Cancellation: Schneider on Monday said he would have to cancel the appearance in Elkhart following a death in his family but said he hoped to reschedule the event soon.
ELKHART — John Schneider, who starred as Bo Duke in the hit CBS comedy “The Dukes of Hazzard,” is scheduled to perform in Elkhart next week.
The actor-singer is scheduled to perform at the Five Star Dive Bar in downtown Elkhart with special guests Cody McCarver and Paul Erdman.
Schneider entered the music industry during his “Dukes of Hazzard” days in the early 1980s and has garnered more than 20 albums, a greatest-hits package, and 18 singles to his credit.
His show in Elkhart will include his new single, “Cowboys Don’t Get Old,” which is featured on his latest album “Stand On It.” He said he will also be performing newer music from his southern rock-inspired album “Redneck Rebel” and “The Odyssey Project,” as well as his classics, which include “Country Girls,” “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know,” “You’re the “Last Thing I Needed Tonight” from his heyday.
Although he has no ties to the area, Schneider said he’s visited Elkhart many times since his career launched in the late 1970s.
“I have been coming through Elkhart since I started ‘Dukes,’” he said during a phone interview Thursday.
“I love the area and I love the name of the ‘Five Star Dive Bar.’ My band’s name is ‘Stars & Bars,’ so I think we’re going to fit right in.”
A New York state native, Schneider, 60, said he had his sights set on entering the entertainment business since he was 8. Determined to reach that goal, Schneider began taking steps to get there by doing musical theater in elementary, middle school and high school.
“I was the kid who went to the movies as much as I could, always on Saturday, and when I looked at the screen and saw those guys, I said, ‘That’s where I’m supposed to be,’” he said. “For more than 50 years, I have been focused on nothing but entertainment and getting my unusual perspective of storytelling on the big screen.”
At age 17, he landed what would become an iconic TV role in “The Dukes of Hazzard,” after winning the part of Beauregard “Bo” Duke.
He has since gone on to appear in more than 70 TV programs, as well as 42 movies. He was also a contestant on the 2018 season of “Dancing with the Stars,” and currently plays the role of Jim Cryer in Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.”
With a career now spanning over four decades, Schneider said he still has not escaped from fans calling him Bo and is far from disappointed about that. He said he’s proud that the show has resonated with several generations of families throughout the years.
“The show was relatable,” he said. “I bet if you go 2 miles from the ‘Five Star Dive Bar’ that it looks like an episode off of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ It’s still mailboxes at the end of the gravel driveway, there are still dirt roads off the paved roads and it’s an area where communities realize that they depend upon people to get through life.”
The 1979 hit show has faced some controversy over the Confederate flag that was painted on the roof of the Dukes’ orange 1969 Dodge Charger, which they named General Lee after Confederate Gen. Robert Lee.
After the June 2015 fatal church shooting of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, efforts to remove the flag have soared, which has also reeled in a debate about whether the Rebel flag should be removed from General Lee.
But Schneider’s response, “Absolutely not.” He said he believes the show has been the victim of collateral damage and revisionist history.
“Taking the flag off the car would indicate that I felt that we had some sort of malice intended when we put it on there in the first place, which we did not,” he said. “That flag has never had anything to do with racism. It’s rebelling against an oppressive society. I believe that’s why Lynyrd Skynyrd used it, and I believe that’s why Charlie Daniels used it and the Rolling Stones and I know that’s why we used it for “The Dukes of Hazzard.’”
The journey to success hasn’t been easy, but one that Schneider said has helped shape him into a stronger and more confident actor and performer.
“I think ‘The Haves and the Have Nots’ has done that for me,” he said. “I have no compunction about trying anything that comes to mind. My acting theory is if you can have a bunch of folks say, 'I’d like to do that again, it wasn’t very good,’ then I say, ‘Well, you’re probably right.’ If you can remember what you did on the camera or in front of the stage critically then it couldn’t have been that good because you were more worried about what you were doing than doing it. When you’re acting you have to be totally in the moment and unaware that you’re acting.”
Advice for maintaining longevity? “Keep pushing your goal away,” he said.
“When I fall to the ground dead, I’m going to fall active and smiling because I love every second of what I do or I don’t do it and I don’t think anyone should,” he said.
“I think the worst thing we can do is be part of a TGIF crowd who doesn’t like what they do because what kind of life can that be and how good can you be at that craft if you don’t enjoy it?”
And the actor/musician is not slowing down. His music from his latest album is featured in a new movie he wrote and directed, which is also called “Stand On It.” His wife, Alicia Allain, was the producer. It will be released in the middle of November, he said.
The film is a tribute to “Smokey and the Bandit.” Schneider and Burt Reynolds were good friends, and he appeared in the 1977 film for about 3 seconds.
“I’m excited for people to see it,” he said. “It’s a 95-minute film that I believe people will enjoy.”
Jason Curtis, the owner of the Five Star Dive Bar, said he’s excited to have Schneider perform at the local bar and grill and believes he will put on a good show.
“I’m a huge fan of Bo Duke,” Curtis said. “I grew up watching ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ and the fact that the actor who played him will soon be performing here in Elkhart will be exciting for many.”
General admission for the concert is $40 and $150 for the VIP package. The VIP package includes a meet-and-greet with Schneider before the show, a private performance where he’ll perform a couple of songs on acoustic guitar in the bar’s lower level comedy stage.
The VIP segment will start at 6 p.m. Oct. 24, and the concert will start about an hour later.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit fivestardivebar.info.