AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID WALENGA
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Who is David Walenga?
DAVID WALENGA: The luckiest man in the world!! Adopted as a baby - Christian man who has been married 45 years with two children and 6 grandchildren. A founding member of The Sixth Generation and a 2011 Inductee in the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. Lived in Niles, Mi which provided a fantastic Midwest/Small Town childhood.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: How did you begin your journey with music?
DAVID WALENGA: Probably in the 5th grade. The elementary school was starting a band program. Even at that age I wanted to be a drummer, however the instrument
salesperson who came to the house didn’t sell drums but did sell trumpets; so that’s where I started. High School brought a change to the Baritone which I consider a counter-melody instrument. Playing off the lead or melody, this added to my desire to be more rhythmic (drums) and gave me a great working knowledge of harmonies which I still use today.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Any special memory from your childhood which was involved in your dream of becoming a musician?
DAVID WALENGA: February 9, 1964, sitting in front of that little black and white screen on my neighbor’s floor, The Beatles took to the Ed Sullivan stage and changed music forever. I was already a musician but that night all I wanted to do was to start a band and make music. Starting in 1964, a few friends did start a band, learned a few
songs and performed at our first dance (and made $5 each). That night convinced me that being a part of a band and making music was what I wanted to do for as long as I could.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What does the word “artist” mean to you?
DAVID WALENGA: Creative and hardworking.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: If you could choose again, would you want to become an artist, or would you choose another profession?
DAVID WALENGA: I was a full time “artist”, however high school and college was my profession. When The Sixth Generation 2.0 came about in 2011, I was still working as a professional salesperson.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What are your plans for the future?
DAVID WALENGA: Being the BEST Pop to my grandkids, keeping involved in music, and traveling.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What are you currently working on?
DAVID WALENGA: Song writing... I love the process of putting lyrics together and I am collaborating with a good friend and great musician to bring our first song to the studio in June.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Favorite food?
DAVID WALENGA: Homemade.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Biggest dream?
DAVID WALENGA: 1. Wake Up DAILY!!!!!
Seriously, I’ve lived the musical dream twice. Starting in 1966-1970 The Sixth Generation allowed me (us) to be the opening act for some of America's biggest bands, go to Chicago Sound Studios and record our first regional hit This is the Time, play in front of thousands of kids (some crowds you could count on your hands and others were 1,000+) in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
After a 40 year break The Sixth Generation in 2011 -2017 started back where we had left off, with the original members and making better music than ever. Not being together for that length of time allowed each to bring something new to the band and we were grateful for the second chance most people don’t have.
TSG 2.0 became members of the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of fame, had June 22nd, 2013 proclaimed The Sixth Generation Day in our hometown Niles, Mi., played two Memorial Day shows at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and played a 4th of July show where the attendance was estimated to be over 10,000.
The largest thrill however was playing a show at the World-Famous Cavern Club during our 2013 tour of the Liverpool, UK area.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Your favorite artist?
DAVID WALENGA: Tower of Power and the Neville Brothers
ARTIST’S HOUSE: One person you would love to share the stage with?
DAVID WALENGA: I would love to sit around a campfire with my wife and friends with James Taylor and sing till dawn.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What would you like to share with your fans?
DAVID WALENGA: Good music and life long memories. Our fans, the Generators, have made this journey memorable. I can’t express how much they mean to me…I will never forget them.