Today is Visitor Count:
The DanZman's a living, local, oldies-lovin' legend
BY MARY GRUNER Daily Herald Correspondent (Aug. 28, 2000)
He's the man beside the stage, dancing to the music, living in a world of rhythm. The bands know him. Outdoor concert-goers love him. He's the only fan with his own fans.
Harrison P. Bertram may be his given name, but everyone calls him the DanZman.
Joe Cantafio, producer of Schaumburg's Septemberfest 2000 and leader of oldies band Joe Cantafio and Jade is looking forward to the DanZman being on hand for the Fest on Labor Day weekend. Joe is actually the one who gave the DanZman his name.
In 1989, when he saw Bertram dancing at one of his concerts, Joe dubbed him "the Danceman with the matching socks." The name stuck, with the exception that Bertram changed the "ce" to "z" - for zany.
The DanZman might call himself zany, but, as Joe says, "He's probably one of the most fun guys I have ever met. He's like Mr. Health. 'I don't do drugs, I don't drink' is on his shirt."
At a Barrington Langendorf Park concert on Aug. 10, oldies singer Ronnie Rice called attention to the DanZman from the stage, as do so many other singers and bandmembers.
Ronnie said of the DanZman: "He's like Chickenman. He's everywhere. He's a very nice guy, and everybody seems to love him."
Now a Schaumburg resident, the DanZman says his interest in '50s and '60s music and dancing began when he was a child growing up in rural Ohio. There, he, his mother and twin sisters survived on welfare.
"I found an escape and real release in rock 'n' roll," he said. "There were no local rock stations, so I would have to wait until late evening to hear Dick Biondi from WLS Chicagoæ...æI would watch 'American Bandstand' to get the latest moves."
The DanZman joined the Navy in 1966. He was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base, where he received an electronics education. Since he was close to Chicago, the DanZman again was able to listen to Biondi on WLS.
Biondi, now a disc jockey at WJMK 104.3-FM, often talks about the DanZman on the air. At the Lambs Farm concert in Libertyville earlier this summer, Biondi presented the DanZman with a special shirt for his 54th birthday.
Arlington Heights Frontier Days, Northbrook Days and St. Zachary's August Fest in Des Plaines are but a few of the other festivals at which the DanZman has appeared this year.
The DanZman has a full-time position as a computer specialist, but he employs a lot of time for his social life.
"This is my life, and I really live it," he said. "Most weeks, from May 15 to Oct. 15, I am out dancing every night - except Monday night, since no towns have anything going Monday."
Even the DanZman sometimes has trouble sorting out where he'll be.
"That's why I have a Web site, so I can keep track," he said.
The DanZman's Internet site is a mecca for Chicago-area concert lovers. His Fest Finder lists the dates for area concerts and the locations and performers, as well as links to festival and artist sites.
An extensive alphabetical Bands Section offers photographs and band schedules.
Then there's the DanZman's Photo Section. There, you can find photographs of him and his favorite bands at various festivals.
To check out the DanZman's Web site, go to www.geocities.com/thedanzman/.
To see the DanZman in person, watch for him danzing in front of the stage at Schaumburg's Septemberfest 2000. The event will be held from Sept. 2 to 4 at the village of Schaumburg's Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center, 101 Schaumburg Court, intersection of Schaumburg Road at Summit Drive.