Live Music Might Be Silenced At Janesville Bar

Warrants: Stolen property, drugs, gun recovered in Sparta

A Janesville bar owner said his venue is being targeted because of the music it plays, but local police argue the fate of the live music venue comes down to public safety.

For decades, the Back Bar has been host to thousands of local and national acts, but last month after a hip-hop concert, someone fired shots in the bar?s parking lot. Whether the bar can continue to have live music now lies in the hand of the Janesville City Council.

“It?s a live music venue. You have to have live music,” said Back Bar owner Bob Kerman.

Recently, the bar has booked acts including Quiet Riot and Tracii Guns, the original guitarist for Guns N? Roses, said Kerman. About once or twice a month, he said he will book a hip-hop act.

Janesville Deputy Police Chief Dan Davis said some acts, mostly hip-hop, tend to generate trouble. While there?s not much trouble, the trouble the local police see causes great concern, said Davis.

“Far more than any other genre of music, we end up with fights and shots fired at that genre of music at those venues, than any other,” Davis said.

The future of hip-hop music at the bar remains up in the air.

“We can wind down the hip-hop to once a month, but I really don?t think that?s the issue,” Kerman said. “I think this was a single, isolated incident.”

Kerman is taking steps to increase the safety at his bar by installing 16 new cameras outside the building, and doing more research on the bands they book. Kerman said he has 120 bands booked in the next four months. Less than a handful are hip-hop acts.

“Any time there?s a shot fired, there?s major concern,” Kerman said. “Something has to be done, and to do nothing is the worst thing you can do.”

The four-month sanction still needs to be voted on by the Janesville City Council. It is expected to vote after a recommendation from Janesville?s Alcohol and Licensing Committee.