Drummer Steve Ferrone was inducted into Guitar Center’s Rock Walk at Guitar Center’s annual Drumoff, held at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, January 19, 2014. The Drumoff featured live performances by world class drummers Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers with his Bombastic Meatbats, and Ray Luzier of Korn (also an inductee with Korn) who also borrowed some Meatbats. Additionally, 5 young drummers pounded the skins in hopes of becoming the winner.
But, the pinnacle of the evening was Ferrone’s induction. Ferrone was a member of Average White Band, and has recorded and performed with numerous other high-profile acts, including Slash, Chaka Khan, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Duran Duran, Scritti Politti and Johnny Cash. He is still a member of The Heartbreakers. The 80s generation recalls his powerful drums on the opening to Chaka Kahn’s “Feel For You.”
An admirer since childhood, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson spoke glowingly of being influenced by seeing Ferrone play with Average White Band on "Soul Train." Wearing an AWB t-shirt, Questlove said, “I wanted to do that.” He said it took someone really special to get him out of his shell to come say a few words. Not only that, he was far from his New York City digs. The Roots drummer is more comfortable in the back, playing his kit, or authoring books and articles.
Ferrone made two casts of his hands in black concrete which will be on display at Guitar Center in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. One is a spare in case of earthquake or other damage. Questlove snapped photos with his iPhone, beaming with pride at sharing the stage with his friend and idol. After the ceremony, the honored inductee traditionally leads a few songs from the kit with bandmates past and present. This year was no exception.
Another surprise was seeing a reunion with 2 other original members of Average White Band, including Hamish Stuart who led the scratch band in “Pick Up The Pieces” while Ferrone and Questlove played drums. Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey, joined in on backing vocals and cowbell. Perry recently built a studio in his Del Mar, CA home to work on solo material. It was great to see such an impressive band of friends. Questlove capped off the evening with a DJ set in the VIP lounge with a DJ set that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.