Bonzo Bash Back For 2014 NAMM Show
Story by Shawn Perry
You ask most any rock drummer about influences and Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s name invariably comes up. For some like Brian Tichy, a master himself at both drums and guitar, Bonham’s allure is practically an obsession…an obsession that goes on full display whenever he brings a Bonzo Bash to town. “There’s never a bad time to do a Bonzo Bash,” he told Vintage Rock’s Junkman the day after the 2013 NAMM Bonzo Bash. A year later, with NAMM in our midst, the Bonzo Bash NAMM JAMM 2014 sets up shop on Thursday, January 23 at the Observatory in Santa Ana, a short drive from the Anaheim Convention Center. Get ready to go the distance...
“Most drummers agree that he’s (John Bonham) the king of rock drumming," Tichy said without any hesitation. “I’m done debating that. It’s a fact.” By the turnout of participating drummers and other musicians at previous Bonzo Bashes (there have been eight, including shows at the now-defunct Key Club in Hollywood, House of Blues (also in Hollywood), and the late May 2013 three-night run of Birthday Bashes on the East Coast), you’d get little argument about the massive mutual love for Bonham and Led Zeppelin. The 2013 show featured 52 people performing over the course of a five-hour show. “And we kept it on schedule,” Tichy reminded us.
For the Bonzo Bash NAMM JAMM 2014, the roster is just as full and impressive. “I am psyched to announce some new baddasses to the fold!” Tichy revealed in a recent press statement. “On top of recent awesome additions like Athena (Femme Fatale / TV’s Ex-Wives Of Rock,) Cortney DeAugustine (Montrose / Frank Hannon), Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), Bernard Fowler (Rolling Stones), Chris Frazier (Foreigner), thrash drumming legend Dave Lombardo (Slayer / Philm), Robert Mason (Warrant / Lynch Mob), Gerry Nestler (Philm), Gregg Potter (Buddy Rich Band), Mick Sweda and Shaun Williamson (Atlanta Rhythm Section) — we are also excited to include these other amazing players: Mel Gaynor (Simple Minds), Gene Hoglan (Testament / Dethklok), Oni Logan (Lynch Mob / Dio Disciples), James LoMenzo (Megadeth / John Fogerty), Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob / Tred), rock bass legend Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs / Mr. Big) and Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne / Big Noize)."
Vintage Rock senior photographer Ron Lyon has been a Bonzo Bash staff photographer since 2011. He’s especially looking forward to the Bonzo Bash NAMM JAMM 2014. “NAMM is great because all the musicians are in town. Brian knows everybody and his enthusiasm for the spirit of John Bonham's groove is just downright infectious. It brings people together and it's the perfect forum for all things Zeppelin.”
The list of scheduled drummers (always subject to change when you’re dealing with working musicians) includes the following: Seven Antonopoulos (Opiate For The Masses), Carmine Appice (Cactus / Vanilla Fudge), Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty / Smashing Pumpkins), Athena (The Ex-Wives Of Rock / Femme Fatale), Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Will Calhoun (Living Colour), Michael Cartellone (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Fred Coury (Cinderella), Jimmy D'Anda, Cortney DeAugustine (Montrose / Frank Hannon Band / Michael Lee Firkins), Chris Frazier (Foreigner), Mel Gaynor (Simple Minds), Gene Hoglan (Testament / Dethklok), John Hummel, Brandon Kachel (Barbarian Overlords), James Kottak (Scorpions), Dave Lombardo (Slayer / Philm), Ray Luzier (Korn), Khurt Maier (Salty Dog), Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister / Adrenaline Mob / Tred), Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs / Dream Theater), Gregg Potter (The Buddy Rich Band), Van Romaine (Steve Morse), Rikki Rockett (Poison), Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow / Black Sabbath), Chris Slade (The Firm / AC/DC), Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper), Matt Starr (Ace Frehley), Jason Sutter (Marilyn Manson / Chris Cornell), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake / Foreigner / Billy Idol / S.U.N.), Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa), Steven Wolf (Avril Lavigne / Britney Spears) and Simon Wright (AC/DC / Dio / Queensryche).
Additional musicians who have signed on to appear include Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), Bernard Fowler (Rolling Stones), James LoMenzo (John Fogerty / Megadeth), Oni Logan (Dio Disciples / Lynch Mob), Robert Mason (Warrant / Lynch Mob), Gerry Nestler (Philm), Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob / Tred), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs / Mr. Big), Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne / Big Noize), Mick Sweda, Shaun Williamson (Atlanta Rhythm Section). The Moby Dicks, the night’s house Zeppelin cover band, will feature Tichy on guitar and drums, along with Michael Devin (bass), Stephen LeBlanc (keys), Chas West (vox) and Brent Woods (guitar).
But wait — there’s more. The celebration of one legendary musician deserves another; in this case, guitarist Randy Rhoads. The organizers of Bonzo Bash will return to the Observatory on Saturday, January 25 for a brand new celebration they call Randy Rhoads Remembered, Tichy says that when the opportunity arose to have the venue for a second night, he immediately contacted Joe Sutton to put it together. “We decided to take the Bonzo Bash template and celebrate the music and wizardry of one of rock’s truly legendary guitar heroes: Randy Rhoads!”
Musicians on board for Randy Rhoads Remembered include Marty Friedman, Gus G. (Ozzy Osbourne / Firewind), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Phil Demmel (Machine Head), Rowan Robertson (Dio / DC4), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Tracii Guns, Mats Leven (vox- Candlemass / Yngwie Malmsteen), former Randy Rhoads’ student Janet Robin (Precious Metal / Lindsey Buckingham / Air Supply), Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guns N' Roses), Brent Woods (The Moby Dicks / Vince Neil), Phil X (The Drills / Bon Jovi), Stephen LeBlanc (Jason Bonham's Led Zep Exp. / The Moby Dicks), Robert Mason (Warrant / Lynch Mob / Ozzy Osbourne), Neil Turbin (DeathRiders/ Anthrax) and Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne / Big Noize / Billy Idol). Rhoads brother Kelle, a singer, will also come up for a song.
“Being involved with the Bonzo Bash since day one, I know Randy Rhoads Remembered will be a tribute unlike any other," Moby Dicks guitarist Brent Woods, who took guitar lessons from Rhoads, remarked.
On Friday, January 24, Team Bonzo Bash will squeeze in a third event between Bonzo Bash and Randy Rhoads Remembered. Billed as a special VIP show featuring female tribute bands The Iron Maidnes, Judas Priestess and Hammer of The Broads at Mirror Image Studios in Anaheim, Tichy says: “This is our way of saying thanks for giving these shows their time, talent, and badassness! Plus, at the same time, we want to give it up to all the women who live their lives for rock music!”
I asked Ron Lyon if he knew what’s next for the Bonzo Bash franchise, if I may be so brave to call it so. “The rumor is that New York might be the benefactor of another run of shows at the end of May. More to come on that later after these shows,” he said. “It's a massive project getting all these musicians together and putting just one show on. They're doing three during NAMM weekend. Amazing! The production team of Brian, Joe, Noelle Kim, Lynn Airrington, Nicky Parry and all the techs and the behind-the-scenes people are top-notch. They all work so hard to make these shows happen. I'm just blessed to be able to tag along. Long live Bonzo!”
Tickets for the Bonzo Bash NAMM JAMM 2014, VIP Pussywhipped Party and Randy Rhoads Remembered can be purchased at http://californiamusicfest.com/.