East Coast Rocker

Putting You in the Front Row

MusiCares Tom Petty Tribute Raises More than $8 Million in Night of Heavenly Music Stars

Musical Pals of Tom Petty Come Out to Honor Him as MusiCares Person of the Year

By DONNA BALANCIA

Tom Petty and pals helped raise more than $8 million as the he was celebrated as the MusiCares Person of the Year.

Each year, the MusiCares tribute a highlight of GRAMMY week, as it raises money for health needs of musicians and honors a major artist.

Gary Clark Jr. performed with the Foo Fighters - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Gary Clark Jr. performed with the Foo Fighters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Red Carpet was packed with music stars ranging from Gary Clark Jr., to Jeff Lynne.

The night was dedicated to Petty with his songs performed  by veterans Don Henley Foo Fighters, Taj Mahal and George Strait as well as young bands The Head and The Heart, Cage The Elephant and The Lumineers.

The ladies did their part in honoring Petty as well with Lucinda Williams and Regina Spektor bringing some flash to the show.

Jackson Browne brought some emotions to the songs “The Waiting” and “Learning to Fly.”

Stevie Nicks sang a duet with Petty, their famous 1981 hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” as Petty said she was practically family.

Stevie Nicks called Tom Petty her BFFFF - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Stevie Nicks called Tom Petty her BFFFF – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Nicks told East Coast Rocker that Petty was her “BFFFFFFF” and how he penned at least one or two famous songs for her.

In accepting the honor, Petty recalled that Johnny Cash helped him, Mo Ostin rescued Petty’s song after MCA turned it down and he was the one to put out “Free Falling”

Petty said he was on his best behavior as his family was in the audience.

In a speech he made to the elegantly dressed audience of rock and roll fans, Petty recalled some stories of his mentors including Leon Russell and Johnny Cash.

He said Russell told him he had to “earn” the right to wear dark glasses at night.

“He said ‘s what the hell you doin with the dark glasses,'” Petty recalled.  “I don’t know it feels cool like Jimmy Keltner. He said, ‘Wearing sunglasses at night is an honor you earn. Lou adler had Johnny Rivers and the Mamas and Papas before he put them glasses on. Jack Nicholson made really shitty Boris Karloff movies before he put them glasses on. Well,” Petty said as he lifted his sunglasses to his face, “I’m putting my glasses on.”

Petty proudly wears sunglasses at night - Photo courtesy Libby Kaufman

Petty proudly wears sunglasses at night – Photo courtesy Libby Kaufman

Petty said he was fortunate enough to know the great Johnny Cash and loved his song “Big River.” He said young songwriters should listen to “Big River” about 60 times and “You’ll write something.”

Petty and the Heartbreakers made an album with Johnny Cash that won a GRAMMY for the best country record of the year “without being played once on a country station.”

“This morning I was looking through a box and a letter fell out, it was from John on my 50th birthday and it said Happy Birthday, you’re a good man to ride the river with.” That’s all I want to be is a good man to ride the river with and I’m gonna keep riding the river.”

 

NAMM Show in Anaheim: Musicians, Products and Business Converge

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Mike Campbell has a new signature model guitar  – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

New in 2016: Tech Tracks, Green Talk, Cool Products

By DONNA BALANCIA – Hot topics in news include going green and technology’s impact on our everyday lives. In the world of music, it’s no different as NAMM 2016 kicks off in Anaheim.

Many of the thousands of music merchants represented at the annual Anaheim trade show have an electronic element, a tech element or a green initiative to tout this year.

It may be the year of going green as many of the companies participating in NAMMShow 2016 have a few environmentally friendly tricks up their sleeves.

Familiar names Gibson, Yamaha, Sennheiser, Avid and others will be on hand demonstrating and showing new models to retailers across the country.

New this year is TEC Tracks, formerly known as the H.O.T. Zone, where education reigns supreme and attendees can pick the brains of leaders in business, music and tech.

Don Was - Photo by Gabi Porter

Don Was to be honored at TEC Awards – Photo by Gabi Porter

Daily keynotes feature legendary producers, including Eddie Kramer, who has worked with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin, and Tony Brown, whose credits include Steve Earle, Reba McEntire, Lyle Lovett, George Strait—and the list goes on.

There will be future-forward sessions in such areas as game, Internet and app audio, as well as the future of the industry as it relates to the latest technologies and breakthroughs. A3E (Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange) will present a full-day program on Saturday, including a keynote, focused on the future of audio, bringing a new perspective to the show.

The theremin always has a NAMM presence - Angelo Moore of Fishbone is a fan - Photo © Donna Balancia

The theremin always has a NAMM presence – Angelo Moore of Fishbone is a fan – Photo © Donna Balancia

TEC Tracks presents something for every type of pro audio professional.

A festival sound engineers panel will gather the experts from this growing market.

For live sound, there will also be a panel on best practices for in-ear monitoring, a master class on getting your studio sound tuned for the concert stage, and also a workshop on audio-video bridging to create compact touring systems.