Dan Aykroyd is on a mission from God to promote the blues.
The former Blues Brothers star and aficionado of the musical genre recently traveled back to his “second” hometown of Chicago to honor blues legend Lonnie Brooks on his 80th birthday. Aykroyd led a celebration at the House of Blues that included performances from greats like Shemekia Copeland, Otis Taylor, Billy Branch, Jellybean Johnson, Otis Clay, Big Head Todd, Cicero Blake, Lil Ed, and Eddy Clearwater.
“I don’t think you are going to see something like this in Chicago in a long time,” the Canadian Aykroyd said after the celebration.
Dan Aykroyd said the event was about more than honoring the past, but bringing attention to the genre to ensure future for the blues.
Aykroyd noted that few radio stations play the blues, but he’s trying to change that. For the past 22 years he has hosted a radio show called The Blues Mobile, one that is now syndicated in close to 200 stations across the country.
“We are totally dedicated to the mission, and the mission from God is to sell tickets for the artists, to sell their records for the artists, to sell their reputations so you have a forum to talk about their music and to get audiences interested and drive them forward,” Aykroyd said. “We get the satisfaction of helping people to celebrate their careers. Radio needs to service blues a little more.”
Keeping the blues alive is not easy, Aykroyd said. In many cities the genre has died out entirely, with no clubs in New York to speak of that feature the blues. Even in Chicago, once a hotbed for the blues, shows struggle to bring in 1,500 people, he noted.
Promoting the blues isn’t the only thing Dan Aykroyd is up to these days. After spending more than a decade developing Ghostbusters 3, Aykroyd recently announced that he has renewed efforts to bring the movie to the big screen.
“We’ve got a new writing staff working on it now. It’s got to be perfect.” Aykroyd told WIVB. “That’s the whole thing. There’s no point in doing it unless it’s perfect. So that’s what we’re up to now.”
Dan Aykroyd isn’t giving up on his own music, either. At the celebration for Lonnie Brooks he joined more than a dozen blues legends on stage for a rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago.”