Eddie Skeets

2002 - Booking Agent/Promoter

Music has been described as the world’s universal language. It is a form of communication that can be loved and enjoyed by all people. One such man knew this to be true and lived his life according to those beliefs. This man is Eddie “Skeets” Washinowski.

In the early 1950’s Eddie was a fixture in the Midwest as a ballroom dance bandleader in the styles of polka and big band. He continued his love for music by becoming a promoter and booking agent. During the years of 1961 and 1962, Eddie operated the Woodcliff Ballroom in Spencer, Ia. This experience would lead him to Sioux City, where he operated the Shore Acres Ballroom in the spring of 1963.

In those years as a promoter, Eddie booked local acts for dances as well as national touring acts such as The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs for shows across the Midwest.

Eddie relocated to an office on Nebraska Street in Sioux City and operated the Downtown Ballroom, which focused on local rock and roll bands. Throughout this he developed rapport with local groups and became their agent. Examples of these groups were The Seven Sons, which were a Morningside College group, and The Skeeters that included members Dave Kjos, George Larvick and Tom Kingsbury.

Eddie became the concessionaire for the Municipal Auditorium in Sioux City while still continuing to promote national groups as a local promoter.

As in most promotions the agent will book a certain number of dates and contract with the groups for those dates. Eddie would usually book in three’s: Sioux City, Sioux Falls and Lincoln. At this time, more national acts were flowing through Eddie’s books such as Paul Revere and the Raiders, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Herman’s Hermits.

During the 1970’s, Eddie continued to promote Wednesday night teen dances using many of John Brown’s bands from Lawrence, Kan. such as The Flippers, The Red Dogs etc. Eddie was known for being able to talk the language of the local teen. In his own words Eddie stated, “They’re a great bunch of kids and they like good entertainment. I like to bring in area combos and even new groups to give them a chance at experience and hopefully, one day, a shot at the bright lights.”

He continued to promote his own orchestra focusing on the Big Band/Ballroom Dance music. The Eddie Skeets Orchestra was and still is a household name in the Midwest. The group recorded numerous albums as well as played sometimes six days a week. During the mid 1980’s, Eddie suffered a stroke and was sidelined for a while. This certainly didn’t stop him from his love of entertaining people. After a while the Eddie Skeets Orchestra was back on the road touring away. He never slowed down. Even up until his death in October 1995.

His family included wife Adeline, two sons Jack and Jeff and daughter Joan. Music can still be heard in the Skeets family. While Jeff Skeets still makes people dance, through his band the Vinyl Kings, it can be heard in the style that his father used to promote, 50’s and 60’s good old rock and roll. Grandson Seth Skeets is also involved in the music scene playing with the rock band Appleseed.

Eddie Skeets always included young people, not only in his own band, but also in trying to give young musicians the opportunity to showcase their budding talents in front of a crowd. This is Eddie Skeets’ legacy. Those promotional/agent efforts and accomplishments are the basis for his induction into the Hall of Fame.

Music has been described as the world’s universal language. It is a form of communication that can be loved and enjoyed by all people. One such man knew this to be true and lived his life according to those beliefs. This man is Eddie “Skeets” Washinowski.

In the early 1950’s Eddie was a fixture in the Midwest as a ballroom dance bandleader in the styles of polka and big band. He continued his love for music by becoming a promoter and booking agent. During the years of 1961 and 1962, Eddie operated the Woodcliff Ballroom in Spencer, Ia. This experience would lead him to Sioux City, where he operated the Shore Acres Ballroom in the spring of 1963.

In those years as a promoter, Eddie booked local acts for dances as well as national touring acts such as The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs for shows across the Midwest.

Eddie relocated to an office on Nebraska Street in Sioux City and operated the Downtown Ballroom, which focused on local rock and roll bands. Throughout this he developed rapport with local groups and became their agent. Examples of these groups were The Seven Sons, which were a Morningside College group, and The Skeeters that included members Dave Kjos, George Larvick and Tom Kingsbury.

Eddie became the concessionaire for the Municipal Auditorium in Sioux City while still continuing to promote national groups as a local promoter.

As in most promotions the agent will book a certain number of dates and contract with the groups for those dates. Eddie would usually book in three’s: Sioux City, Sioux Falls and Lincoln. At this time, more national acts were flowing through Eddie’s books such as Paul Revere and the Raiders, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Herman’s Hermits.

During the 1970’s, Eddie continued to promote Wednesday night teen dances using many of John Brown’s bands from Lawrence, Kan. such as The Flippers, The Red Dogs etc. Eddie was known for being able to talk the language of the local teen. In his own words Eddie stated, “They’re a great bunch of kids and they like good entertainment. I like to bring in area combos and even new groups to give them a chance at experience and hopefully, one day, a shot at the bright lights.”

He continued to promote his own orchestra focusing on the Big Band/Ballroom Dance music. The Eddie Skeets Orchestra was and still is a household name in the Midwest. The group recorded numerous albums as well as played sometimes six days a week. During the mid 1980’s, Eddie suffered a stroke and was sidelined for a while. This certainly didn’t stop him from his love of entertaining people. After a while the Eddie Skeets Orchestra was back on the road touring away. He never slowed down. Even up until his death in October 1995.

His family included wife Adeline, two sons Jack and Jeff and daughter Joan. Music can still be heard in the Skeets family. While Jeff Skeets still makes people dance, through his band the Vinyl Kings, it can be heard in the style that his father used to promote, 50’s and 60’s good old rock and roll. Grandson Seth Skeets is also involved in the music scene playing with the rock band Appleseed.

Eddie Skeets always included young people, not only in his own band, but also in trying to give young musicians the opportunity to showcase their budding talents in front of a crowd. This is Eddie Skeets’ legacy. Those promotional/agent efforts and accomplishments are the basis for his induction into the Hall of Fame.

 

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