I've been invited for several years to be a part of a benefit show that promotes and supports a group called Right-Turn, based in Arlington, MA, which serves artists and musicians and other creative people in their recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. They give folks a place to go, a place to perform informally and a place for community and support. My friend Judy Belushi Pisano, who was married to John Belushi, turned me on to them. I started out and continue to be involved as a memorial to our stellar brother Alex who died in 1992.
And, this is an amazing event! Last year the Super Group included our long time friend Chuck Leavell, who plays key boards these days with the Stones and had worked with Alex in the early 70's. He also played on many of the songs on "Beautiful Road". This year Chuck was unable to attend. Other members of the group who were there both years were Ricky Byrd (from Joan Jett's band), Chad Smith (drummer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Simon Kirk of Bad Company, Will Lee from the Late Night David Letterman band, 3 horn players, 3 background singers, a total of three drummers, 4 guitarists, etc etc etc! Last year's headliner was Chuck Berry.
This year's Super Group was as big (16 players on stage!) and as rocking. Ricky Byrd was the music director. The headliners were Ace Frehley from Kiss and Alice Cooper. No, neither of them wore their make-up! I thought I'd sing "Fool In Love" and Ricky suggested that I consider for my second song "That's How Strong My Love Is" by Otis Redding, which was a song I had not sung before. In the past, I had promised myself that in situations like this where there are so many unfamiliar variables, I wouldn't commit to singing a song that I hadn't performed before, but this one was too tempting not to try. You get to dig deep in it. So, off to Boston with my hope in my hands and the usual amount of anxiety. WOW!!! There were 21 songs total and a 6 hour rehearsal on Saturday and then the soundcheck on Sunday before the show. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" just about covers it. What a show to put together! I say Ricky Byrd is heroic.
Well, with a little help from my friends the night was musical magic. I got enough rock and roll to last for months. Well, actually it just fired up my engines and now I want more more more!
Alice and Ace were great, the show was sold out, and the crowd was on there feet the entire night. There was a young singer named Tim Pike who did a couple of numbers. Go see him if you get a chance. He is incredible. And James Montgomery was there and in his usual super fine form. What a showman! Ricky and Simon did a couple of their famous hits, each performer was turned on to their highest degree! And the battle of jazz blazed! It turns out that indeed that Otis tune was a very good choice for many reasons, not the least of which being that it gave the band and the audience a chance to quiet down for a second. And that was good. And then we raged on!
Long live Rock and Roll!
I am going to post pictures here as soon as I get some. I think Peter Simon got a few that include me and the Alice man. Alice is a sweetie by the way. And so are his fans.
It was sheer bliss working with that rhythm section of Will Lee, Chad Smith and Simon Kirk. with Woody Giessman on percussion.
Hey, a good time was had by all and Right-Turn made some dough, not a bad night!