We will be doing a full tribute to Neil & Rush on our TrickyKid Radio Podcast in the coming weeks.
VH1 Save the Music Foundation Auction Benefit/Adventures of Power DVD Release Party (w/ The Honey Bros featuring Adrian Grenier, Ari Gold & Claude Coleman Jr.) - January 27th - Bar Lubitsch - Hollywood, CA
A friend of ours, filmmaker Ari Gold, who is also in a band called the Honey Brothers with some other friends of ours (including actor Adrian Grenier of Entourage...and yes they named Jeremy Piven's character after him) made a movie called Adventures of Power about a Rush-obsessed air drummer who goes on to win an air-drumming competition against his nemesis (played by Grenier) and thus saving the world. A fun movie with a positive message, the idea was also to bring awareness to people who have dreams of playing music but without the resources to obtain the instruments. So Ari being the bad ass that he is, partnered with VH1 and their Save the Music Foundation to have a benefit for them to coincide with the DVD release of the film.
Since the theme is drums, the partnership was able to secure amazing memorabilia donations from some of the biggest names in the world of drumming including Rush's Neil Peart (who also makes a cameo in the film) who is arguably the most recognizable name in the history of drumming. Other big names like Lars Ulrich, Terry Bozzio and even Ringo Starr all made donations, which now was bringing national attention, thus now making the DVD release party/VH1 Benefit Auction a major high-profile event.
Regardless of Ween's cult status, Claude Coleman Jr. is recognized globally as one of the top drummer's in the world. He would be a natural choice for participation even without our previous friendship with Ari, but with that, and that Ween was touring the West Coast and the event was on a night off made it a no-brainer. To really put the event over the top, the Honey Brothers were going to perform and Claude was going to join them.
Our history with their camp goes back aways - their bass player Dan Green is an old friend who used to be in Claude's solo outfit Amandla, as well as the band Kilsy who are old Trickykid alumni. I have met all the other guys several times in the past, including Ari's twin brother Ethan, who was also going to be sitting in tonight. It had been awhile so I was looking to forward to a really fun night.
I meet with the event's coordinator, Susan, who is awesome (we had been emailing non-stop to get everything organized so it was nice to finally meet) while the band is soundchecking. They even rehearsed one of Claude's songs (but it sounded like shit haha) so this was going to be a special evening for sure.
This was becoming a huge deal with national coverage and she had setup a press conference before the place opened to the public and we went over Claude's involvement in that as well.
Their was a bit of downtime between the soundcheck and the press conference so we all just sat around and bullshitted and drank awesome Lithuanian lager that this place had stocked, while Ari was getting into character.
While sitting there watching a few of the people come in and out I see a familiar face, and almost stood straight up when I spotted who had to be Neil Hamburger. As a committed Faith No More fan (he MC'd their reunion tour last year as well as put out a record on Mike Patton's label) I recognized him instantly and was wondering what he was doing here when Adrian tells me that he's MC'n the nights festivities! Can this night get any cooler? Absolutely, stay tuned.
I see someone else I think I recognize, this stunning blonde woman, with impeccable style, who just screamed movie star, kept walking by but I couldn't place her.
Soon after I take Claude to the press event and I'm seeing the donations for the first time which are really freaking cool. I'm a total Rush nerd too so seeing Peart's snare drum from the Snakes & Arrows tour next to Bozzio's cymbals was a real treat.
We wrap that up and everyone from the press event is starting to socialize at the bar, which is in the same room where the performance will be. Someone tells me that Neil Peart is stuck in traffic but will be here soon, that I of course laugh off as a joke, as in its one thing that he donated and was in the freaking movie but for someone notoriously unsocial as Peart, and to come all the way from Canada no less, you would have taken it as a joke too.
No sooner than I had time to make a joke of my own I turn around there he is - Neil freaking Peart - the one dude that everybody wants to meet and most have not. I kept on laughing, I had to, this was absurd, his inaccessibility is legendary and people's reaction to coming into contact with him are punchlines that transcend the band's music and now I was having that moment haha.
But there he was, just sitting at the bar having a glass of wine and eating hor De oeuvres with his wife (some fan I am, I had completely forgotten that he had re-married and moved to California years ago..but that's probably a good thing :). And soon we were joined by Terry Bozzio, shit was getting hectic.
I relaxed a bit when I saw Claude, who is always cooler than cool (the unflappable Mr. Coleman) fanboy out a bit too haha.
Glen (Ween keyboardist) is a huge Rush fan, and Claude was trying to get something signed for him. I'm standing beside Peart when Claude introduces himself and he was cool at first and he was even familiar with Ween, which I thought was exceptionally cool, but when he saw that Claude wanted to get something signed, he wasn't rude, but he was letting people interrupt without bothering to get back to him. During one of these interruptions Claude leaned over and sings "I'm a fucking fanboooooy" and I almost start pissing my pants laughing.
I was giving Claude shit, making the obvious jokes, but incredulously, somehow, the mythology of Peart's recursiveness had miraculously missed Claude, and he wasn't expecting it to go down like that at all. I kept on him like "How could you not know this??!!" and we had a few laughs.
That's how large this guy is, here we are at an event of the elite and all of the other drummers were wanting this dude's attention, and think about it, if you are a drummer, you totally grew up with this dude as your idol, I don't care what kind of music you play.
During the press and photo ops, we were joined by some other awesome contributors to the benefit, the girls from Garfunkel and Oates, Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome.
I'm a fan of theirs and have had a major crush on Kate forever (you have probably seen her on Scrubs and Bored to Death) so it was funny that I was probably more nervous meeting them than Neil Peart haha. They were the coolest.
After the press stuff and before the show started, I was sitting at a different area next to Neil and his wife, and actually got to have a brief, but nice conversation. Not as fan to idol, but just two dudes sitting at a bar. Not a word about music (we actually talked about cooking).
When the show started, I made my way to our table that had been reserved for us, that Terry Bozzio joined us at. I don't know how much longer Neil stayed because I didn't see him again after that, but I had to laugh that I was finishing a conversation with Neil Peart to go have another one with Terry Bozzio. Good times.
The show starts and Neil Hamburger gets up and does his act which is great - it was perfect for this crowd because if you are in on the joke its not as effective, and admittedly their were quite a few starfuckers in the house that had no idea who he was and were not ready for him and he went right after them. Awesome.
The Honey Brothers run through a few songs before calling Claude up to join them. He jammed on a bunch of their tunes before taking the mic and leading the band through his Amandla tune Little Jimmy.
It was much better than at soundcheck, I think mainly because of the audience and the breakdown sing-a-long in the middle of the song.
The place was uncomfortably packed but thankfully we had a private table up front that I would normally feel silly about but couldn't help but be grateful for as I could look out and see people smashed together.
One of the people I spotted was the blonde woman from before that I just knew I had seen in something. I wave to her, and she looked miserable in the middle of the crush of people so I motioned to security to let her thru so she could join us.
And I was right, I didn't ask her, but we started talking and she said she was working on a movie and had to be up early. After more discussion I learn that her name is Lorielle New and I had most likely seen her in Grindhouse.
She was cool and I enjoyed hanging out with her. Some people next to us weren't really paying any attention to the show and were those people that just take pictures of themselves all night. I obliged them a few times and then they wanted me in the photo and asked that I hand the camera to the gentlemen to my left to take our pic. It was Neil Hamburger! - No fucking way, this was the last dude I was gonna say "Hey, I know theirs a show going on, but do you mind taking our picture so we can make the duckface with the peace sign?".
Lorielle wanted a picture of us so I asked him for her, and when he handed the camera back to me, I told him how much I liked his act. He seemed surprised that at this very Hollywood event that someone would be in on the joke with him. I mentioned all the Faith No More shows I caught last year that I had seen him perform at, and he seemed literally taken aback. We had a great talk and he was speaking out of the Neil Hamburger character and telling me all about his history with Faith No More. Could this night get any cooler?
After the show I wanted to catch up with Dan as I hadn't seem him in awhile and we are sitting around screaming laughing, Dan loves my stories and I had a few of them to tell. Sitting at the table with us was the ultimate nerd dream-team of Candace Bailey (Attack of the Show) and Aviva Farber (Superbad). I didn't even recognize them and just thought they were friends of Dan. Apparently Candace and Shoshannah are best friends. They were really fun and we had a great laugh.
So now it was time to load everyone (and everything) up and out, and head to the after-party that was down the street. We had the equipment and the precious memorabilia to think of and way too many people for one car. My rental had a hatchback so we put Claude and Dan's stuff in there and everyone climbed into two cars and we headed down the road.
We get to Jones's Bar and I learn later that's its kind of a paparazzi spot. I've never been around that sort of thing so I wouldn't know.
We had a great evening (and a great meal) and I met alot of really cool people. Ari's staff was the shit and were a blast to hang with. Alisha and Tiffany (Randol who I had met previously in NYC) held the whole thing together with Susan and it was great to relax and enjoy a fun night after all the work put into it.
Sam had dropped his date off and joined us later when just the core group was left as I met another part of Ari's crew, this crazy gal Esme. I thought she was the floorshow, she was hilarious and had Sam and I pissing ourselves. A quick reply and fast retort that girl is. She had worked and lived in Dallas for a year working on the show Prison Break and even knew some of the same people Sam and I do, so we had great time.