MATTOON — After years of anticipation, fans of the old Ted’s Warehouse in Charleston won’t have to wait much longer to hear the smooth sounds of the bands they grew up loving.
Ted’s Warehouse Reunion is an event over 40 years in the making which will showcase bands mixed with musicians from past bands who played at Ted’s in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
The bands playing at the reunion are Degrees of Freedom, Backstage Boogie and Left Psyde Heavy.
Members of the headliner band for the reunion, called Degrees of Freedom, are currently recording their first CD; the band is made up of members from Slink Ran Group, the Reruns and Clockwork Orange, among others.
The doors for the reunion will open at 8 p.m. Saturday at Brian’s Place at 2100 Broadway Ave. in Mattoon. The bands will take the stage at 9 p.m. and there is an admission fee of $10.
Although the reunion won’t be at the original Ted’s Warehouse building, which is now a teen center owned by Salisbury Church, attendees will still get the same Ted’s Warehouse vibe they are used to, said John Aulabaugh, the guitar player for Degrees of Freedom.
Aulabaugh, who helped organize the reunion, said he has many good memories from performing at Ted’s and is excited to relive those days.
“This is a great opportunity for people to come back and see the bands they used to see perform,” Aulabaugh said.
Ted’s Warehouse was opened in 1970 by Ted Bertuca, who moved to Charleston from Chicago because his parents lived there and he wanted to get away from the corporate world of the Chicago area.
Bertuca originally wanted to open a pizza business, but he ended up opening a bar instead, which eventually evolved into Ted’s Warehouse.
“Ted took his place nightly, like Norm from ‘Cheers,’ on his favorite bar stool watching the door, greeting each guest and making sure everything went as planned,” Aulabaugh said.
Ted’s soon became the “it” place to be and gave a lot of local bands and famous bands their start.
“Ted’s Warehouse not only provided a place for music lovers to gather and hear a variety of local and national acts, it also was ‘the place’ for aspiring local musicians to play,” Aulabaugh said.
Top name bands like REO Speedwagon and Cheap Trick have performed on the main stage at Ted’s Warehouse, Aulabaugh said.
In addition to playing shows at Ted’s, Aulabaugh also worked there for about three years as a bouncer and a bartender.
“After my first taste of Ted’s, I knew it was the place I wanted to play,” Aulabaugh said. “The stage overlooked the dance floor and was directly across from the audience. The sound of raw, loud and live music was as good as it got.”
Dave “Woody” Woodyard, who used to be the manager of Ted’s Warehouse, said he has many fond memories of Ted’s and even met his wife Lori there 25 years ago.
“A lot of it was the friends that I met through there years ago and are still my friends today. The memories that I have are just irreplaceable,” Woodyard said.
Bertuca gave wide genres of bands a chance to play on stage and Woodyard said the wide spectrum of bands varied all the way from country music to rock’n’roll.
“I always enjoyed the country nights more, but there was something for everyone because Ted did that on purpose and he tried to bring in different acts that played different genres of music to try to reach out to more people,” Woodyard said.
Ted’s Warehouse closed its doors for good in 1996 when Bertuca died, but Bertuca’s legacy has lived on through the patrons and bands who graced the floors and stages of the building and through the Ted’s Warehouse Reunion, which is in the works to be a yearly tradition.
Tiffany Schrock, the manager of Brian’s Place and a frequenter of Ted’s in the ’80s, said the reunion came about due to a demand on the Facebook group called “I used to go to Ted’s Warehouse.” She said it took a couple years to get the reunion going, but it’s finally become a reality.
“I just think that a lot of people miss that place. There is such a wide variety of people who went there through the eras and all different age groups,” Schrock said. “At the reunion people can get together and reminisce about things they used to do and bands they used to see.”
Aulabaugh said the first 75 people at the door for Ted’s Warehouse Reunion will receive Slink Ran and Ted’s Warehouse survival memorabilia.
“It’s going to be a great show,” Aulabaugh said. I want to make this a yearly thing with different bands from the eras.”
Contact Bilharz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-6839.