This man needs no introduction. He is the voice of the Penguins, a very good friend of the Food Bank AND a lover of the Blues! So, we asked him a few questions in prep for the Blues Fest.  There is a discount code at the end to buy those last minute tickets for the weekend!

 mike-lange-pittsburgh-penguins1

 

Why is the Food Bank’s mission important to you? What would you say to anyone who might be considering attending Blues, but is just not quite sure?

Quite honestly, it is very important to me. I would say everyone who is entertaining the thought of attending the Blues Fest – it is important to you!  It gives you an opportunity to help somebody that needs it. Those are simple terms, but we all may be there some day. The Food Bank affords us that opportunity to be the people that can help others – and to me that’s a very valuable thing to have in your arsenal as far as a human being.

So, this is why I do a lot for this Blues Festival and why I think the Food Bank is so important to the area. It gives Pittsburghers and Western Pennsylvanians an opportunity to really feel good about themselves – not only to enjoy themselves at Hartwood Acres, but in addition the chance to give something and to feel really good about it. It also about the people surrounding it, the people at the Food Bank, you can feel it day to day when you are around them.

Why do you think the Blues Fest is an important community event?

I mentioned this a bit above — it is important that each and every person be a part of something worthwhile.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself beyond music?

Most people think I am from Pittsburgh, but that is not the case. I was born and raised in California – my mother’s side of my family even goes back to the Gold Rush! I continued to live in California throughout college and attended Sacramento State where I received a degree in Broadcasting.

After completing my degree I moved to Phoenix to begin my career with the Western Hockey League as a Broadcaster – then on to San Diego to do the same and hopefully start a career in Baseball broadcasting. However, the team folded and lo behold – I had an opportunity to come to Pittsburgh and work with the Penguins and powerhouse KDKA. I worked for them for a year until the team went bankrupt and I had to go back to California. But I came back two years later and I have been broadcasting for the Penguins ever since.

How long have you been a blues fan?

I grew up in the 60s, which was a heavily influenced era – with bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Elvis Pressley. I was very lucky to grow up in a time that has so many bands with so much to offer. You can name so many, like The Yardbirds, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival.  I didn’t really realize this was all so Blues heavy though – so I kind of got away from it.

So to make a long story short, I moved through the 80s away from music and then it all came down to one night in Mt. Lebanon where a friend of mine invited me to a club to watch this guy play guitar at a Monday night jam. One of the guitar players there was Warren King – and that was it. I was thoroughly so mad at myself that I had not got back into the music scene prior. The next night I went to the decade in Oakland and saw Kenny Neal, who is still one of my all-time favorites.

I am not the greatest,greatest Blues fan. There are many people out there that know a whole lot more about it than I do, but I know that it is part of my life now and something that I really enjoy.

Who is your favorite Music/Blues Artist?

To me, all the artists — the people that play, are people that I thoroughly enjoy.  In fact, Mick Jagger had a lot to do with how I approach entertaining in my broadcasting. There were so many that are notable – Albert Collins, Kenny Neal, Tinsley Ellis and Walter Trout – just to name a few.

Who are you most excited to see at Blues this year?

I have got my standbys, I have seen Buddy Guy multiple times.  The thing that stands out to me this year are the individual performers and their dynamite stage performances. Buddy Guy will captivate you on stage, Bobby Rush, Marcia Ball is a tremendous piano player and you will walk away singing Boogie Woogie all night. Not to mention Billy Price and Norm Nardini, these are guys that have made Pittsburgh famous with what they have accomplished as musicians. Norm and Billy will be playing with legend Duke Robillard.

I also have my eye on the newcomers – Dana Fuchs, Selwyn Birchwood and New Breed Brass Band. I really think I will be surprised by the New Breed Brass Band. Don’t forget the Zydeco folks!

Why is the Food Bank’s mission important to you? What would you say to anyone who might be considering attending Blues, but is just not quite sure?

Quite honestly, it is very important to me. I would say everyone who is entertaining the thought of attending the Blues Fest – it is important to you!  It gives you an opportunity to help somebody that needs it. Those are simple terms, but we all may be there some day. The Food Bank affords us that opportunity to be the people that can help others – and to me that’s a very valuable thing to have in your arsenal as far as a human being.

So, this is why I do a lot for this Blues Festival and why I think the Food Bank is so important to the area. It gives Pittsburghers and Western Pennsylvanians an opportunity to really feel good about themselves – not only to enjoy themselves at Hartwood Acres, but in addition the chance to give something and to feel really good about it. It also about the people surrounding it, the people at the Food Bank, you can feel it day to day when you are around them.

Why do you think the Blues Fest is an important community event?

I mentioned this a bit above — it is important that each and every person be a part of something worthwhile.

You can use promo code LASTMIN to get 10% one day passes, Saturday or Sunday.