Bonzo Bash
East Coast Invasion

May 30, 2013
Gramercy Theatre
New York, NY

Review by Ralph Greco, Jr.
Photos by Ron Lyon

The Gramercy Theatre, a venerable old ballroom on the edge of Kips Bay, hosted a very unique gathering of drummers celebrating Led Zeppelin basher John Bonham, who would have turned 65 on May 31st.

The brainchild of drummer Brian Tichy, who has drummed for Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, and Ozzy Osbourne, and his partner Joe Sutton, plus co-sponsor Modern Drummer Magazine — The Bonzo Bash got its start in L.A and has finally made its way east, with shows tonight in New York City, followed by Long Island and New Jersey.

The first Bash, staged in September 2010, was called “The Groove Remains The Same.” Since then, there have been four other shows featuring 50 drummers and 30 guests performing over 100 songs. Tichy claims his never-ending listening of Led Zeppelin germinated this unusual idea back in 2010.

Tonight, the house band featured keyboardist Rob Clores, bassist John "JD" DeServio, singer Chas West, and guitarist Brent Woods. Legendary drummer Carmine Appice, who’s pounded the skins with everyone from Vanilla Fudge to Rod Stewart, was the master of ceremonies. You couldn’t ask for a more genial host.

Appice had some amazing stories to tell about Bonzo, talking about the first time an unknown Led Zeppelin played U.S. shores, they warmed-up for Vanilla Fudge. Appice and the rest of the Fudge took an instant liking to Zep, and have remained great friends since.

On the bill were 27 drummers for what amounted to a three-hour plus show. Each drummer was accompanied by the core house band with Tichy himself playing some spot-on guitar on many of the tunes.

Highlights included an appearance by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, who played an amazing break-neck solo during the “Moby Dick” jam. There was also Twisted Sister drummer A.J. Pero’s hard hitting with Adrenaline Mob guitarist Mike Orlando and singer Russell Allen.

You had to love former Rainbow drummer Bobby Rondinelli’s smoking “Kashmir.” I spoke to him before the show and he told me when he was 13, he saw Zeppelin in New York City opening for another band whose name escaped him at the moment.


Chad Smith & Brian Tichy

Beyonce skin mistress Nikki Glaspie, the only lady of the night, proved to be a hard-hitting groover. Other renowned drummers on hand included Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs, Winger), Overkill’s Ron Lipnick and Corky Laing of Mountain, drumming and joining in on an inspired “Like A Rolling Stone” and Tichy’s tour de force “Achilles Last Stand.”

It was a night of loud pounding backing a collection of classic Led Zeppelin songs with some of the finest players in the world coming out to pay tribute to the master John Bonham. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night!

Guest drummers and the songs they played:

  • Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) – “Custard Pie”
  • Corky Laing (Mountain) - "Dy'er M'ker"
  • Jerry Gaskill (King's X) - "The Ocean"
  • Zack Alford (David Bowie, The B-52s) - "When The Levee Breaks"
  • Ron Lipnicki (Overkill) - "The Song Remains The Same"
  • Johnny Kelly (Danzig, Type O Negative) - "Since I've Been Loving You"
  • Steven Wolf (Alicia Keys, Pink, Britney Spears) - "Trampled Underfoot"
  • Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce) - "What Is And What Should Never Be"
  • Joe Franco (Good Rats, Twisted Sister) - "Communication Breakdown"
  • Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow/Black Sabbath) - "Kashmir"
  • Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs/ Winger) - "The Crunge"
  • Michael Cartellone (Lynyrd Skynyrd/Damn Yankees) - "Houses Of The Holy"
  • A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister) - "Nobody's Fault But Mine"
  • Jojo Mayer (Nerve) - "Good Times Bad Times"
  • Danny Schuler (Biohazard) - "Out On The Tiles"
  • Chad Szeliga (Black Label Society/ Breaking Benjamin) - "Fool In The Rain"
  • Jonathan Mover (Aretha Franklin/Joe Satriani) "Wanton Song"
  • Matt Starr (Ace Frehley/Burning Rain) - "Sick Again"
  • John Hummel (Matt O'Ree Band) - "Stairway to Heaven"
  • Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chickenfoot) - "Heartbreaker"
  • Brian Tichy (Whitesnake/Foreigner/S.U.N.) - "Achilles Last Stand"

 

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