Repost – Throwback Thursday – Skip Calls it a Day
I posted this tribute to Skip Prokop in June of 2016 as he stepped down from performing. Skip died this past week and I noticed some new comments on this post, so I thought I would share it with you again. Skip was a genuinely nice man whose talent was under-appreciated, I think. He will be missed.
The name Skip Prokop has been part of my consciousness since I started choosing my own music to listen to. The founder of Lighthouse and Canadian rock icon has come in and out of my life over the years, although I doubt he’d recall my name if I saw him this week. In other words, his brief cameos in my life have been much more memorable than mine in his. Skip recently announced his retirement from performing. His son, Jamie, has been behind the drum kit for Lighthouse since 2014, but now it’s official. Jamie is also working on his Dad’s biography. Skip suffers from a long list of health problems including diabetes, heart issues – including surgery and having to be revived twice following major heart attacks – recovery from alcohol abuse and other fallout from a hard rock life.
Lighthouse formed in 1968 and were together on and off over the years. Their most famous decision and Skip’s biggest regret is turning down a request to play the original Woodstock. Their manager didn’t think it would be a “thing”. They did perform at the legendary Isle of Wight festival the following year and tied with Jimi Hendrix as fan favourites.
In the late 1980’s, Skip applied for the midday host’s job at FM102 in Wingham. When I became Program Director I practically begged my General Manager to let me hire him. “He doesn’t sound polished.” Doesn’t sound polished? He’s Skip friggin’ Prokop! He had a wealth of connections to music and tales no one else could tell in the first person. Having to pass him up was the “missing Woodstock” of my time as manager of that radio station.
For a long while, Skip sold radio for the cluster of stations where I now work, so he was always out and about in London. Seven summers ago – can it really be that long? – Lighthouse was on the bill for Rock the Park, presented by my then-radio station 1039FM. Leigh Robert and I interviewed Skip live on air from Harris Park before he drummed and sang his heart out like it was 1970. He’s the nicest guy and tells the best road stories you’ll ever hear. The publishing date of his book is TBA but you can bet I’ll be one of the first to buy it.