take its’ toll. Allan had dipped into his inheritance and things were disintegrating. Contributing factors to this predicament were that the Bands were expecting much bigger and bigger payouts. Then, there was a changing of taste in music (to Disco), plus, the poor, recessionary economy of the early 70’s coupled with the audiences who considered the Depot’s Management to be ‘millionaires’ taking advantage of them …all contributed to dooming the Depot. The problem was that Allan’s Father was the millionaire, not him.

In a quote from Connie’s Insider in October 1971, Danny was quoted as saying: “A lot of the burden fell on (Allan’s) shoulders because of his own mistakes. When it came to the point where he needed someone to help him make decisions, it was too late. I didn’t care to give my opinion anymore. He simply made decisions without consulting anyone else. His brother-in-law (Ted Dykel) was later brought in to make sure he stopped making the mistakes that he did, but he still paid no attention to anyone. I tried to stop him legally, but all they ended up doing was slapping his hand and saying, ’No Allan, you are not allowed to do that without your partner’s consent.’ If we had been left alone in the beginning, we would have been successful. With what we know now, if we were to open another club together, it would be successful.”

As with any crumbling business, there was infighting as to who was responsible and recognized as the controlling interest of the business. It was said at the time that there would have been no Depot without Danny’s Partners. The more pragmatic perspective is to say that without Danny’s idea of a stylized music club, his pursuit of the initial funding and his rare liquor license, “The Depot” would never have been brought into existence.

Closures of music clubs were not isolated to the Twin Cities. That same year Philadelphia’s Electric Factory closed followed a few weeks later by the Boston Tea Party. An even bigger shock was still yet to come. On April 29, 1971, Bill Graham announced that his two meccas of rock music – the Fillmore East and the Fillmore West – would both close…a sign of the economic landscape.

In 1972, American Scene, a Company out of Cincinnati, Ohio that had a series of disco clubs throughout the eastern half of the U.S. took over the business at the site of the Depot. Shares were not sold and the all important liquor license and the business continued to be owned by The Committee, Inc. Mainly, Danny had to be involved in the business on his own due to previous compromised agreements jeopardizing his liquor license. The business was named Uncle Sam’s originally and then transitioned to Sam’s in 1980…the same year that the 7th Street Entry came into being. On January 1, 1982, the business and the old Depot was renamed First Avenue.

Music Promotions

In 1974, Danny bought the second of his two Mount Curve Mansions at 1819. It was a 32 room property that he paid $300,000 for. It became the centerpiece of his soon-to-be burgeoning new career…record release parties and music promotions.

Though Danny’s Reasons would continue to perform through six decades, 1975 became a transition year for Danny and his career path. In typical, instinctual fashion, Danny became the promotion director for Aeriloa, Mercury and then Polygram Records.

Polygram reformed its business plan to have all their artists under one umbrella with one promotion director overseeing those artists…Danny. Here is a partial list of the artists that Danny promoted and represented. They are a who’s who of pop and rock, including: the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltry, Frank Zappa, Kiss, Bon Jovi, the BeeGees, Cher, Peter Gabriel, John Cougar (Cougar Mellencamp) and Rush. Additionally, Danny promoted sound track albums as well…like Saturday Night Fever, Xanadu and Grease.

Though Danny does not drink hard liquor, when Rod Stewart went out on his own, Danny was there to help promote his newest projects. As a gift, Polygram and Rod gave Danny a unique bottle of Macallan Scotch. It still is in his unopened possession to this day. When Roger Daltrey ventured into a solo album away from the Who, it was Danny who helped promote his low key first single. As a thank you from Roger, he gave Danny the original fringed shoulder vest that he wore bare chested in the movie Woodstock.

As stated earlier, along with his infamous Rolls, the Mansion at 1819 Mount Curve was instrumental in establishing Danny as THE Party Person in the Twin Cities, supplanting Gordon Loxsley (a famous Cities art connoisseur) as the go-to party giver in town. The mansion – which he no longer owns – had over $2 million worth of antiques. At the time, he had the third largest Napoleon collection in the country. Standing guard all the way up the mansion’s staircase were tenth century, metal chain-mail clad knights. It indeed was a show home for the show biz types. His employer, along with other record company executives, would ask to have parties at this residence to entertain their stars while they were in town…a win-win for all involved.

Medina Connection

Since this is a City of Medina publication, you are probably wondering where the connection to Danny is here. Well, amazingly there are four different memorable events that he attended or was honored within our city.

The first was in 1974. Danny’s Reasons played at a celebrity PGA event at the then named Rolling Green Country Club…now our treasured Medina Golf and Country Club. He was there when, as reported in a New York Times Article:

“Today’s mishap came when Mr. Ford’s (then vice president of the United States) first shot at Rolling Green Country Club in suburban Minneapolis sliced to the right. Aides said later that the ball had hit a tree and then grazed the teenager’s head. Bystanders, however, said the ball had not hit a tree and that the youth had been hit directly.

Mr. Ford said later today that he planned to call the Gerard youth to apologize. “I hope and trust his injury is not serious and I’m told by authorities that it is not.” Mr. Ford said, “It’s very regrettable and I’m deeply sorry such an unfortunate incident took place.”

The remaining events occurred at the Medina Entertainment Center. In 1988, there was a 30 city tour influenced by Dick Clark that celebrated the “30th Anniversary of Rock & Roll.” It was September first of that year and featured 15 acts from rock’s past. Along with Danny’s Reasons, some other groups playing that night were Iron Butterfly, Spencer Davis, The Coasters and Three Dog Night. Earlier that same year in March, Danny’s Reasons played a show at the Medina Entertainment Center with Fabian and Tommy Roe.

Finally and probably most importantly, Danny was inducted into the Midwest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Medina Entertainment Center. The stage was filled with dozens of local musicians who had played with the band over the years. The interesting sidebar to this event was the media attention and the media play that this event got. It was tremendous. Danny, always the promoter, had them eating out of his hand. Following the band’s induction into the Hall of Fame, the group reformed for a time and played at Santorini’s dinner club in Minnetonka up through 2009 when the club closed.

Legacy Honored

Danny Stevens changed the Twin Cities music scene and the environment of the ‘60s and ‘70s. As owner and founder of The Depot/First Avenue venue, he along with others put Minnesota on the national and international music scene map. Because of this, Prince, Carl Pohlad and Irwin Jacobs invited only Danny Stevens from the era of the Twin Cities ‘60s and ‘70s music scene to the world famous New Year’s Eve Party at Paisley Park on December 31, 1987 featuring Prince, Miles Davis and other celebrities. Danny and his current wife, Nancy, were one of only 200 couples invited to this event. No other person associated with the Depot/First Ave. management or ownership were invited to this exclusive party. Danny Stevens’ invitation number was #110 out of 400 guests.

Earlier in his career, Prince wanted to go to Los Angeles to springboard his career, plus for the notoriety. Danny told him “Why do you want to be a little fish amongst a lot of whales out there. Stay here and be THE Whale amongst fish.” Prince listened, filmed the epic Purple Rain on-site and made himself and First Avenue famous in the process.

Danny has recently been quoted as saying, “My development and launching of The Depot in 1970 (now named First Avenue) enabled thousands of musical talents to hit it big and find international fame – opening with Joe Cocker through to Prince. I trust my legacy will have been as the person that changed the environment of the music scene here in the Twin Cities and the upper Midwest.”


In all fairness, at the start of this story, there were five events that I said were only five of probably forty more like it. I trust after reading the above events, that you do agree with me. In closing, here are five more things that you probably didn’t know about Danny, but wouldn’t (at this point) be surprised to find out.

  • That Bob Dylan’s brother, David Zimmerman, was the band’s first manager
  • That in 1999, Danny was invited to be a voting member for the Grammy’s and continued for 15 years
  • That Danny bet Barry Gordy, chairman of Motown, a glass of champagne that Mr. Gordy had a Gold Record group that was white. Danny won – the group, Rare Earth
  • That Danny hosted the last performance ever of Rod Stewart and the Small Faces
  • That Danny bought Sun Country Airlines out of bankruptcy

In conclusion, as I said at the beginning: “What’s in a life?” In the case of Danny Stevens, he is a true V.I.P. The full answer to the question is that he has had a rich, long, rewarding and compelling adventure. Succinctly, what’s in his life…fullness, fairness and faith in the future.

Ain’t life grand?!