Back In The Saddle

Stormed the stage with a new band recently. Great bunch of players with an amazing pedigree. Hit Men All Stars played our maiden voyage gig in at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe.  Same stage that Sinatra and the Rat Pack rocked!

This one’s been a long time coming. I met Curly Smith, drummer for Boston, Jo Jo Gunne and a million sessions with rock n roll greats while I was living in Baja. He was also the drummer on one of my fave albums. A project called “Overnight Angels” a band fronted by Ian Hunter and had Earl Slick, absolutely one of my fave players, on guitar. Curly was in town playing a charity gig with my old friend, Kenny Lee Lewis, guitarist for Steve Miller. Kenny had recruited some of his “Hang Dynasty” crew – the house band at the China Club in LA. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter from Steely Dan & The Doobie Brothers, Billy Burnette from Fleetwood Mac who were joined by the renowned keyboardist, Brian Auger, along with James Jamerson singer from Survivor and John Sykes, bassist in Boston. Kenny invited me to sit in on a tune during soundcheck which ended up with me joining the band for the entire show.

The set list featured the hits from Steve, Fleetwood, The Doobies and Steely Dan. The highlight for me was playing “Reelin In The Years” and trading licks with Skunk. And I have to admit, I had a ball playing and singing harmonies on “Eye of the Tiger.”

After the set Curly invited me to join a project he was putting together to do corporate & casino gigs. The idea was to assemble a band of former members of some of the great bands of the 70‘s & 80‘s. He had already gotten Billy Burnette and Jimmy Crespo, who was Joe Perry’s replacement in Aerosmith during the Tyler/Perry feuding years. I’d met Jimmy in NYC in 1976 when I was working on 48th St. He walked into the shop to try out a Roland Chorus Ensemble effects box and his playing stunned me. He was one of the best guitarists I’d ever heard and he was just fucking around! Gary Moon, bassist & singer with Night Ranger joined as did Steve Augeri, who more than filled the shoes left vacant by Steve Perry’s departure in Journey.

It’s been a long time in the making with a few changes along the way but the band finally got together and played a showcase gig at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Casino.

Hit Men All Stars is like one big kick-ass jukebox packed with platinum hits played by players who really can. I had more fun than should be legally allowed by law.

Should have some pix of the gig soon. Maybe even a video of the live set!!


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