This is the time of year when all popular bands get besieged to do charity fundraisers for very good causes. There are so many good causes to choose from and they all have different operating budgets. Many charities have come around to the idea that good entertainment can greatly contribute to the success of an event. It’s easy to put an ad on Craigslist and get some college students to jam in the ballroom of the Four Seasons for your event, but it greatly reduces the amount of time the guests spend at said event. A lot of event planners have figured out that a really engaging band makes the evening feel special.
Flipside is a band of Dads, so that makes it especially rewarding to get involved with charities involving children. This is a sensitive issue for us, as our lead singer lost his daughter last year. Since then, playing with the band has been a healing joy for him. As he explains it, it’s the one time of the week when he’s not mourning her loss. With that in mind, I try to be sensitive about putting him in that context. Under the right circumstances, though, these can be the best events of the year. We do an event for the Steppingstone Foundation every February that is simply the #1 most joyous occasion on our schedule. They do it right: they come to party and don’t bog the evening down with speeches and platitudes. They ask the band to turn up, not down! Everybody has a wonderful time and they are happy to pony up for the good cause.
This past week was especially rewarding. Thursday night we played at the first annual gala fundraiser for ONE MISSION, a wonderful foundation dedicated to enhancing the lives of pediatric cancer patients. They do a lot of work with Boston Children’s Hospital, the hospital that took such great care of my niece Lizzy when she need open- heart surgery a few months ago. This one felt personal for me. A few months before my son Harrison was born, we had a little scare with some test results and spent an agonizing week waiting to hear that our firstborn would be alright. Of course, I made a deal with God. Everything turned out fine (more than fine- he’s a 3 year old maniac) and I try to do some work for children’s charity every year. The event was in the EMC club at Fenway Park, a fine place to visit under any circumstances.
When we arrived, we met Ashley and Ari who started the foundation. It was a wonderful crowd and a beautiful night and I predict that this event will grow every year. Ashley gave a welcoming speech where she described their son Nicholas’ battle against Leukemia at the age of 7 months. As I listened to her speak, I noticed a strange liquid dripping all over my telecaster and realized it was tears. She really got to me and I could barely wait for the part where she said that everything turned out fine. It was truly an honor to play for an event like this.
On Saturday night, a good friend of the Flipside band asked us to play for the Joslin Diabetes fundraiser. We played at Ray and Shannon Allen’s wedding a while back and they have been so kind to the band. We were happy to help out, of course. Ray was unavailable as he is out with the Celtics working on bringing more championship trophies to Boston, but it’s always lovely to see Shannon and she has even sung with the band a few times. It was also nice to catch up with her father (a fellow Beach Boys fanatic) and Ray’s father. We were to perform at the VIP after- party at the Seaport Hotel, after Robin Thicke. The week of the event, we got the word that Johnny Gill would be flying in and would we like to back him up? Yes, we would. It was a fantastic event, so many lovely people on the dance floor, and of course a thrill to work with Johnny. We only had a bout a half hour before doors opened to run through the songs with him, but he very skillfully led us through the cues and described what he wanted. He brought the house down and had all the ladies quite worked up. Here’s a little Corin-Cam clip of the view from my amp.