By Kathy Feist
On October 2nd, Martin City will host Tommy Tutone, creator of the hit classic “867-5309”, in a free outdoor concert. Opening for the band is Kansas City’s own 80s hits cover band, the M80s.
The M80s have been performing to packed houses in Kansas City for the past 15 years. What few know is that since 2019, two of the band members, lead vocalist Curt Whitaker and drummer Ed Valdez, have been performing with Tommy Tutone when he tours the midwest.
“It’s amazing I’m playing with him,” says Whitaker. “The guy was an iconic singer of the most iconic song of all time.”
Despite performing the classic hit as part of their regular rotation, the M80s never tire of the catchy tune. Neither does Tommy Tutone, according to Whitaker.
“I don’t think he gets sick of it either,” he says. “He likes to come back on stage to sing it again during our closing. He knows everyone enjoys it.”
The M80s open and close for Tommy Tutone. The band performs Top 40 hits from 80s artists such as Rick Springfield, Journey, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and the like.
Whitaker, who is 56 years old, says he prefers the “fun and feel good” songs from the 80s. “The 90s went into a darker and grungier sound,” he says. He also likes the unique sound produced during the 80s.
“When I hear a 2002, 2003 song, it sounds like one today,” he says. “But 80s songs, or songs from the 70s and 60s, you could separate by the decade they were played based on their sound. Now, it’s a blend of everything.”
Whitaker says the secret to the M80s longevity is keeping the music fun and danceable. “We’ve discovered that if you play what women want to hear, they will come and men will follow, not the other way around,” he says. “Women like to dance.”
The M80s consists of Whitaker on vocals and bass, Carrie Stock on vocals, Eric Martin on guitar and Ed Valdez on drums.
The concert starts at 2 pm, Saturday, October 2nd, at The Martin, 135th and Holmes Rd. The event is sponsored by the Martin City Business Community Association and the Martin City Brewing Company. Beverages and food will be on hand. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of carryout specials from Martin City restaurants such as RC’s Chicken. Ramsey’s Burgers and Martin City Coffee. In case of rain, the concert will be moved indoor with masks alternative.