The only thing better than a party is a Rock 'n Roll Birthday Bash. To celebrate 50 years young, veteran music man Kevin Reye not only hosted a bash and played the stage but brought some of his friends and heavy hitters in the music world out to rock. The night included music jams with: Steve Daugherty (Snakehead) – guitar, Bob Guitrau (Ruthless, Filthy Rocks) – drums, Sam Bam Koltun – guitar, Jesse James Hudgins (Electric Funeral) – guitar, Robert Bacca – vocals/guitar, Mike Hernandez – bass/guitar, Robin - guitar, Randy Miller (Dio Tribute) – guitar, John Gill – guitar, Gary Runnalls – guitar, Pono Barretto – bass/drums, Timmy Hagman – bass/vocals, Jesse Hamrick – bass, Lightning Bob Mcaskill – bass , Natalie Garcia – bass, Gerry Garcia – bass, Harry Rattelman – bass, Jay Hotrum – vocals, Bill Wallinder – vocals, Rob Fitzgerald – vocals, Jk Fortyseven – drums, Billy Cannon Eckelberry (The Cauze) – drums, Robert Casillas (Blackbird Sky) – drums, Jimmy Zee – drums, Tony Cavazo (Hurricane) - bass, Chris “McDrumslut” Silva (DIA & White Lie) - drums, Bobby Allen -vocals, Rik Fox (WASP/Steeler) - bass, Michael Olivieri (Leatherwolf) - vocals, Pat McKeon (Max Havoc) - vocals, and Jesse Hamrick - bass. As you can see there was not a lack of talent or entertainment at this bash that was held at Malone’s in Santa Ana, CA. Now that you met the players, here is a peek at what went down.
As you can imagine when you have such greats as those listed above come together on one stage, not just to play music but to share in the revelry of a birthday, you have passion and emotion combine into the perfect mix. It was sort of like wine and cheese; classy, fun, and a party in your mouth. Speaking of a party in your mouth, Ms. Lorelei Sal made art out of food with decadent displays of fruit and other yummy must have munchies. The whole night was about friends, music, and good times.
The night started early and went to the wee hours of the morning. If you were fortunate enough to see this once in a lifetime jam session you know what went down. However, if you did not make it you missed renditions of Judas Priest’s Breaking the Law with Kevin’s very good friends Sifu Paul Swaim-Lewis singing like Halford, Steve Daugherty (lead guitar), Mike Hernandez (rhythm guitar), Pono Barretto (bass), & Jk Fortyseven (drums). A perfect & kick ass way to start the night off & Paul sounded just like Halford. If that was not enough for the crowd they were treated to this; Y&T’s Mean streak with Robert Bacca handling the daunting task of playing & singing lead just like Dave Meniketti, with a killer rhythm section made up of Lightning Bob Mcaskill on bass & Chris “McDrumSlut” Silva (El Prostituto de Bateria) on drums. Many more songs were sung, many more toasts were made, and it truly was the bash to top all birthday bashes.
Kevin (the birthday boy) was gracious enough to share some of his favorite moments of the night. “This was intense. Drummer Bob Guitrau had a heart attack I believe on Tuesday 12/3, just a few days before the birthday Bash on Sat 12/7. 12/7 also happens to be Bob’s birthday. He’d been looking so forward to coming to the party & playing in the jam, when as Murphy’s Law would have it, he has an episode the week of the event & his birthday. When he went down, he was so worried about missing the event & letting other jammer’s down. Bob, or as we called him Saturday…’Superman’, only a day or two out of the hospital, makes it to Malone’s to attend the event.A hell of an impressive feat by itself, but he goes on further and tells me he wants to play drums on War Pigs, a song he was originally assigned to, that had Patrick J. McKeon on vocals, Mij Hudgins on bass, Scott Lane on lead, & John Gill on rhythm. I’m like “dude, are you sure? You’re fresh out of the hospital & this is a monster 8:00 Sabbath tune." I look over to LaDonna Hamrick (Bob’s wife) across the room, and clearly, she is not happy about this and doesn’t want Bob to risk it. Totally understandable & wise of her. I look at Bob again who’s now onstage with me looking at the drum kit, then he looks at me, I look at him, both of us chocked up close to tears, and in that moment, we both knew he had to do it; it was for sure the right thing to do. We both felt the power of the moment. I nod to him ‘go ahead’ without using words, because I’m near tears. As Bob climbs onto the drum kit, also with a tear in his eye, he says ‘what better way to go, than doing what you love. If it’s my time, I’m OK with it’. As I write this, the power of the moment comes flooding back… What an unbelievably special moment! My nickname for Bob that night was ‘Superman’! My hero for the night for being stupid brave strong at the best possible moment! I know it put LaDonna through serious stress & worry, but I wanted to tell her don’t worry, we did the right thing. There was no choice in the matter really…the fates had already decided…! Bob, Pat, & the guys nailed it! I salute you Brother Bob ‘the drummer’, may your live 1000 years bro!” In my opinion this was a case of music bring people together, and healing. It really was one hell of a night with so many must see moments.
It is shows like this that are once in a life time events. You may never see these lineups again. These people will not take the stage and do a rock and roll jam for just anyone. This was a gift of music to the fans and the guys on stage. That said Happy Half Century to Mr. Kevin Reye and cheers to many more. To fans come out and support local music. See you all at a show soon.
Written by: Melissa Anderson, http://www.ROCKwellUnScene.com