John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band
Tonight's free Somers Point Beach Concert features John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, made famous for doing the movie soundtrack for Eddie & the Cruisers, much of which was filmed at Tony Marts and the Somers Point vacinity.
The movie bombed at the box office, but when it appeared on HBO cable TV a year later, a new generation of youngsters started buying the soundtrack album and put three of the songs on the charts - "Wild Summer Nights," "On the Darkside" and "Tender Years."
Formed in 1972 at Narraghansitt, Rhode Island, they were a real garage band - taking their name from the Beaver Brown color paint cans they sat on in the garage. Establishing themselves as a popular college band, they made the local bar circuit and got some songs on the local radio before being asked to do the soundtrack for Eddie & the Cruisers.
As the story concerns an up and coming rock and roll band at the Jersey Shore, led by the dominating Eddie, the band lands a gig at Tony Marts, the Bay Avenue Somers Point nightclub that had reached its peak in the 1960s and by 1980 was for sale. The club was actually sold and was going to make its last summer run when the location scout for the movie learned about Tony Marts and booked it for the few weeks it took to make the movie.
Local pedestrians dressed in 50s outfits to get in the movie, and the author of the book P.F. Kluge came to town to watch some of the filming. He had been a Vineland high school teacher who frequented the Jersey Shore nightclubs when he wrote the book, and went on to teach college literature.
One major difference between the book and the movie is the book that "Wordman" - played by Tom Berringer in the film, gives to Eddie and inspires him. In the book Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" is the book, and the band drives Eddie's 57 Chevy to Whitman's Camden home, that sits in the middle of a ghetto. In the movie Whitman is edited out and replaced by an eccentric European poet who reportedly faked his own death in order to live in obscurity, something that Eddie does in the followup film - Eddie Lives.
In any case, the movie accurately captures Tony Marts on celluloid as it was the last summer of its existence.
Bay Shores, the nightclub across Bay Avenue from Somers Point, was also purchased by attorney Harris Berman, who raized both clubs within a year of each other and on the bay built the Waterfront at the old Bay Shores site, and Egos nightclub where Tony Marts was located.
Both buildings still stand, the Waterfront a first class restaurant with a nice deck and soft jazz music on summer nights, while Egos is now owned by Dr. Trocki, the plastic surgeon who was also Mike Tyson's doctor in his corner at Atlantic City fights.
Trocki also purchased the old Point Pub, Corletto's and later Mayer's Marina and Egg Harbor Boats, all at distress auctions.
When the two rock and roll nightclubs - Bay Shores and Tony Marts were razed, and the live music era appeared to have come to an end, Nick Regina took a job with the city's school system and funneled some money razed from local business to bring live music back to Bay Avenue at the William Morrow beach.
Carmen Marotta, who played a bar tender in the Eddie and the Cruisers movie, has kept his hand in the music business through his Tony Marts Presents company that books the bands at both the Somers Point beach on Friday nights, and the bandstand at Kennedy Plaza on the boardwalk in Atlantic City on Wednesdays nights.
Carmen and Nancy Marotta go to New Orleans every year for the jazz fest and always bring back some really great acts - some of which are booked at one or both of the free outdoor venues this summer, including Marchia Ball, Johnny Sansone and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers.
The first Somers Point beach concert last Friday featured Countdown to Ecstasy - a tribute to Steely Dan. If you missed the cover band, you can still catch the real deal as Steely Dan, at least half of the duo will perform at the Camden Pavillion and Borgatta in October.
Jersey Shore Nightbeat: SOMERS POINT BEACH CONCERTS 2018
Jersey Shore Nightbeat: Atlantic City Boardwalk Concerts at Kennedy Plaza 2018