ROCKGODZ Hall Of Fame Awards 2023 Comes To Nashville

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Founded in 2009, the ROCKGODZ Hall of Fame Awards has been typically staged in California since its inception. This year, however, the show ventured east to Music City where the town’s premiere rock club, Bowie’s Nashville, played host.

The ROCKGODZ Hall of Fame is all about recognizing sung alongside unsung professionals in the music business. You get a good variety of musicians, many unknown in mainstream circles, but prolific and in-demand by some of the biggest names in the biz. There’s also a good cross-section of non-musicians — producers, record executives, radio personalities, music journalists, photographers, impresarios, you name it — who have been inducted into the ROCKGODZ Hall of Fame.

Previous inductees include such luminaires like super guitarist Steve Vai, Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, famed session drummer Jim Keltner, award-winning songwriter Danny Kortchmar, disc jockey Rita Wilde, and the list goes on.

Tonight in Nashville, recipients of the honor included the original members of Vanilla Fudge (Carmine Appice, Mark Stein, Vince Martell, Pete Bremy and in honorarium, Tim Bogert), Pat Travers (Pat Travers Band), Steve Popovich Sr., (record executive), Mike Curb (Curb Records founder), Bob Bender (music industry veteran), Sandy Gennaro (veteran session and touring drummer), Todd Sharp (veteran session and touring guitarist), Tom Zutaut (record executive), and Don Akins (music photographer).

Photo: Don Adkins

In a statement, RockGodz Hall of Fame founder Cindy Landeen explains what it takes to become a RockGod: “We believe that these virtuosos, maestros, and those working in the trenches behind the scenes need not wait any longer to be recognized and acknowledged for their part in rock and roll history.  In the day they may have been relatively unknown to the music world and fans at large but RockGodz Hall of Fame has purposely taken on the challenge and goal of celebrating their achievements.”

On the red carpet, some of newest RockGodz talked about what it felt like to be honored, plus career highlights and current activities. Watch the video below.  

The show in Nashville definitely lived up to expectations. Awards were presented, dinner was served, and music flowed from the stage. One unexpected surprise was the appearance of model and singer Bebe Buell, who performed a number with the RockGodz Hall of Fame house band and inducted Tom Zutaut, the A&R whiz kid who struck platinum when he signed Guns N’ Roses to Geffen Records in the 80s. Retired from the music business, he now resides in Chattanooga and hosts a radio show called Capturing Lightning in a Bottle.

Meanwhile, a bachelorette party showed up at Bowie’s and joined the proceedings to liven things up. Vanilla Fudge delivered the walloping double-punch of their hits “Shotgun” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Although three of the four original members are still in the band (in 2010, bassist Pete Bremy permanently replaced Tim Bogert, who passed away in 2021), drummer Carmine Appice was unable to attend due to medical reasons. His able-bodied replacement for the night was Charlie Zeleny aka Charlie Z, who pumped a lot of extra energy into the classic songs.

Photo: Don Adkins

Pat Travers and his band — bassist David Pastorius and drummer Alex Petrosky — also played, offering up a combo platter of “Snortin’ Whiskey” and “Boom Boom” to get the floor moving. The singer and guitarist told us earlier that he and his band are on the road until the end of the year and were anxious to come to Nashville. “I’m happy to be here and thrilled to get an award,” he said on the red carpet.

As for Vanilla Fudge being inducted into the RockGodz Hall of Fame, the band’s lead singer and keyboardist Mark Stein said: “It’s an honor to be recognized.” We asked him how he and the others have kept the band going for nearly 60 years. “We’ve known each other since we were teenagers.” Guitarist Vince Martell added: “We got to get a little break to recharge your batteries. But we have great music and great arrangements, and we try to make it work.”

As for releasing new records, Stein says that with all the shows the band’s been playing in recent years, he’d like to see Vanilla Fudge release a live album. “A live set would be really cool.”

Photo: Don Adkins

Finally, Don Adkins, this year’s Founders Choice Inductee who photographed Mötley Crüe and many other LA-based bands in the early 1980s, expressed genuine appreciation for receiving the honor. “I’m very happy and humbled to get this — the first-ever photographer to be recognized by this organization,” he said. “I’m still very active photographically, shooting two to three shows in a typical week. Now I have the luxury of doing so, as I retired from my corporate life at a younger age and have the financial freedom to do so.”The RockGodz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. All events and initiatives are funded by ticket sales, sponsorships, volunteers, and donations. For more information, visit the RockGodz Hall of Fame website.

Photo: Don Adkins