What seems to be building steam over the last few years is the Bonzo Bash which is a tribute to the late great drummer of Led Zeppelin, John Bonham. Musician extraordinaire Brian Tichy and his partner Joe Sutton have created not only this tribute but a handful of others like the Randy Rhoads and Rush/The Who tributes over the last few years as well.
The house band called the Moby Dicks, who again are led by Brian Tichy on drums and guitar, Michael Devin on bass, Chas West on vocals, Brent Woods on guitar and Stephen LeBlanc on keyboards, played for over four hours. The event was hosted by comedian Bill Burr who also jumped in and played drums on the track “For Your Life” later in the evenings set.
One of the first drummers of the evening, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, received the Legend award and played “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” Soon after, 19 drummers with 21 in total ended up behind the kit. This year Tichy and his production team really did a great job focusing in on a more diverse group of players. You had everyone from Franklin Vanderbilt (Chaka Khan and Lenny Kravitz) to Greg Potter (Buddy Rich Band) to Joe LaMonde (CEO of NAMM) to Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa and Duran Duran). Their various styles of playing really added to a unique blend of talent to this year’s Bonzo Bash.
Some of the highlights of the set were seeing the reunion of Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes take the stage and play a medley of both “Train kept a Rollin'”and “Stranglehold” and then they went into Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” They were having a blast up there playing together again and it showed in their performance. Another highlight was when Carmine Appice didn’t actually play the drums but played the sticks instead with Tichy providing an acoustic guitar on the Led Zeppelin track “4 Sticks.” A variation on the underground favorite which turned out fantastic! The show ended with one of the most underrated drummers on the planet in Korn’s Ray Luzier. He turned in a stellar job on “Achilles Last Stand.”
This is turning out to be one of the must do events while at NAMM. If you’re a Zeppelin fan, drummer or just appreciate the various musical talents of many different artists, you wouldn’t need to look any further than this show. How Tichy learns his parts for both guitar and drums while not only putting this show on, but the other shows I mentioned earlier, is a talent unto itself! The only complaint I would have is that this show tends to be long with the drum set changes and various drummers coming and going. I think if Tichy and his team could figure out how to get it down around two and half hours, it would not only benefit the musicians and crew, the audience would appreciate it too.
Ten Years Gone (Brian Tichy and The Moby Dicks) Song Remains the Same (Brian Tichy and The Moby Dicks) Immigrant Song (Dave “Chilli” Moreno - Puddle of Mudd) Since I've Been Loving You (Chad Smith -Red Hot Chili Peppers) Thank You (Johnny Kelly - Type O Negative / Danzig / Kill Devil Hill) Whole Lotta Love (Dave Lombardo - Dead Cross / Slayer) Good Times Bad Times (Rob Affuso - Skid Row / Four By Fate) The Ocean (Mike Terrana - Tony MacAlpine / Yngwie Malmsteen) Misty Mountain Hop (Jimmy DeGrasso - Black Star Riders / Suicidal Tendencies / Megadeth) Heartbreaker (Gregg Potter - Buddy Rich Band) Custard Pie (Simon Wright - Operation Mindcrime / AC/DC / DIO) Over the Hills and Far Away (Brandon Kachel - Barbarian Overlords) Candy Store Rock (Glen Sobel - Alice Cooper) Wanton Song (Franklin Vanderbilt - Lenny Kravitz / Chaka Khan) Fool in the Rain (Joe LaMonde - CEO NAMM and Robert Mason -vocals- Warrant / Lynch Mob) For Your Life (Bill Burr) In the Evening (Stephen Perkins - Jane’s Addiction) Celebration Day (Khurt Maier - Salty Dog) Train Kept a Rollin'/Stranglehold/Rock n' Roll (Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) / Derek St. Holmes Ted Nugent) 4 Sticks (Carmine Appice - Cactus, Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart) Sick Again (Joe Travers - Zappa Plays Zappa / Duran Duran) Dazed & Confused (Will Calhoun - Living Colour) Kashmir (John Hummel - Matt O’Ree Band / NJ Badass) Achilles Last Stand (Ray Luzier - Korn) Photos by BackstageAxxess Correspondent Jeff Schaller. We would like to thank Jody Best-Glisman and Lynn Airrington for the credentialscover the show.