By Ed Runyan
Art, music and pride in the city’s connection to Warren-born musician Dave Grohl came together Friday night as several organizations celebrated the ongoing artistic improvements to David Grohl Alley with a free concert in the adjacent Franklin Street Parking Deck.
Chief among the attractions was the new mural produced by Warren artist Aaron Chine placed high on one of the alley walls.
“They wanted something you could see from Franklin Street that would draw people to the alley,” Chine said.
“I thought spray paint, lime green, a banner, and as big as I could get it,” Chine said.
It’s just above several other new designs painted on the freshly paved alley, like a drum set, guitar and the words Nirvana and Foo Fighters, the instruments and bands that made Grohl famous. Artist John Mechling is responsible for those designs.
Chine said his mural, paid for through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, will serve as the official logo for shirts, hats and other David Grohl Alley merchandise.
The concert was organized to help raise money to complete the World’s Largest Drumsticks project carried out by Warren police officer Joe O’Grady of Main Street Warren, a downtown promotional group.
The drumsticks have been on display at the Downtown Warren Amphitheater for several months and will be permanently installed at the Main Avenue entrance to the alley in the spring, O’Grady said.
May would be a good time for dedication of the drumsticks and will give Dave Grohl’s father, Jim Grohl of Howland, a chance to attend, O’Grady said.
Jim Grohl, a retired journalist who once worked as a one-man Warren bureau chief of The Vindicator, attended Friday’s concert, saying of his son, “I think he’s touring in Europe, but he’d love to be here.”
Dave Grohl is the front man for Foo Fighters and played drums for Nirvana.
O’Grady said this apparently was not the first-ever concert in the parking deck, but perhaps the first one on an interior level, protected from the possibility of rain. Surprisingly, the concrete walls of the deck didn’t ruin the sound of the music. The music could be heard throughout downtown.
In addition to music from several bands, the hundred or so people got to watch live painting from Chine and fellow Warren artist Thad Minnick.
There were David Grohl paintings, T-shirts and other merchandise for sale. Dan Plant of Champion fabricated a metal replica of Dave Grohl’s guitar that will be installed in the alley.
Main Street Warren organized the event. The Trumbull Art Gallery and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership also are part of the alley’s continuing beautification.
Besides the drumsticks, the alley will get benches and lighting in the next year, O’Grady said.