It's well known that presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is a music buff. But he was especially excited about recently visiting the Surf Ballroom. That's the Iowa hall where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper played their last show before their 1959 fatal plane crash.
"Going to the Surf Ballroom was like visiting a shrine," says Huckabee. "What is remarkable about it is that it has remained a music venue continuously for over 60 years and still has the same booths, dance floor, and much of the original stage that was there in the '50s." Huckabee, who plays guitar for his band Capitol Offense, has plans to be part of the Surf's history.
"After we prove our mettle in the straw poll," he says, "we'll need to keep working Iowa this fall for the caucuses and are going to rent out the Surf for a Capitol Offense concert and campaign event." Huckabee has already talked to the owner and "got the ball rolling." He adds, "One of my new goals is to play the Surf...it will be an event worth driving or flying to Iowa for!"
Don't count on any Buddy Holly songs, although the band knows how to play them. "We have played some Buddy Holly songs before, but playing them there is probably not something we'd do," Huckabee says. "We'd play the kind of things that he influenced."
And, oh, about his chances of besting poll-leading Mitt Romney in the straw poll, Huckabee tells our Suzi Parker that he has a trick up his sleeve. The former Arkansas guv is hauling up some of his state's famous watermelons for poll attendees. Naturally, they are from Hope, home of the world's largest melon.