Joe Finkle remembers when any glass you got at Clyde's On Main Street was for your auto, not your favorite beverage.
"My grandfather, Ralph Owens, had an AMC dealership on Brainerd Road in the '70s and did business with Clyde's. It's great that Clyde's on Main kept the same name," he says.
Finkle and his rockabilly Southern California band, the 7/10 Splits, will play at Clyde's On Main, 122 W. Main St., on Friday, March 30, at 10 p.m. It's a homecoming show for him and he's anticipating a lot of family and friends being there.
The Cleveland, Tenn., native grew up in Detroit before returning to Tennessee when he was 18 to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ("I was second bass drum in the UTC Marching Band.")
After transferring to UTK then finishing college at Michigan State, he returned to Tennessee again to work as a videotape editor at Newschannel 9. His career in TV has taken him to Tupelo, Miss., Montgomery, Ala., back to Newschannel 9, Jacksonville, Fla., Dallas and finally Los Angeles, where he currently works as a sports producer for the Fox affiliate.
Locals may remember Finkle sitting in with Red, Hot & Blue during his 1993-94 stopover in Chattanooga.
Raised on rockabilly, he says Detroit's Motown sound was a huge influence as well. When he got to Southern California, he found its rockabilly scene divided by three styles: a group of bands from the Wild Records label that was quite traditional; a psychobilly scene that was not traditional but "had a lot of energy;" and neo-rockabilly, a modern take on a nostalgic genre. He classified himself among the last.
When his former band, Voodoo Train, had artistic differences, he split and formed the 7/10 Splits. Now 10 years after his last gig in Chattanooga, Finkle is bringing the 7/10 Splits to town for the show at Clyde's.
"Before Craigslist, there was Recycler, an online site that had everything. I auditioned a few guitar players, found John Snoke — and I knew we had something," he says of forming the band.
"Then, bumping into Johnny Hatton, now we had a Grammy winner in the band. We also use Brian Setzer's drummer, Bernie Dresel, when he's in town. He's incredible. Todd Tatum is our main drummer — one of the best in SoCal."
For his gig at Clyde's, Finkle says Robert Greer will sit in on bass. The show will also be a reunion with drummer David Blancett from Red, Hot & Blue.
While Finkle says the 7/10 Splits play a lot of music by the Million Dollar Quartet, "I would never get up and perform a song exactly like you hear it on a CD or record. That makes you effectively a human jukebox. I take pride in stripping down songs and making new arrangements. You've got to give the crowd a show — and wearing flashy stuff is right out of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis' stage shows."
Finkle wears a wireless microphone so he can move off the stage and interact with the crowd — sometimes even performing songs across the room from the band.
"We have a set list — but I don't expect to follow it. We are there to entertain the audience, and it will be fun to see where the crowd and the show will take us. I really am excited to play at one of Chattanooga's premiere live venues.
"I want a loud, rowdy crowd! Admission is $5 — and we're going to give you at least $6 of entertainment."
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.