Fido Kennington is a fixture in Flint’s punk rock scene. He’s also a continual concert-goer with the ticket stub collection to prove it!
I met Fido in 2008 when I hired him to play drums on an outlaw country recording. We added each other on Facebook after that but I had no idea what I was getting into. Each month, he posts pics of concert ticket stubs and shares anecdotes of these experiences. If I’m being honest, those posts once triggered intense jealousy within me. (I wish I had those experiences!) But my lack of initiative isn’t Fido’s fault. That’s why I’m more than happy to interview him about his passion for concerts.
J.P. Ribner: So, let’s jump right into this. How many concert ticket stubs do you have?
Fido Kennington: “Let’s just call it 150, maybe more. I honestly don’t even know anymore. I didn’t save a ticket from every concert I went to, and there weren’t tickets for all the hall shows I’ve been to around Flint. It might even be 200 for all I know. I’ve been keeping a journal of my concert experiences since 1985. There are a lot of gaps in it over the years because I’m not constant with it. It’s still a good thing to refer back to from time to time.”
JPR: I get why you want to go to concerts and I even get why you save the ticket stubs. But in your own words, why do you do it?
FK: “I like the ephemera of these things. I also have a lot of T-shirts from those shows. My grandpa didn’t have a super 8 camera, so I would get what I could to commemorate the events.”
JPR: Take me back to the beginning. What was your first concert?
FK: “My parents and I have different ideas about that. Memories of a child and all that. My parents swear up and down that we saw Pink Floyd in Owosso of all places. I don’t think that happened. I mean, I haven’t done a deep dive on the internet but I don’t think Pink Floyd played there. What I do remember is seeing Peter Frampton at Pine Knob when I was about eight, maybe younger. I distinctly remember the drum solo.”
JPR: Now, I don’t know you as well as I’d like to, but I know you’re a KISS fanatic. I’m guessing I know where you’re going to go with this, but I’ll ask it anyway. What’s your favorite concert of all time?
FK: “Believe it or not, it was the Jellyfish concert on July 3, 1994. I remember because Peter Gabriel was playing the same night. I was really bummed that I missed him, but I’m so glad I went to Jellyfish at St. Andrew’s Hall. They broke up soon after and that show was an insane thing. In a lot of ways, yes, it’s my favorite. I remember running into a bunch of my friends from random groups at that show. When I did, I was like, ‘Oh my God! You like Jellyfish?’
“I went there to see the show, of course, but also interview the keyboard player. Tim Flynn (Fido’s friend) and I got there early so we started walking to the front to find the band. As we did, I thought they were playing ‘Spilled Milk’ over the PA but they were sound-checking. I was like, ‘Holy fuck! That’s actually them.’”
JPR: Okay, but there has to be a KISS concert on your list of all-time faves. C’mon, man!
FK: “Oh yeah! It was the New England show in 1979 with Cheap Trick as the opener. I saw a commercial on TV and said, “I have to go; please please can we go?” Typical eight-year-old shit, ya know? We were poor but my parents knew how badly I wanted to see it. My mom kept telling me that a ‘surprise’ was coming in the mail. I was feverishly keeping an eye on that box. I remember going apeshit when the tickets finally came. When I saw the envelope, I knew exactly what it was. I ripped it open and glitter came out. Lost my shit because I was going to see KISS.”
JPR: I remember seeing that post on your Facebook a few months back. It was a very touching tribute to your mom. I’m sharing it here because I’m a big softie at heart.
FK: “Go for it!”
“42 years ago today… usually to commemorate this life changing event, I post a Polaroid of myself as Peter Criss on 7/13/79. But at the moment that photo was taken, someone else was in the fabled makeup chair, and it wasn’t Ace Frehley or, as my smudged Flair pen reads, “Ace in progress.” It was the amazing woman who not only tolerated my incessant harangues about KIϟϟ tickets but actually indulged them, saying ‘You’d better enjoy this concert, Chum… it’s gonna end up costing us an entire child support check, so you’d best thank your dad, too!’ Boy howdy, do I love that woman. Of all the glorious days Debra Faye and I’ve shared, this particular Friday the 13th was one of the most amazing.”
JPR: Okay, a bit of personal info here. I missed the Danzig concert at the Capitol Theatre and I’ve regretted it ever since. Is there a concert you missed that still haunts you to this day?
FK: “Yeah, I missed the Danzig show too but that’s not the one I regret the most. Back in the summer of 1980, we were supposed to see Heart but my mom and stepdad got in a fight. My stepdad got mad and left but he soon came home with his tail between his legs. We ended up taking a limo to see The Blues Brothers at Pine Knob instead. We still had a great time.”
JPR: Okay. Rock concerts can be a wild place where practically anything can happen. Tell me about your weirdest/wildest concert experience?
FK: “Well, there was that time when me and my friend Dwayne got carjacked at Harpo’s. I think it was the King’s X show but I’m not sure. All I remember was having a shotgun shoved in my face. Dwayne got his car back luckily, but not before they took it and left us standing there, freaking out.
“The GWAR show at the Capitol was pretty nuts, too. I got roped into helping out at that one. I got the call at 10 AM and spent the whole day working with GWAR’s road manager. He had a whole list of things he needed to get like cables and peripherals. It was a very involved helping-out-Joel-Rash day. I’ve always heard that James Brown was the hardest working man in show business. Fuck that! Gwar worked their asses off!”
JPR: Okay. No blog post about Fido Kennington would be complete without mentioning your drumming. It’s how we met, after all. So, tell everyone what bands you’re in.
JPR: Fido Kennington, in the court of J.P. Ribner, you stand accused of being an unrepentant band whore. How do you plead?
FK: “Whore? Shit, I turned pro 35 years ago and have probably forgotten more bandmates than most of my peers have HAD. I should be a madam by now! Haha. If being in a band were criminal, I’d be the Guiltiest Bystander… and proudly so!
JPR: As you should, my friend.
More Flint Music Scene Posts Coming Soon…
Being a part of the punk scene in Flint, Michigan was a defining point in my youth. During that time, I had the opportunity to work with many great musicians… and a couple of assholes. At some point, I plan to write a blog post about many of the guys I’ve worked with over the years. Fido is one of the good guys and it was an honor to feature him and his penchant for rock concert ephemera. I look forward to many more interviews to come!
About John P. Ribner
Born in Flint, Michigan. Raised by narcissists. Victim of a drive-by shooting. Writer. Singer. Songwriter. Martial artist. Social critic. Iconoclast. Author of “Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir.”