Eric von Radics guitarist, songwriter and owner of Musichead in Medford will warm up the crowd Tuesday when Chicago plays the Britt Festivals. pennell photo - Bob Pennell

Local musician opens for Chicago at Britt

Eric von Radics played gigs around the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and '80s, including opening for some fairly well-known bands of the day. On Tuesday and Wednesday at the Britt Festivals in Jacksonville, the guitarist will open for rock legends Chicago, making him perhaps one of the slowest-rising rock stars on record.

"I'd been talking to Mike Sturgill (who books acts for Britt) about doing something for a long time," says von Radics, of Medford. "I'd about given up on this year, then he called me with this Wednesday.

"Then there were the pins and needles of waiting to be approved by Chicago's people."

The legendary group's contract gives it the power to approve or nix opening acts. They checked out von Radics' music and approved.

"I couldn't decide if I was more nervous about it happening or not happening," the guitarist says.

He'll play a solo, 30-minute set of original tunes accompanying himself on electric guitar starting at 7:30 p.m. both nights. He describes the music as rootsy Americana.

Von Radics has owned an operated Musichead, an independent music store on Riverside Avenue in Medford, for the past 15 years. Before that he was in such California bands as Virgin Release, Marshal Fields, Carnival Law and Buzzard Song. The latter had von Radics' brother on drums and Grammy-winner Jeff Tweedy writing songs.

"I played with Chris Isaak and some other bands that were big then and disappeared," he says.

He played with Devil Makes Three recently.

His self-produced album "Buzzard Song," which he released earlier this year, is available at He says the songs are tales of people coming to some kind of personal realizations.

"I will be spending a lot of time in my studio the next few days," he says.

He says coming up with 30 minutes of original material is not a problem.

"I did a solo show last weekend at Johnny B's," he says. "So I'm pretty much ready.

"I see it as both an opportunity and pressure. I'm really grateful for the opportunity."

Reach reporter Bill Varble at 776-4478 or

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