5:30 pm in Uncategorized by BigFurHat
Chris Cassone grew up a would-be rock ’n’ roller in Port Chester, a village to which rock royalty made regular visits.
Chris Cassone at the stage door of Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre where, for a couple of years back in the early ’70s, his price of admission was ‘cake for the band’ from his grandfather’s J.J. Cassone Bakery. The Capitol Theater reopens Sept. 4, with a performance by Bob Dylan. Inset, Cassone presents a cake to Bonnie Raitt. / Peter D. Kramer/The Journal News; Doug Abdelnour
“I have what some might call a character defect,” says Cassone, who turned 62 on Wednesday. “I want to be in the center of where it’s all at.”
Back in the early ’70s, “where it’s all at” was Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre, “The Cap,” hosting The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Pink Floyd, among others. And it’s where it’s at again, as the storied venue reopens on Tuesday, with Bob Dylan kicking off an impressive calendar of concerts stretching into 2013.
“I wanted to be a rock star, but I didn’t want to practice,” says Cassone, who now divides his time between Patterson and Los Angeles. He also wanted to see great rockers in action, but had neither a ticket nor the means.
He may not have had the dough, but he knew someone who had the batter and the icing: his cousin, Johnny, at the family’s J.J. Cassone Bakery, a Port Chester fixture started by its namesake, his grandfather.
“I had Johnny make a nice big sheetcake and write on it: ‘Welcome Janis Joplin,’” he recalls. “And I showed up at the stage door and said, ‘Cake for the band.’”
And he was in. It was Aug. 8, 1970, Joplin’s last New York appearance. Two months later, she was dead of a drug overdose.