Honoring His Home Country: The Romantics’ Wally Palmar supports Ukraine efforts

BY Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

As the lead singer of the power-pop band The Romantics, Wally Palmar ran into former Detroit hero Alice Cooper plenty of times. 

When the two were playing a St. Jude’s benefit in Palm Springs, they hatched a plan for Palmar to play Cooper’s annual Christmas Pudding show at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at the Celebrity Theatre.

“I’m not going to turn Alice down. I’m not that crazy,” says Palmar, whose band scored hits like “Talking in Your Sleep” and “What I Like About You.”

He’ll be joined by Sammy Hagar, Rob Zombie, Gin Blossoms, SIXWIRE and comedian Jim Breuer. Proceeds benefit Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers.

“He’s such a wonderful fella,” Palmar says. “At this point, I’ll do whatever I can do to help. The last five or six years, I find myself doing different events, charity events or shows like that. I love doing them. It gives me a chance to break away from the norm of what I’ve been doing over the last 40 years.”

Palmar was born Volodymyr Palamarchuk in Hamtramck, Michigan, to Ukrainian immigrant parents in 1954. He and his friends formed the Romantics in 1977 and scored their first record deal two years later. 

Recently, Palmar and a friend from Toronto, Jack DeKeyzer, released the song “No War,” an ode to the suffering of the Ukrainians after the Russian invasion. 

“I’m Ukrainian/American,” he says. “I’m very fluent in the language. I can read and write it. He had an idea for a song, and he wanted someone on the harmonica. I told him I could throw something in there for you.

“I did the harp and we started talking about filling out the rest of the song. I came up with the chorus. The song is in English, but the chorus is sung in Ukrainian.”

Palmar visited Ukraine with his mother the year following his father’s death. 

“I had a fantastic time there,” Palmar says. “I was there once again when I was touring with Ringo Starr in 2011. We played in Kiev. It’s such a great city. It’s such a shame to see what’s gone on there since then. My heart and head were in this 100% to get this done. I think it came out pretty damn good.”

Christmas Pudding

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, December 3

WHERE: Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix

COST: Sold out

INFO: celebritytheatre.com