Peter Cavanaugh

Bob Seger is coming to Fresno in February. That means something personal to Cavanaugh

Bob Seger is coming to Fresno’s Save Mart Center on Feb. 12 on his farewell tour.
Bob Seger is coming to Fresno’s Save Mart Center on Feb. 12 on his farewell tour. Fresno Bee archive

“I can never say thank you enough when it comes to who really broke Bob Seger locally and nationally. It was Peter Cavanaugh and Rosalie Trombly. Rosalie had CKLW (Detroit) that went into 36 states. She would ask who else was playing the record. Of course, I’d say, ‘Peter C. at WTAC in Flint.’ You had to have WTAC and Cavanaugh if you were going to have a hit in Michigan. He never let us down.”

– Punch Andrews, manager of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

The boys are coming to town.

Bob Seger has added Fresno to his final American tour with an appearance at the Save Mart Center on Feb. 12.

Let’s turn the page back 52 years. That’s when Seger met his lifelong manager, Edward “Punch” Andrews. Punch remains with Bob to this day, personal loyalty being a powerful Seger attribute. Punch also eventually managed a promising young Detroit musician named Bob Richie, now better known as Kid Rock.

Back in the late ’60s, the Detroit music scene was powerfully impacted by two major influences – the magic of Barry Gordy’s Motown stars and, curiously, the explosion of West Coast “Flower Power” with the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco introducing such bands as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Byrds, Santana and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin.

A young Michigan entrepreneur named Russ Gibb stumbled on this focal point of the psychedelic scene while visiting San Francisco, then opened The Grande Ballroom in Detroit, bringing these same groups to the Midwest.

It took Michigan’s Bob Seger more than 10 years to become discovered by the rest of the country following the phenomenal success of “Live Bullet.” It was recorded in Detroit’s Cobo Hall a week after I presented Bob to a full house at Delta College near Saginaw in September 1975. The album was not released until six months later. Success was astoundingly regional before receiving full national radio exposure. In June 1976, Seger played the Pontiac Silverdome before 78,000 people, but drew less than a thousand fans the following night in Chicago.

I expect some other old Michigan friends will be turning it up here in Fresno as eternal members of the Silver Bullet Band.

There’s Donnie Brewer on drums. Don appeared with me at more than a few WTAC “record hops” before selling out Shea Stadium in New York faster than The Beatles did as a founding member of Grand Funk Railroad on July 9, 1971.

Tom Cartmell appeared at many “Peter C. Rock & Roll Presentations” with Ormandy, an extremely popular rock group from Lansing. He’s been with Seger for the last 46 years, better known as “Alto Reed.” That’s his sax on “Turn The Page.”

Craig Frost has been magnificent on keyboards with Bob Seger as a member of “Silver Bullet” since 1972. We used to sneak Craig into Contos’ Lounge in Flint when he was 16 to join his dad’s band on stage when Jack Frost (real name) played with “Ray Emmett and the Superiors.”

Chris Campbell, born in Detroit, has been playing bass with Bob since 1969 – the year of Woodstock. It thunders.

Rock Critic Dave Marsh writes, “Bob Seger had all the requisites of greatness: the voice, the songwriting, the performance onstage, the vision and the ambition.”

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band were inducted into Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Be at Save Mart Center on Feb. 12. You’ll see why.

It’s “Old Time Rock & Roll!”