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Oklahoma City rock 'n'roll singer dies

An Oklahoma City-based rock and roll singer has died. Basile Kolliopoulos, who fronted The Fortune Tellers, died Monday.
by Robert Medley Modified: January 31, 2013 at 4:54 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

In the late 1970s, Basile Kolliopoulos moved from Greece to study art at Oklahoma City University and pursue a rock 'n' roll career in America. For three decades he was known at clubs like The Bowery, The Velvet Underground, Blue Note and VZD's in Oklahoma City.

Once during a show at the Samurai Club on N May Avenue in 1985, Basile Kolliopoulos told an Oklahoman reporter what it was like growing up in Greece as a rocker who liked the Rolling Stones.

He said he aligned himself with the bad boys of rock when he was growing up.

The clash was raging in his youth between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He was one of the “teddy boys,” who was into the Americanized rhythm and blues sounds.

“It was a split camp, man: the Beatles gang vs. the Stones gang,” Kolliopoulos said. “The Beatles were nicer: they shook hands, they wore ties ... and they didn't get busted,” Kolliopoulos said.

Goetz said Fortune Tellers live shows gained a regional following.

John Manson, singer of the Oklahoma City band Billy Joe Winghead, was the doorman at The Bowery at NW 10 and Walker Boulevard when he met Kolliopoulos and the Fortune Tellers in the early 1980s.

The band members wore sharkskin suits and walked in with creepers shoes, Manson recalls.

“They looked like Mink DeVille and sounded like Dr. Feelgood,” Manson said. “They played a blues, slash, pub rock with a punk rock attitude. It was obvious when they took the stage you knew who the cool guys were.”

In 1992, Kolliopoulos released “El Greco,” true to his Bo Diddley beat influence but with his own Greek accent and style.

Oklahoma City disc jockey Jon Mooneyham's career has paralleled Kolliopoulos on the local music scene since the 1970s. Mooneyham said Basile Kolliopoulos did more than embrace the roots of rock during his career in Oklahoma City. He was also known for his artwork.

“He was a multifaceted diamond,” Mooneyham said.

He is survived by wife Heather and his son Miles, 22, both of Oklahoma City.

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by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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