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Max Allan Collins, Steve Kundel, Bill Anson and Brian Van Winkle performing at the Hall of Fame Concert.

In the words of the famous AC/DC song, it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll. Founded at about the time that song came out, Crusin,’ a sixties tribute band from Muscatine, made it to the top this year with their induction into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame on September 2nd in Arnold’s Park, near West Lake Okoboji.
The induction consisted of two parts, a ceremony in the afternoon and a concert in the evening. At the ceremony, current Cruisn’ members Max Allan Collins (keyboard), Bill Anson (guitar), Brian VanWinkle (base), and Steve Kundel (drums) received recognition for their achievements along with former band members Dennis Maxwell, Jim VanWinkle, and Sally Bunn (on behalf of her late husband, Chuck). Former members who could not attend the ceremony will receive plaques later this fall.
Collins, the band’s leader from the beginning, felt honored that Cruisn’ earned a spot in the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and that the award properly recognized the band’s history. “There is a certain historic importance to Crusin’ because we were one of the first 60’s bands,” he stated. Crusin’ formed in 1974 when many considered 60’s music “too new” to count as classic rock. This did not deter them. Collin recalls the group formed and rose to fame because they decided, “if we didn’t like the music on the radio, we would play from the old lists instead.”
Following the induction ceremony, Crusin’ and twelve other bands played in the iconic Arnold’s Park Rooftop Ballroom. A popular venue for rock concerts since the 1950’s, Collins found it, “thrilling,” to play in a space that the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock greats had performed. Collins also took pride in the fact that Crusin’ stole the show, even though they followed the all-star band, made up of some of Iowa’s most renowned musicians.
After forty-three years of performing, Crusin’ has no plans to stop anytime soon. Performing spring through fall, Crusin’ has featured in many local events, including Fruitland Fun Days, Muscatine’s Second Saturday series, and annual concerts at Ardon Creek Winery. “We like events where we can play for one or two hours and have a community connection,” explained Collins. While the group does fewer performances in the winter because of rough weather, they will still play by request at indoor events.
Crusin’ enjoys its place at the top of Iowa’s Rock and Roll scene. Collins offers some advice to new bands on how they too can become successful. He emphasized the need to mix covers with original compositions. “We earned our place in the Hall of Fame because of our longevity and our surprising amount of new material.” Fortunately, Collins believes audiences receive original songs better than ever before. With such advice, Collins looks to pass his success on to future generations, and to keep Iowa’s rock and roll tradition thriving.

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