Monday, July 9, 2007

Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit Concerts Will End in Five Years?

Here's a scoop you will only read here.

Neil Young's wife, Pegi. was a musical guest when I was filling in for "Sleepy" John Sandidge on KPIG-FM's (107.5/1510) great live music show "Please Stand By" last week (10 a.m to 12:30 Sundays).

I wore a Bridge School Benefit T-shirt from 2001, ("Freedom of Speech" show with Crazy Horse, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Tracy Chapman, Billy Idol, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, and Jill Sobule) in honor of her appearance, and we started talking about the shows.

"How long will you keep doing them?" I asked. "Forever?"

"We're looking at 25," she said. "We think that's a good number. They are a lot of work, as Elliot here will tell you."

That was Elliot Roberts, who accompanied Young and her husband's band from the "Prairie Wind" disc, including pedal steel player Ben Keith, on their van tour of Northern California. Young's LA slick representative doesn't usually tell you much.

Math challenged as I am, I can figure that this year (Oct 27, 28) is the 21st show, so that gives us five more years of great acoustic benefits.

Get a list of all the Bridge shows here.

I have to admit, I was hoping Neil would show for this noon radio appearance. I first came to California in 1977 to see him play with the Ducks at the Catalyst. This Santa Cruz bar band (with Jeff Blackburn, Bob Mosely and Johnny Craviotta) played Fridays and Neil was the "secret" guest, working on his chops as a lead guitarist.

Fans would have to say a password to get in (a quack, if I remember right) and fans are still awaiting a release of material from that summer. Sadly, Young left town after someone broke into his house and stole his guitars.

On a side note: Sleepy John's show always has great talents, and one of the standouts that day was Michael Foley, a fantastic singer/songwriter, who sounds like a mix of Stephen Stills and Tom Petty. I don't know how he's slipped under my radar for so long. Check out his cd "Fear and Forgiveness" here.

Interestingly, the album was inspired by his son, hip-hop producer Emmet Foley, who played his father's demos at gigs where he was a sound engineer.

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