Are you ready to remember leisure suits, mood rings, gold chains, wide collars, go-go boots, bell-bottom jeans, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Carly Simon, Carol King, Jim Croce, Peter Frampton, the Eagles, Billy Joel, eight track tapes, Earth Day, Kent State, Battle of the Sexes, and Disney World?
Join area performers at a Tribute to the 1970s on Saturday, November 21, at the Grind Coffee House in Plainsboro. Singers include Jim Baxter of Plainsboro, Stu Laermer of West Windsor, Anker from Cranbury, Brandon Broderick of Hightstown, Peter Flannigan of Basking Ridge, and Wade Prestridge of Monroe.
“The audience will hear music from artists such as James Taylor, Paul Simon, Carol King, Jim Croce, Peter Frampton, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Blondie, and The Ramones to name a few,” says Baxter. No need for disco shoes or vintage clothing. “We’re just happy to have people come out to listen to the music. I myself tossed my platform shoes and Sasson jeans in the ’80s.”
Born in Brooklyn, Baxter was raised in Huntington, Long Island — the home of Harry Chapin, the late folk singer and founder of WHYHunger. “He was very generous and his goal was to eradicate hunger in the world,” says Baxter, who met Chapin when he was 17.
A graduate of St. John’s University, Baxter has an MBA from SUNY Albany, and works at a major telecommunications company. He has lived in Plainsboro for more than 10 years with his wife, Joanne. They have two daughters, one son, and several grandchildren.
An acoustic guitar player since his teen years, Baxter learned to play from friends and the Internet. He performs at the Grind several times a year and now runs the open mic nights and tribute nights. “I enjoy music and hanging out with people with similar interests,” he says.
A businessman by day and a musician at night, Stu Laermer of West Windsor taught himself to play the guitar starting at age 10. “I’ve been playing ever since,” he says. Laermer also accompanies himself on the harmonica and vocals. He enjoys playing covers that people remember, including Neil Young and Paul Simon.
Born in northern New Jersey, Laermer graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in chemistry. He also has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Columbia and an MBA from New York University.
His wife, Caryn, is a consultant with the Avoca Group, a pharmaceutical company. A graduate of Tufts University, she also received her MBA from NYU.
The family came to West Windsor in 1999 due to a business-related move. “It was good geographically for us and with three young children we wanted to take advantage of the good schools,” he told The News in 2012.
Laermer, a founder and former chief business officer for a publicly traded European-based biotechnology company, currently runs a consulting firm specializing in business development for the pharmaceutical industry. He is a member of the board of trustees of the West Windsor Arts Council.
Their adult children include Courtney, 20, who graduated from South in 2013 and is a junior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, majoring in biology and government. Emily, 26, graduated from South in 2007, received a degree from Northwestern University, and is an editor and reporter for Money-Media, a publication of the Financial Times. Matt, 29, graduated from South in 2004, received a degree from Tufts University, and is a vice president of direct private equity at AIG Investments.
“The tributes at the Grind are always a good time,” says Laermer. “Jim Baxter and company do a great job of producing the shows, the performers are top-notch, and the crowd has a wonderful time. As always, I look forward to playing at the ’70s tribute.”
Tribute to the ’70s, The Grind Coffee House and Cafe, 7 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro. Saturday, November 21, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Acoustic pop. 609-275-2919. plainsborogrindcoffeencafe.com.