[Edited October 14 - Addition of the band El Camino Real (Ronnie Desiderio, Brian Luckey, Brian Moritz, Dan Trunk, MH) to the thank-you list of performers at the Stephen Talkhouse 9/16 benefit. The band was a very late addition to the show, and didn't make either the poster or the Facebook invite, which is what was being used for proofreading checks. Many apologies, guys!]
Never before have I used the phrase "Thank You", and had it mean so much.
They say that when a life-challenging event occurs, "you find out who your friends are". This summer, I found out who my friends' FRIENDS are... and made a good number of new ones in the process. My family also discovered a musical second cousin we didn't know we had... Paul Schmitz, which could take up a whole 'nother blog post, and maybe it will.
Speaking of blog, I'm glad that edits can be made to it - I'm convinced I'm going to leave somebody out in this post. If you are aware of any glaring omissions, let me know. I'll cover a lot of often-forgotten people right away, by thanking the men and women in the ranks of the Suffolk County Police Department, Patchogue Ambulance Crew, and the Brookhaven Memorial Hospital... who saved me, in the middle of the night. There's at least one more thank-you that will wait to go out... until after the criminal case is finished.
It's hard to measure the awesome power and immediate effect of waking up in the emergency room surrounded by an ever-growing crowd of loved ones. This helped me in an immense way, and folks, your showing at the hospital grew so intense that police decided to institute control measures in the lobby to prevent the situation from turning into an even bigger circus. We actually needed crowd control.
It wasn't long before the phone / internet chain got out the word truly far and wide, and soon after, while I was still in a hospital bed, cards and letters started coming in, people visited with things I'd need in hospital, and folks were conjuring up benefit events to help pay anticipated medical bills. My friends really made things happen, and much of it they made it happen with music, and the music community. My family of course, were superstars, handling everything that came their way, at all times. And that includes mom and dad hosting my month-long recuperation at their house. Thank you!
The many who came to my side, literally and figuratively, are lumped into one gigantic group of wonderful people in my mind. But, for the sake of organization and in the name of being complete, thank-you's detailed here will go out according to benefit event. Keep in mind that some folks pitched in on more than one benefit event.
Friday Sept 16 2011
Benefit @ Stephen Talkhouse
Peter Honercamp and Nick Kraus of the Stephen Talkhouse offered everything, paving the way for the incredible night that was to take place there 9/16/11.
Laura Perotti took charge, enlisting Cynthia Daniels to host (Cynthia also kindly recorded the evening with her mobile rig), Randolph Hudson lll to be musical director, and Tim Bando and Tim Conners of The Meeting House Restaurant to provide food for the musicians before the show. Mike Mazzaraco handled the technical requirements of the ever-changing stream of artists on stage (playing some bass as well).
Laura arranged for Tropical Mixmaster Mike Versandi (of Big Kahuna Creative) to design event posters (he already had the T-Shirt in motion), and she not only wrote, but distributed press releases to the media, including Ken Gustino of the Montauk Pioneer, who ran a full-page advert, gratis. Laura also secured radio appearances with our wonderful friends at WPPB 88.3FM, WEHM 92.9 and 96.9FM, WPKN 89.5FM and the late WEER 88.7FM for many of the performing musicians (and yours truly), certainly helping affect a large turnout at the show, and arranged for photographers Krisitina Gale and Abby Rose to officially document the evening.
John Hanford engaged a virtual money-raiser over the internet, while Crossroads Music kingpin Michael Clark not only spread the word amongst musicians and customers, but put a gigantic smile on my face and "tear in my beer" with just a ukelele.
The dizzying array of performers included El Camino Real (Ronnie Desiderio, Brian Luckey, Brian Moritz, Dan Trunk, Me) James Benard, Chris Butler (of The Waitresses and of Tin Huey), Gene Casey and The Lone Sharks (Chris Ripley, Paul Scher, Tom Hopkins), Sarah Conway, Joe Delia and The Thieves, Caroline Doctorow and The Steamrollers (including Andrew Carillo and Gary Oleyar), Inda Eaton (joined by Mama Lee, Chris Mehos, Tom Ryan at one point), John Hanford, Randolph A. Hudson III, Tali "Icepack" Jackson, Jettykoon (Tom Muse, Abby Levin, Bill Lucey), Anthony Liberatore, Matty Liot, Michael Mazz, Alfredo Merat, Walter Noller, Dalton Portella, Jim Turner, and Michael Weiskopf.
Friday Sept 16 2011
The Hangdogs @ The Rodeo Bar, NYC
Matthew Grimm, J.C. Chmiel, Rob Gottstein, Automatic Slim, and Dave Stengel staged their own "pass the hat" benefit for the "Mick Hargreaves Cranium Repair Fund", simultaneous with the Stephen Talkhouse event that night. Thanks, guys! A planned stage-to-stage cell phone hook-up did not happen, but the hat WAS filled. Original drummer Keven Baier sent kind regards from Washington State, where he recently moved. We may be seeing him over the 2011 holidays though. Stay tuned.
Sunday Sept 18 2011
Benefit @ Greenlawn Moose Lodge
My close friends in and around the New York Roots Music Association and Saturday Night Social Club (NYRMA) circled the wagons immediately after hearing the news, and got right to work spreading the word, putting together an afternoon/evening of music. There's so much talent in them there hills that it was certainly tough deciding on a final musical lineup. Time/length of event changes forced the original bill to be trimmed back a bit, but the end result was still spectacular, with The Butcher's Blind, Lost Hombres, The Dixie Bee-Liners, The Hangdogs, The NYRMA All-Stars and Los Blaggards crankin' it up all day and into the evening.
MC's Joe Rock (helped by Rich Wisneski) presided over the festivities. Gary Dawson coordinated the backline, and many musicians graciously allowed their equipment to be used for the day. Don Nostrand donated his time and services with the PA system, and Tom and Heidy Ryan (of course) hosted rehearsals for the NYRMA band at The Bunker. The poster was designed by Jeff McLary.
Paul Schmitz, Sue Rassekh, Rich Wisneski, Davidson Electronics, Steve Prisco, Peggy English, Claudia Jacobs, LaScala Restaurant, and Eric Crugnale brought incredible raffle prizes, while photographers Ken Farrell and Tom Pfeifer are donating their work to the cause. Maroni Cusine provided some incredible meatballs, and Heidy Ryan, Patty McLary, Lizz Prisco, Annie Mark and Eunice Dawson did what needed to be done. Phil Tully lent a big hand, and Ms. Tully brought big trays of salad.
Musical performers included Butcher’s Blind (Pete Mancini - Guitar, Vocals; Brian Reilly - Electric Bass Guitar; Paul Cianciaruso - Drums, Vocals; Joe Sanders - Guitar, Towel), The Dixie Bee-Liners (Buddy Woodward and Brandi Hart with ), The Hangdogs (Matthew Grimm, J.C. Chmiel, Rob Gottstein, Automatic Slim, Dave Stengel, me), The Lost Hombres (Russ Seeger, Michael Meehan, Paul Schmitz, with special guests Tom Ryan and Chris James), Los Blaggards (Steve Prisco, Tom Ryan, Rich Umbach, me), and a special ”Best Of NYRMA” set by The NYRMA All-Stars which included Annie Mark, Chris James, Russ Seeger, Claudia Jacobs, Rich Wisneski, Terry Day, Eric Crugnale, Pete Crugnale, Jeff McClary, Mike Drance, Bobby Barca, Jenna Silverman, Dave Wise, Tom Ryan, Mike Bifulco, Steve Prisco, Howie Silverman, Rich Umbach, Ben Silverman.
Friday Sept 23 2011
Lone Sharks @ Grey Horse Tavern
Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks held yet another fundraisin' effort where you can "relax by the tracks", The Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport, NY. Irene and Linda run a grrrrrreat place, and I'm convinced everyone will like this establishment; GO. I would have been there for this event, but I had to leave town for a NJ wedding. Thanks, Gene, Chris, Paul, and Tony!
Cards and Letters
There's still something special about opening a letter delivered from near or far by the US Postal Service, and some of them came from far away, indeed. Thanks for sending them in, and I've got your address now, so... :)
While still in the ICU, I was totally unaware of the supportive efforts that were quickly evolving in the nearby outside world, that is, until my sister said, "You won't believe what's going on out there about this." The scale that the caring and concern would soon take on was unimaginable to me at the time. I am blessed.
The medical bills have come, of course, and as much coverage/assistance that can be obtained is being applied for. Funds that have been raised to date will make a HUGE dent in the bills. But the numbers get blown away by the awesome effect of family, friends, fans, and complete strangers showing up in support, whether in person, by phone, email, postings, cards, letters, or what have you.
It really has made a huge difference, folks. I'll never forget this, and I'll never forget you. Call me if you need me. Reach out. I'll be there. MH