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Mathieu, Fox & Rounds
July 14, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Ken Mathieu, David Fox, and Jon Rounds have been part of the State College music scene for decades, including a particularly hot run in the late 1970s and early 80s, when the Rounds Brothers Band, Backseat Van Gogh, and Cartoon were packing clubs in town and around the state, playing original, guitar-based music with rich vocal harmonies.
The story of their reunification begins at the memorial service for Jon’s brother Jamie, a member of the Rounds Brothers and BVG and a frequent guest with Cartoon, in May 2013. The service drew a crowd of musicians who’d played with Jamie over the years, and after three hours of musical tributes at Celebrations on Benner Pike, a few dozen musicians convened at a house in Boalsburg to jam into the wee hours.
“There were so many guitar cases we had to put them on the screen porch,” Rounds said. “Somebody would start a song, everyone would jump in, and when that song ended, another would begin. It was one of those nights.”
In the days following, Mathieu, Fox, and Rounds talked about what a remarkable experience the night had been, and how much their common musical connection meant to them.
Then they went their separate ways…
Until the spring of 2017, when Fox and Mathieu convinced Rounds to sit in for brother Jamie for a Backseat Van Gogh reunion at the Phyrst’s 50th year musical celebration that August. Joined by drummer Rocco Fortunato, they did a set of BVG hits, including “Catch a New Wave,” “She’s Got the Feeling”, and “Just Don’t Want To See It End this Way.” The chemistry was so right, they knew they had to follow up.
The next year proved to be musically prolific for each of them and they shuttled back and forth between Fox’s home in New Jersey and Mathieu’s near Philadelphia rehearsing the new material they will be performing at this summer’s Arts Festival.
“David and Ken are among the best musicians I’ve ever played with,” Rounds says. “They’ve been working together so long, they sing harmony like brothers. They have high musical IQs, and can play just about anything on guitar.”
Fox and Jamie Rounds played as a duo in State College in the late ‘70s before forming BVG with Mathieu and Rocco Fortunato. Prior to that, Fox and Mathieu were signed to a writing contract by The Robert Stigwood Organization, then managers of Eric Clapton, The Bee Gees, The Staples Singers, and other major acts.
Fox was later offered the part of George in a touring company of the Broadway show “Beatlemania”, and won a Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Mathieu’s musical talent ranges from solo acoustic to high-powered electric and, in addition to BVG, many will know him from the late ‘70s incarnation of Tommy Wareham & the Intrigues.
Jon and Jamie Rounds formed the Rounds Brothers Band in the 1970s and played a heavy schedule of club gigs doing all original music. Jon next played in Cartoon, the acoustic quartet known for its vocal harmony and original songs that enjoyed thirty-some years of reunion concerts at the Art Festival.
The Penn State Alumni Association is sponsoring Music Across the Ages, including Mathieu, Fox & Rounds
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