Some friends of mine have been putting on a big rock show annually for the last few years, under the name Wild Honey, as a benefit for the Autism Think Tank . These are “tribute” shows, wherein local musicians and people who know, or in a couple cases were in, an old band gather on a stage to play the band’s songs.
Wild Honey has done a couple shows each of Fabs and Beach Boys albums, fan-favorite Big Star (with Jody Stephens playing in the band), last year they did the Band with Garth Hudson playing, and this year the lucky target was Buffalo Springfield, with Richie Furay playing quite a bit. Generally, these nights are for the obsessive pop audience in town, and for a large pack of musicians to get a chance to be around each other.
But I’ve only been to one show (“The White Album”) and have never had an interest in playing in one — until this year. What got me out of the house?
Claudia Lennear — former Ikette, former Shelter Person (Leon Russell’s early band), allegedly the reason for the song “Brown Sugar” (and featured in “20 Feet from Stardom”). It was a chance to play with her. Any song she wanted to do, I was in.
The rehearsals were long, and they were noisy, but come time for the show, at least what I saw side-stage, it was a pretty good show — especially the 2nd half; the overall energy was more up (and the first half was plagued with tech problems, I’m told). Your host for the evening, music journalist Chris Morris, pulled me aside for a moment to rave.
There were 3 rehearsals: the first, just the band (stand-ins sang the lead parts) and the second two with Claudia. Aside from the long hours and all the waiting around, it was a lot of fun.
Here’s the set-list from the evening:
Some of these folks you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. Some were good, some great, and all were sincere as hell.
When our turn came— for me, having never played on the stage and trapped behind a low wall of amps, things weren’t all that great. I enjoyed the rehearsals more. Other than the drums, and despite our volume, things sounded swimmy and vague.
But we soldiered on. My usual complaint about the immenseness of the stage applies here too — but this time, it’s understandable. When, two songs later, everybody involved paraded out onto the stage to sing behind Furay and Mickey Dolenz on “For What It’s Worth”, we filled the stage to the wings:
What’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”