By Tracey Walker | Photo by Jim Baron
“Cleveland needs a Peacock to make a proud noise,” Axelrod, whose services include master of ceremonies, dynamic benefit live auctioneer, host envoy, product ambassador, and bus tour host, says. His slogan is “Making events sensational.”
As Ohio goes, so goes the presidential race, as they say, and the decision to host the RNC in Cleveland “thrills” Peacock, he says.
“It has nothing to do with political beliefs but more importantly with our civic self-esteem for properly hosting and staging world-class events under the eye of the global media theater and dominating the news cycle,” he says. “This is healthy production and the opportunity to showcase our vast and diverse civic and cultural assets. We are world class and need to believe in ourselves. Cleveland has got to cease being so conservative and start thinking globally.”
In order to keep the RNC-Cleveland party spirit alive, Peacock plans on participating in countdown events after the Fourth of July.
“That will be the mode and vibe of RNC reality,” he says. “It will be a global circus, so why not a zany political circus theme? How about an open mic, ‘I survived the RNC,’ event in late July, where guests share their wildest stories?”
In early 2000 Peacock hosted an RNC event in Cuyahoga County that was themed “Elections, It’s a Jungle Out There.” He turned loose live animals, including exotic birds, spiders, lizards, and snakes for an indoor jungle theme.
Independence City Councilman Jim Trakas, who served as a county Republican chairman in Cuyahoga County at the time, says the “RNC Committee better hold on to their elephants. [Peacock] will be part of the great hospitality Cleveland shows to the Republican party.”
Growing up in a large Cleveland Heights family, Peacock has lived in Bratenahl for 35 years and has spent most of his life in entertainment. “I am a total extrovert and enjoy people of all ages,” he says. “I enjoy being live on stage. It’s in my very DNA.” He not only performs on stage; he’s hosted events and performed nationwide in vintage underground bomb shelters, on a major bridge, in a closed funeral home, and in an old airliner hull.
For 34 years, he was a food and merchandise executive for a national company, for which he coordinated and trained groups of hundreds of volunteers on a weekly basis for major special events. After his retirement in 2013, he served for two years as the Grand Ambassador of Las Vegas events before returning to his native Cleveland.
Being a part of Cleveland’s rock-and-roll legacy, Peacock was a regional one-hit-wonder teen glam rocker in the early 1970s and had a regional top 10 single, “Rock City USA.” He now plays bass in a 1950s show band, “The Secret Styles of Rock Pioneers.”
The nickname “Peacock” developed naturally because of his civic pride, colorful comedic nature, and being the designer and owner of the largest custom-made, themed jacket collection, which includes jackets with lights, multiple arms, and even one that squirts water. “I confess that it is an obsession, but it delivers joy to humanity and important causes,” Peacock says.
His stage and event jackets get a lot of attention and he tailors them to reflect a variety of product themes and situations.
“My talented seamstresses are tasked with taking the fabrics and constructing the perfect superior quality jacket that always brings a smile to the audience,” he says. “How the audience reacts or what they whisper to one another makes no difference. It keeps them there and engaged, wondering what I will do next.”
Peacock recounts a time a few years ago at an event in Las Vegas with Sir Elton John. “He was amazed at my jacket choices for this fundraiser. He said that he may well be known as the ‘Rocket Man,’ but Peacock wins as the ‘Jacket Man.’”
Peacock’s advice for the RNC, as well as other events, is to actually approach it in reverse. What does that mean?
“Establish your reasons and goal, then identify your target invitees. Finally engage with professionals who align with your vision and have the resources and experience to deliver what you desire with quality and on budget,” he says. “It does not have to be stressful even in this noisy digital era. This is where genuine ‘people power’ makes a triumphant return. Keep it real and light-hearted. Impression derives from expression. Just don’t over plan and overproduce the event. Give guests space for social interaction. That’s when the magic of relationships and ideas happen.”