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THANK HEAVENS FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL (and my year of birth)

Quiet Riot, WASP, and Steppenwolf’s legendary drummer Frankie Banali and I after one of his shows with Quiet Riot in the Fall of 2017.

In the past few years we’ve lost A LOT of legendary rock ‘n’ rollers. Malcolm Young, Tom Petty, Lemmy, Glenn Frey, Neil Peart, Eddie Van Halen, A.J. Pero, Chris Cornell, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman, Chester Bennington, John Wetton, J. Geils, Walter Becker, David Cassidy, Pat DiNizio, “Fast,” Eddie Clarke, Dave Holland, Jim Rodford, Pat Torpey, Craig McGregor, DJ Fontana, Vinnie Paul, Aretha Franklin, Marty Balin, Roy Clark, Eddie Money, Ric Ocasek, Peter Tork, Ginger Baker, Dick Dale, Dr. John, Hal Blaine, Bernie Torme, Leon Redbone, Roky Erickson, Ian Gibbons, Larry ” The Mole,” Taylor, Bill Withers, John Prine, Little Richard, Bob Kulick, Steve Priest, Paul “Tonka'” Chapman, Charlie Daniels, Peter Green, Wayen Fontana, Pete Way, Frankie Banali, Lee Kerslake, WS Holland, Mac Davis, Helen Reddy, Rocco Prestia.

The above list is a very partial list and it makes me think about a number of things. The initial reaction to each death as been varying degrees of sadness. From oh man that’s sad to hear to outright tearful rage, disbelief, grief,and tears of joy as I cranked their music as in the case of Eddie Van Halen and Neil Peart in 2020.

But as I reflect on the losses of some of my heroes I also realize how very lucky I’ve been to experience so many of them as they emerged from the primordial creative ooze of the seeds of rock and roll to take music to new levels of brilliance. Hearing RUSH’s “2112,” at the age of 11 courtesy of a neighboring teenager, or like so many of my generation the genre defining, mind-blowing, world changing sounds of “Eruption,” for the first time and it changing our lives forever.

Forever making our lives sweeter and so much more joyful. I just want to thank those beautiful, bold geniuses for sharing their souls with us. You gave so much of yourselves so that we could all enjoy our lives a little more and it has meant so, so much to me ever since I was a very little boy. My Mom used to tell stories of how I wanted to be a Beatle, in particular wanted to be like Ringo when I was only three years old. I even had a Beatle’s style haircut. I’d discovered them via the Saturday morning Beatles cartoon that ran from 1965-1969 and in Christmas 1970 I got my first drum kit. I remember being so excited that I began playing (beating the crap out of) immediately. What a racket that must have been for the rest of my family!

So. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for these wonderful, wondrous, mind-blowing, mind-altering, life-changing, life-affirming, glorious, glorious sounds. You are magical.

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