Blue Springs South grad is a 'mock star'
By day Bobby Kerr, a 2001 graduate of Blue Springs South High School, is the director of business development for a mortgage company. He's involved in insurance brokerage and real estate deals that take him from coast to coast.
But when the sun goes down, and the denim jacket, red, white and blue bandana and sunglasses come out of the closet, that's when Kerr stands center stage, morphed into Bob Jovi, the leader of what he likes to call, "the world's most authentic 1980s Bon Jovi tribute band.
"Businessman by day,” Kerr said by phone, “’mock star by night.”
He punctuates “mock star” with a hearty laugh because he's having the time of his life.
And so are Bob Jovi fans.
Last Sunday on the main stage at Santa-Cali-Gon in Independence, Bob Jovi left the crowd cheering for more after a hit-packed hour-long gig that served as a warm-up for Shooting Star, a Kansas City band that enjoyed success in the late 1970s.
Kerr and his bandmates are no strangers to the tribute band scene.
Scott Jensen (Alex John Such of Bob Jovi) started the KISS tribute band Almost KISS 15 years ago. In 2009, Bob Jovi members Kerr and Aaron Neal (Aaron Ritchie) also joined Jensen in the ranks of Almost KISS.
They brought along two other veterans, Kansas City musicians, Larry Garland (The Hit Man) and Jeremy Beach (David Bryan Beach of Bob Jovi) to round out Bob Jovi.
Tou can check out Kerr and Co., at 7 p.m. Saturday on the main stage at the Grain Valley Fair in Armstrong Park.
“With my ‘real’ work schedule, most of our gigs are around the Kansas City area, and I’m proud to say we've built a loyal following of fans,” Kerr said. "The best compliment I could ever get is that we leave audiences feeling like they are experiencing a legitimate 1980s Bon Jovi live show.”
After graduating from South, Kerr earned a degree from Central Missouri State University. He was named Teacher of the Year in the Lexington, Mo., School District and then taught at Moreland Ridge Middle School in Blue Springs.
"I always wanted to teach,” Kerr said. “In high school, I was in all the show choirs, I played baseball for Coach (Richard) Wood, the best coach and best guy in the world, and I had a blast.”
But after teaching for five years, he knew he wanted more out of life.
"I loved teaching, but I wanted to go another direction," said Kerr, who soon became Paul Stanley in Almost KISS, a group that played to 20,000 fans at Sandstone as one of the lead bands in a tribute night.
Then, a casual conversation with Jensen, his Almost KISS bandmate, led to Bob Jovi.
"I wanted to be in a 1980s, early Bon Jovi tribute band, and the rest is history. That was 2018, and we've been going strong ever since.”
Bob Jovi is a favorite at Knucklehead's in Kansas City, and you can also see Kerr as Benjamin Orr in a tribute band honoring the Cars.
"I wish I could tell you what it's like walking out on a stage, like last Sunday at Santa-Cali-Gon, and feeling the energy and electricity from the crowd, it gets us all going up on the stage,” Kerr said.
"It doesn't matter how many folks there are in the audience – if they're having fun, we're having fun. It's not so bad being a ‘mock star.’ It shouldn’t be legal to be having this much fun.”
IF YOU GO
The Grain Valley Fair is from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
The fair is at Armstrong Park, 711 N. Main St., and features a carnival, beer garden, music, arts and crafts vendors and food booths.
On Saturday, the Grain Valley Fair Parade will run from 2 to 5 p.m. In honor of the state’s bicentennial, the theme is “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” and the marshals will be the Grain Valley Historical Society. The parade starts at the high school.
The Friday pavilion main stage performers are KC Ruckus Band at 6 p.m., Grindstone at 8 p.m. and The Good Sam Club Band at 9:30 p.m. Saturday’s performers are Almost KISS at 5 p.m., Bob Jovi at 7 p.m. and KCDC at 9 p.m.
The carnival and vendor booths are open from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Beer garden hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and 4 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
For further information and tickets visit www://grainvalleyfair.org/