Alternative rock pioneers to celebrate grand reopening of Kenmore Blvd. music venue

On Friday, September 22 at 5 p.m., The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, along with Chris Butler of new wave band The Waitresses, will cut the ribbon at Buzzbin Art & Music Shop at 952 Kenmore Blvd. in Akron. The celebration will conclude with Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire headlining a night of rock and roll revelry starting at 6 p.m.

Last September, after 12 years in its downtown Canton location, Buzzbin relocated to what is quickly becoming Akron’s Music Row, Kenmore Boulevard. Since then, owners Chris and Julia Bentley have been holding shows in conjunction with Better Kenmore CDC, The Bank Lounge and The Rialto Theatre in expectation of Buzzbin’s liquor license transfer from Stark to Summit County.

After a year of waiting, the couple is working hard to make up for lost time.

“It’s almost surreal and a dream come true for a lifelong Replacements fan like myself to be able to have Tommy at our official grand reopening,” said Chris Bentley. “Kenmore is exactly where Buzzbin belongs. After a yearlong struggle, we are thrilled to finally be open again. We have always been the underdog, and where better for us to rise again than in Kenmore as it rises again.”

Corey Jenkins, marketing and events director for Better Kenmore CDC and guitarist for Akron band Big Pop, recruited Buzzbin to Kenmore Boulevard last summer. He views arts-centric businesses like Buzzbin as critical to Better Kenmore’s revitalization efforts. “Kenmore has always been a musician- and artist-friendly community, but it has been best-kept secret in Akron for too long,” he said. “Part of Better Kenmore’s mission is to celebrate the unique culture of our community, and that includes celebrating, attracting and supporting artists and entrepreneurs like the Bentleys and aspiring artists like those of Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, which is slated to move to the site of the former Kenmore High School in 2026.”

Also on hand to celebrate will be The Waitresses’ Chris Butler, author of new wave classics like “I Know What Boys Like,” and “Christmas Wrapping” and recent Kenmore Boulevard relocatee. Butler says he’s excited to help welcome Buzzbin to Akron’s Music Row.

“I’m glad to have another venue on the Boulevard,” Butler said. “We’ve got instrument stores, recording studios, great places to eat, and most importantly – an audience for live music!” Minneapolis native Tommy Stinson’s musical journey began at age 11 when his older half-brother Bob gave him a bass guitar in 1978. Later that same year, the Stinson brothers, along with drummer Chris Mars, formed Dogbreath, the band that would become known as The Replacements in 1980. Nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, The Replacements set the stage for the alternative rock scene of the 80s and 90s and influenced everyone from Wilco to The Goo Goo Dolls.

The Replacements’ initial 12-year run ended in 1991, and in 1998 Stinson was hired by Axl Rose to replace Guns N’ Roses’ original bassist Duff McKagan. Stinson was featured on GNR’s long-delayed 2008 album Chinese Democracy and also performed with his high-school friends Soul Asylum after the band’s founding bassist Karl Mueller passed away in 2005. In Stinson’s latest project — Cowboys in the Campfire, a duo with friend Chip Roberts –he embraces classically American soundscapes including rough rockabilly rumbles and Johnny Cash-esque shuffles. Tickets for Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire at Buzzbin are available through Eventbrite.

Buzzbin hosts live music throughout the week and Jam Night, where musicians can combine their skills with those of other area musicians, every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Visit buzzbinkenmore.com for a full schedule of live music and events, and follow them on Facebook @ buzzbinshop and Instagram @buzzbin for updates.

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