Benefit for Starship Guitarist Slick Aguilar a ‘Miracle’

Slick Aguilar Rich Hoynes
Photo by Rich Hoynes

Music Lovers and Artists, Enjoy Great Jersey Musicians Night

By RICH HOYNES 

About four years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve and Lori Silverman at their beach party on the Navesink River in Monmouth Beach, N.J.

Silverman, a successful North Jersey real estate developer, hosts the most amazing summer party with a variety of world class artists like America; Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes; Don Felder from the Eagles; Lou Gramm from Foreigner; Max Weinberg; and Jefferson Starship.  On a side note, Silverman is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and has been trying to encourage Bruce to drop in to his summer party for several years.

Slick Aguilar
Photos by Rich Hoynes

I was invited to the party by Anthony Cioffi and Rennie Pinkus.   Anthony is the owner of Boulevard Pro, a top shelf sound, stage and lighting company based in Northern New Jersey that handles big name artists across the US.

Rennie is an accomplished music promoter.  I was speaking with Anthony and Rennie about helping  with BEDSTOCK, a music festival fundraiser I was producing to help five schools for children with autism in Bedminster, N.J., and they asked Silverman if he wouldn’t mind me dropping by his party to see them in action.

Well I learned that Silverman and I have a similar passion for healing the planet so Silverman and I became fast friends, an easy thing to do if you know him.  Every year, Silverman picks a different charity and beach party guests are invited to make a donation.

Slick Aguilar, guitarist for Jefferson Starship, met Silverman while playing his beach party several years ago.  They became fast friends.  Little did Slick know how this meeting would change his life.

Slick had a liver transplant last year and incurred over $1 million in medical bills, and his medication costs more than $1,000 a day.   Silverman wanted to help.

So from the invite of Anthony and Rennie, to Steve and Lori’s party, destiny happened.  I had the pleasure of working with Steve to help him with a fundraiser at New Jersey Performing Arts Center with long time friends of Slick, Lou Gramm of Foreigner, and Marty Balin of Jefferson Starship.

Lou Gramm by Rich Hoynes
Lou Gramm
Photo by Rich Hoynes

As the event arrived, we were worried that we might not sell enough tickets to make a profit.  I suggested that with what is was costing him to produce the show and to pay the artists, he might be better off writing Slick a check.

Silverman responded without a second thought:  “I made a commitment to do the show and I need to meet my word. If we don’t make enough, I’ll write him a check anyway.”   Honor and integrity are alive and well in Monmouth, N.J.  This is why Steve and I are friends.

It was an awesome night of music for a great cause. I invited some of my friends to play with Lou and Marty, talented local Jersey artists.  Tommy Labella and Michael Ghegan, two of my favorite Jersey sax players lit up the stage, and singers Jillian Rhys McCoy and Pam McCoy backed up Lou on vocals with scintillating harmonies. When I asked Slick about inviting Pam McCoy to sing, Slick said he had performed with Pam many years ago and was delighted to reconnect with her.

Rehearsal was set for 3:30 P.M..  The show went on at 8 P.M.   Lou Gramm’s flight from Rochester was cancelled so he had to drive five hours and just made the show with 30 minutes to spare, so no rehearsal.  He came in, sat down for a quick well-deserved meal and the show went on without a hitch.  Silverman got to play on stage with the band.  This Renaissance man is a good guitar player himself.

Gramm stayed, signing autographs for his fans, until the last person left.  I’ve now got a guitar signed by Lou Gramm, Marty Balin, and Slick Aguilar, a treasure.

We almost sold out NJPAC and made a profit.  The music was awesome.  Silverman was pleased, though I’m not sure he has the stomach for producing another concert.  It looks easier than it is.  Lou and Marty gave world-class performances.  Ghegan rocked the house on sax playing “Urgent” with Gramm.  Pam and Slick got to perform together once more.  Slick was emotional when Silverman gave him the proceeds.

Slick Aguilar Lou Gramm Rich Hoynes
Performers join together for Slick Aguilar
Photos by Rich Hoynes

All in all, a great night.

With so many fundraisers, you don’t know how much of the money actually goes to the people that need the help.  But this one was a true winner.

“I had doctors who saved my life, friends who help me. There is a God, and he has blessed me. I’ve been very, very lucky.” – Slick Aguilar 

Rich Hoynes is an editor at East Coast Rocker.  His book, Great Jersey Music, is a top-seller on Amazon.com.