Benefit concerts tend to fall into two camps, with superstar-driven megashows like Live Aid or Farm Aid raising tens of millions of dollars in one epic swoop, or local bar musicians jamming together to raise a few grand for a fellow performer’s medical bills. But for the past three years, drummer Kevin Wachs has been part of an impressive collective of veteran Los Angeles-area rockers who have managed to raise over $1 million in seven concerts for such worthy causes as the City of Hope cancer research center in Duarte and the Midnight Mission homeless outreach program in downtown L.A.
The series of concerts has revolved around theme nights such as its debut concert, “The Beach Boys and the California Sound,” and the “All-Star Charity Rock ’N’ Roll Christmas Show.” On Tuesday, band members will be attempting to provide 50,000 meals to feed the homeless this winter when the latest endeavor, “The Decades Show,” hits the stage of The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. The evening will donate 100 percent of proceeds from ticket sales, and an online auction will benefit Hope of the Valley, My Stuff Bags and other local homelessness charity organizations.
“Musicians who make a living with their music realize how blessed they are, getting to do what they truly love as their career, so we find that it’s easy to get them to give back on nights like this,” says Wachs. “The chance to come together and play with artists like The Honeys, who did backing vocals for The Beach Boys on some of their best songs, or Micky Dolenz of The Monkees is already a thrill, but to do it for a great cause is even better.”
The lineup for the “Decades” concert is as extensive as it is impressive, featuring actor/singer Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure), singer Carly Smithson (American Idol), Freebo (Bonnie Raitt), Rosemary Butler (Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt), Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), Gary Griffin (Brian Wilson), John Wicks (The Records) and Lamont Dozier Jr. (Motown).
Also included are The Honeys, Gary Stockdale (Brian Setzer), John Pratt, Steve Goddard, Adam Daniel, MJ Ultra, Steve Postell, poet Stephen Kalinich, musical director Gary Pickus (Alan Thicke), Marc Mann (Danny Elfman, ELO) and Fuzzbee Morse (Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel). Special appearances will be made by Walter Egan and psych-rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock.
It’s been an unsually busy year for the collective, as it performed a Thomas Fire benefit concert at Bogie’s in Westlake Village in January as well two nights of the “Decades” show for the City of Hope at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on June 22 and 23.
Wachs runs a beauty care company called Earthly Body, and his Chatsworth office building houses both his own company and the rehearsal space for The Tribe. Half the band consists of full-time professional musicians, while the remaining half is made up of those who are skilled but have other careers to pay the bills.
“I’ve played professionally as a drummer but not my main source of income by any stretch or I’d be starving,” laughs Wachs. “We have a couple lawyers, a fitness instructor, a couple people retired from their jobs, web designer, and then there’s Rob Morrow, whom everyone knows from acting but is a hell of a musician. Whether it’s those guys like me or full-time pros, it’s all come together through friends of friends bringing each other in.”
“There’s a lot of great memories from these shows, but Mary Wilson of the Supremes performing a medley of Supremes hits had to be my personal favorite, along with playing with Micky Dolenz since The Monkees had such great songs,” says Wachs. “But the really fun part is the challenge of playing the greatest songs of the rock era with fantastic musicians while raising money for great causes.”
The Tribe performs “The Decades Show” on Tuesday, July 3, at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at The Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills. For tickets and more information, call 888-645-5006 or visit wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com.