Local performer marks 30 years of gigs at Smokey Joe’s in University City

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – For the past 30 years, Kenn Kweder has played weekly at Smokey Joe’s near the University of Pennsylvania. He usually plays Tuesday nights and Thursdays in the summer.

Kweder is on vocals and guitar.

“My strengths are classic rock and original songs,” says Kweder.

However, he says he will work on songs by Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus as they are often requested by audiences.

He plays with his musical partner Mark Teague, who also plays vocals and guitar.

Kweder says Teague is “one of the greatest musicians” he’s ever played with on stage, and their pairing is a good fit as Teague knows more about “the real dance stuff.”

“So all in all it’s an encyclopedia of music,” explains Kweder.

Kweder takes you on a musical journey, just like his career has.

“I started performing after a failed basketball career at the age of 16,” says Kweder. “I’ve always loved music.”

He says he bought a guitar, practiced, and got “very serious about folk music,” citing Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan among artists he listened to during this time.

In the end he ended up in rock ‘n’ roll.

“I put together a band called Secret Kidds, and that band quickly became very popular,” says Kweder.

After that he played with many bands including some big names before they became well known.

“I’ve worked with people like the Ramones, Patti Smith, Cheap Trick,” says Kweder. “It was exciting.”

Kweder says he plays hundreds of gigs a year, but Smokey Joe’s has been a mainstay since 1992. By his estimation he played around 1,500 gigs there.

“I love playing here because the response from the University of Pennsylvania community has been fantastic – the loyalty is second to none. The owners are incredible,” says Kweder.

Smokey Joe co-owner Paul Ryan says he has known Kweder since the 1970s.

“He’s undecided,” explains Ryan. “Usually Tuesday nights during the school year it’s a really nice crowd.”

And Kweder credits Ryan with setting him up with Teague all those years ago.

“I’m proof that there really is a second act and that the second act started at Smokey Joe’s. And I’m really grateful for that,” says Kweder.

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https://6abc.com/smokey-joes-university-city-live-music-philly-band/12065447/ Local performer marks 30 years of gigs at Smokey Joe’s in University City

Alley Einstein

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