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Rock the Park 2016 lineup is a mix of new and familiar

by Gina Mace | Reporter Published: April 27, 2016 12:00 AM
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Twinsburg -- Twinsburg's Rock the Park 2016 concert series, presented by Strachan Novak Insurance, will start with a KISS and ends Face-2-Face.

In between are new and returning acts that promise to make the summer concert series the place to be on six summer Fridays.

Opening the series' eighth season June 10 is Mr. Speed, crowned the world's best KISS tribute band in a world-wide contest in 2012. Mr. Speed has performed at Rock the Park in the past.

Rich Kosak, aka "The Spaceman" Paul Stanley, has been the front man for Mr. Speed since its inception in 1994, and a KISS fan since he was a teenager.

"In 1979, I was a [Peter] Frampton fan when I saw a commercial for the KISS radio," Kosak said. The transistor radio was adorned with pictures of the makeup masked band.

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"I was kind of like, 'Holy cow, who is that?'" Kosak said. "I needed to know everything about them."

Kosak was reached by phone from the lobby of Detroit's Greektown Casino April 22, where he and his band mates were waiting for their ride to The Palace at Auburn Hills, where they performed during game three of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Detroit Pistons NBA playoff series.

Kosak said he's grateful to be invited back to Rock the Park.

"The stage is big, like a miniature Blossom [Music Center, in Cuyahoga Falls]," Kosak said. "And now they're opening up the show to all ages. So many kids like KISS. We see a lot of families come out and the kids are wearing makeup."

The other members of Mr. Speed are Joe Hess, who plays "the original Spaceman," Ace Frehley; Andrew Sgambati, aka Peter Criss, "the Cat Man;" and Jim Seda, on stage as Gene Simmons, "the Demon."

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The band performs around 30 concerts a year, bringing the KISS experience to the masses. After 22 years, Kosak said he's still having fun.

Also back for 2016 is high energy Motown and R&B band Shout!, who will perform June 24.

Returning for the July 1 fireworks show is the Cleveland POPS Orchestra, a family favorite as it caters to all ages.

New this year are "Who's Bad," a Michael Jackson experience performing July 29, and Face-2-Face Aug. 12, featuring Mike Santaro as Billy Joel and Ronnie "the Rocket Man" Smith as Elton John.

Joseph "JoBel" Bell, who channels Michael Jackson in "Who's Bad," said he is excited to play Rock the Park for the first time.

"Playing Rock the Park in Twinsburg for the first time will be an absolute blast!" he said. "Let's rock the King of Pop, Twinsburg-style!"

The concerts are at Perici Amphitheatre in Glenn Chamberlin Park. Tickets will be available beginning May 16 at 10 a.m. General admission is $10 per person and Studio Wish Salon VIP tickets, which offer access to a private patio and bar, two free drinks, appetizers, close parking, and use of a lawn chair, are $30 per person.

Tickets can be purchased at Twinsburg Community Center, 10260 Ravenna Road or online at RockTheParkConcert.com.

Kosak said Mr. Speed looks forward to meeting KISS fans and creating new ones at Rock the Park June 10.

"I want people who come and see Mr. Speed to know the band is just like them," Kosak said. "I started as a KISS fan with posters in my bedroom. We are KISS fans to our hearts."

Email: gmace@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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