We all knew the Midwest Rock ’n’ Roll Express had passenger cars. In fact, that tour is responsible for transporting three of the larger names in classic rock—Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent—to various venues the country over, including Springfield’s own MassMutual Center last week.
Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find this express train is also a freighter—acquiring and distributing goods to those in need along the way.
“Like all Americans, we have watched the events in Boston and wondered what we could do to help,” said Styx in a jointly released statement.
Unlike “all Americans,” Styx is also a multi-platinum band with some friends in high places, a situation that allows it to utilize its existing Rock To Rescue nonprofit entity (created after 9/11 by guitarist Tommy Shaw’s daughter, Hannah) to raise thousands upon thousands of dollars for the cause.
At each stop on the tour, there is now a silent auction wherein fans can bid on a guitar signed by all three bands. Seventy-five percent of the funds realized by the endeavor are earmarked for victims of the Boston explosions, the other 25 percent for local charities in each tour market.
According to Amanda Cagan, a Styx publicist, some $6,600 was raised during the Springfield stint.
“[Our] band and family are surrounded by Americans who care deeply about each other and are dedicated to give all we’ve got in times of need,” echoed tourmate Nugent. “We again face tragedy that we can all help with, and are proud of this charitable heart and soul effort.”
Similarly inspired by the senseless acts in Beantown was the Valley’s own Scott Pomeroy, a sometimes solo artist best known for fronting area cover kings Orange Crush. According to Pomeroy, he was actually recording his latest tune, “Walk Into The Light,” isolated in a studio on that fateful Patriots’ Day. As he drove home later that evening and heard the horrific news on the radio, the connections between what he had just recorded and what had transpired in Boston clicked away like an odometer reading.
“The song is about facing off darkness, whether it’s mortality, or about anger or depression,” he explains. “Now when I hear the lyrics, it feels like I was singing to the victims. I’m definitely having a tough time dealing with with the coincidence, but the song has a kind of uplifting feel with a strong, marching beat drum, so it all falls together in an odd sort of way.”
Speaking of odd pairings, the drum beat in question—as well as the studio the track was recorded in—belong to none other than Johnny April, famed Staind bassist.
“Johnny heard some of the tunes I was posting on my website, liked them and approached me about producing a few new ones,” Pomeroy says of the high profile affiliation. “So I went out to his studio in the hilltowns and let him play around with the structure a little and add percussion.”
To hear “Light” and other unreleased tracks, kindly turn your browser to scottpomeroy.com.
Last up, as reported in a previous installment, Sir Paul McCartney has announced a summer tour that includes a July 9 Fenway Park play. In the wake of that announcement, at least two other acts of veritable rock royalty have decided to join the party.
A basketball playoff scheduling conflict will bump the kickoff date of the Rolling Stones’ 50 & Counting tour back one day, from May 2 to 3 in Los Angeles. The original bad boys of rock are slated to tackle Boston’s TD Garden June 12 and 14. It’s also been a long time since Robert Plant rocked ‘n’ rolled... and while he won’t be doing it with Zep this summer, he will be making the rounds with an outfit he calls the Sensational Space Shifters and will reportedly play many Zeppelin classics when he comes to Uncasville’s Mohegan Sun on July 24 and Boston’s Bank of America Pavilion July 25.•
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