EVERETT — Ned “Lalo” Neltner lives in Barra de Navidad in Mexico’s state of Jalisco.
But he’s returning to his home state of Washington for a summer tour with his longtime band, Jr. Cadillac, and he’ll make his first stop Saturday evening at the Historic Everett Theatre.
“I am excited to play in Everwett,” he said.
The pronunciation is intentional because it is sunny right now in the Barra, and one never knows when it might rain here in Everett.
Actually, Neltner doesn’t mind a trip away from paradise and he looks forward to his annual treks home. He grew up in Eastern Washington and was a pioneer in the live music scene in the Puget Sound region more than 4 decades ago.
“Seattle was our music mecca in the late 1960s,” Neltner said. “A bunch of us were playing for teen dances around the region and we formed a group of five. That was 46 years ago. It never occurred to us that this would be a serious band. Our name, Jr. Cadillac, came from a song on Norman Greenbaum’s album ‘Spirit in the Sky,’ which we adored.”
After awhile, the boys in Jr. Cadillac decided they had what it took to make a splash in Seattle.
“We set up a showcase at the Wintonia Tavern for club owners to attend,” Neltner remembered. “A few came, but through the grapevine we started to get jobs through outfits such as Concerts West. Suddenly we were hip. The live-music-in-bars scene in Seattle was a not a regular thing until we started doing it. We played the Grapevine, the Rainbow, Parker’s, the G-Note, the Buffalo, Goldies, and far and wide. We had no idea what we were doing, we just wanted to work, and so we spawned this wonderful period of time in Seattle when people enjoyed all sorts of music and it wasn’t cliquey.
“There was a time when we opened for just about every big show that came through the Northwest, including the Kinks, Beach Boys, ELO, Ten Years After, Yes, Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull. We backed Chuck Berry a dozen times. And I wrote a song — on stage, during a concert — with Bo Diddley,” Neltner said. “And we were still playing dances, conventions, parties and bars. Good-time rock ‘n’ roll became our thing, and our motto was ‘Nothin’ could be lackin’ when you’re out there Cadillacin’.”
A highlight of the Jr. Cadillac history is the band’s cultural exchange trip in 1989 to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, a Seattle sister city.
“That was a huge deal for us,” Neltner said.
The current tour will include a few local festivals and celebrations, a show for Seattle Children’s Hospital summer camp and the band’s annual birthday party show Aug. 20 at the Triple Door in Seattle.
“We’re old now and everyone has lives,” Neltner said. “And there’s no money in playing bars anymore, but we still like our summer tour around the region. We have a lot of good memories.”
What will Jr. Cadillac perform in Everett?
“As Bo Diddley would say, ‘we gonna do some new stuff and some old stuff and some other stuff,’” Neltner said with a laugh. “Original material, some covers from the ’70s and what ever we want.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com. The band Jr. Cadillac played at Fiege’s school, Mountlake Terrace High, in the early 1970s and that’s when she fell in love with the boys.
If you go
Jr. Cadillac in concert
8 p.m. June 25
Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave.
Tickets are $18 to $30. Call 425-258-6766.