February 11, 2013 - Brisbane
So now Fifty years to the day that The Lads from Liverpool began the session that changed everything known to Man, Woman & child I'm traveling with Ringo across Australia. Last night before the show he walked into the band room and Todd mentioned something about the styles having changed once the Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show and Ringo started telling us stories from those times. Needless to say he held court and as always his manner just pulled us in. The show was electric. The crowd started dancing and one young girl in the second row got up from Rosanna and lead the charge all night long. The fact remains, a Great Song is a Great Song Forever. I mean this girl wasn't even born when Rosanna was out. In fact, I don't think her Mom who sat next to her was even her age when the Beatles first came out. The set is so Smooth and the Band is a well tuned machine. I'm so Grateful for Every Moment I get to spend with "My Friends" I'll keep on posting and I hope you'll keep on checking in.
February 8, 2013
So last night Todd (inspired by a photo Scotty showed him) thought that the band should strike a Rugby pose called the "Haka".
It's what these fierce players do before each game and it gets the crowd going wild. So here are "The Ringo Starr All Blacks Not"
Opening Night: 2/7/13
Well after a LONG flight and a Beautiful afternoon in Auckland we got up yesterday (Feb. 7th ) to fly to Christchurch for our first show and as “Duke” Gregg Rolie put it “after the first two songs it felt as though we never stopped playing together”. I agree completely. The band Rocked and the crowd Loved it. They were up on their feet most of the night and singing along with just about every song. There was a young man in the second row that absolutely Freaked over every solo that Luke played. You forget how much Great music is delivered every night. Thanks to Scotty I’m attaching a couple of photos and I hope to be sending more as we go.
Getting ready to head on to stage. Todd was already up there.
During Richard Page’s “You Are Mine”
I Love that song. And who has the Best Seat in the house?
Yea.. That’ll Be Me.
And here’s Scotty catching a moment on the way to Christchurch.
I do that hope all of my Loving Family & Friends in the Northeast are safe and if you can, stay close to home in this upcoming Storm.
From a Long Way Off… I Miss You
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always…MR
December 15, 2012
So...How AMAZING was it you ask? I'm still getting back to over 150 texts from right after the show and a ton of emails. I had to take two DAYZE off to decompress. It was the single Most Unbelievable gathering of talent I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I’m blessed to have friends that I’ve made along this now 40- year journey that I’m still on (By The Grace Of God) and a number of those are the security personnel at MSG. I’ve always treated them with respect & basic kindness. Let me tell you, Kindness Pays. Thanks to them I stood right on the side of the stage during Bruce’s opening, Roger Waters' set, and right next to Bruce & Patti for the Stones. Patti sang every word and the expression on Bruce’s face said it all. On the way back to the dressing room Jon Bon Jovi said , “Mark, I’m still 17 when I see Mick." And he’s 100% correct. Mick made us all feel like kids when he sang ‘But It’s Alright, Jumpin’ Jack Flash It’s A Gas, Gas, Gaaasss” Running into so many Dear Friends was wonderful. I don’t believe that Anything in this world can do what music does for your souls.
It lifts us up, it makes us cry, and it brings us back to a place in our lives like a snapshot in time. Which brings me to the most powerful part of the evening. Why we were there. I would be remiss if I didn’t remember to mention The Cause. The fact that so many performers took the time out of their schedules to come together to help those in need. The Stones had a show the next night, Bruce’s band had just finished a long leg of a tour and had flown in from Mexico City, The Who would have been on their way home. Instead they all wanted to help. I applaud their effort as well as the members of each crew, who work far longer than ANY of us on stage.
You know who you are and I Love and Respect you All. Finally, Billy Joel. I can’t say enough about how Proud I am to be a part of his Band now for 30 years! His performance was second to none. Watching the audience respond to Every Word was...well, it was like the years past. Thank You Billy for allowing me to be a small part of this wonderful event for such a great cause. In light of Hurricane Sandy and sadly the tragedy in Newton Connecticut just yesterday, we should, no; we Must take the time to be grateful for all the gifts in our lives and in any way that we can, take the time to help lift up anyone that we see in need.
I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, Joy-filled Holiday and I have much Hope for Peace in 2013.
Peace, Hope & Gratitude Always…Mark & Family
December 9, 2012
Well, it's just a few days before The 12/12/12 Benefit Concert and needless to say my phone, texts and emails have been over the top. I'm thrilled to say that it hasn't been your typical "hey man, how ya been..." (pregnant pause...) "so can you hook me up with some tickets?" Instead it's been a constant flow of genuine appreciation of the effort that people like Billy, Bruce, Sir Paul and now the Stones are making to help all those so devastated by Sandy. It's truly a reminder of the fact that we have so much to be grateful for.
When I hear stories about friends giving so much of themselves it helps me regain Faith in our combined Family. Like hearing that my dear friend's sons drove everywhere between Brooklyn and Southern New Jersey to provide generators (they had purchased) to families who had been going without power for days at that point, AND these same two young men bought over $30,000 worth of food and simply gave it where it was most needed. As another dear friend reminded me "These most difficult times showcase the Greatest qualities of Humanity." Humanity, Humility, Compassion and Gratitude are the things I'm taking away from this year as it comes to a close.
My wife and our sons spoke after our Thanksgiving dinner and we decided that there would be no gifts exchanged this Christmas. Instead we're giving what we can to Sandy's Relief. I hope that wherever you are on 12/12/12 that with your eyes and ears you enjoy the performances. And at the same time, with your heart and soul you give what you can to help those who are so much in need of your Kindness & Generosity.
Peace, Hope, Love & Gratitude Always...MR and Family
August 22, 2012
Where do I begin?
We’ve lost one of the dearest human beings ever put on this earth. Bob Birch is gone and I’ve been unable to find the words that might describe how I feel. The entire time that we spent touring with Billy & Elton, Bob and I were inseparable.
We shared so much together, but most of all we shared our love of family and music. Hours and hours after each show we’d be writing songs, listening to tunes, watching old videos that reminded us what it was that got us going in the first place.
But at the end of it all, we would reflect on our families. And with that I want to send my love to Michelle & Jonathan Birch. All I can say is the one thing on this earth that gave Bob the most joy was Jonathan. We would talk about our sons and each of us would be filled with so much happiness in the others stories. As I write these words I know how far short they come to expressing what it is that I’m feeling right at this moment.
I Miss You Bob!
To all of you that have sent me emails, voicemails & texts ... I apologize for not getting back as I simply couldn’t. I hope that you understand and forgive me.
Bob Birch, A wonderful man, an amazing father, a loving husband and a friend that will never leave my side.
July 22, 2012
To the boys in the band ...
Gents, Thank God I don't have to sing tomorrow because I can hardly speak. I miss you ALL already and I've never felt like this the night before heading home to my family. And, speaking of family ... Get Ready, 'cause as of now Y'All ARE my Family. I have never been so connected to a group of "miss-fits" as this. I am humbled & honored to call you ALL my dear friends. I love you and I thank you for making me work so hard to bring my best each & every night. With all my heart... I'm Gonna Miss You!
Peace & Gratitude...MR
July 21, 2012
OK. So I don’t know if I’ve been putting this post off for so long because I just didn’t want to admit it, or maybe I thought that if I didn’t post this it wouldn’t happen so quickly... At any rate, here I am in my hotel room just getting back from Humphrey’s in San Diego. We took our last flight on “Air-Ringo” (The Only Way To Fly) and it’s sinking in. I’m going to miss these Friends more than I ever imagined. Ringo stood behind Luke and I (we’re ALWAYS together) and with his arms around us he began to tell the band how much he Loved this tour, these Friends and this entire experience. When the man speaks, it’s from the Heart.
I know that I speak for all of us when I say that I’ve never felt so much a part of a Band, and that’s the Amazing thing, because just seven weeks ago some of us hadn’t even met. And now I can’t even describe what I’m feeling. Scotty took some photos on the plane so I’ll ask him nicely to send them to me so that you can see what I’m talking about. I will try to do a bit more to describe some of the particular songs and shows but for now, all I can say is Thank You Ringo for being the Most Engaging person that I’ve Ever had the pleasure to have known. And with All my Heart & Soul I look forward to the next time that we might share a stage. It’s an Honor my Friend.
Peace & Gratitude…Mark
June 17, 2012
Happy Fathers Day!
Well, to say the least, last nights show was Amazing... To be in the middle of all the history of Woodstock, with Ringo and a Gentleman that actually performed there 43 years ago (Gregg Rolie) was like a Trip back in time. (Yes, I did say Trip). You can't help but feel all the Peace & Love Vibes and if I sound like an Old Hippie then I Hope to Wear My Tie-Dyed with pride. I'll be putting up some photos from the show to show off my New Tie-Dyed scarf that Ringo was kind enough to buy me at the Woodstock Museum. Every night the Band gets Tighter, not only in the musical sense but as a group of Friends enjoying each moment that we get to share. I'll keep the blogs & photos coming so check back. I've said this before, but I'll say it again, I'm Living The Dream...
Peace, Love & Gratitude...MR
June 6, 2012
Well... It's been a LONG and Crazy time since I've posted so I hope you'll forgive me.
I'm currently up in Canada getting ready for Day Three of Ringo's rehearsals, which happen to be going at an unbelievable pace. The band members if you don't know by now are: Steve Lukather (Toto), Todd Rundgren (Todd), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), Gregg Bissonette, this very active young drummer from Liverpool and myself. We've already gotten through all but four songs in the set and it's Kickin' Butt! It never ceases to amaze me how no matter what anyone's background may be, once they're in Ringo's company the level of Respect and the flat out admiration for the man comes shining through.
AND, with All of this going on, I'm still planning to release my First Single "Turn Me Loose" on June 21. It's been getting great response from everyone who's heard it so I'm hoping the Good Vibes keep on coming. I'll have a shot of the artwork this week so please check back and I Promise... It won't be a long time between posts ever again.
Peace Love & Gratitude...MR
February 8, 2012
Well... Today is a Big day! Ringo is officially announcing his 13th All Starr lineup as well as the tour dates. I'm Thrilled to once again be his Musical Director but I must say, I'm just Thrilled to share the stage with my Friend. Ringo's 2012 is out and his interviews and live performances were great. Here's a link to "Wings" from the Conan show last week.
This is an Historic week for any and all Beatles fans as tomorrow will mark the 48th anniversary of their debut performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show". It was Awesome! I'm sure that I'm not alone in saying I can remember it like it was yesterday. Man did I want those Boots.
Speaking of CD's and debuts lots of my friends have been asking about my CD and when it will be out. I'm hoping to have it done in the next couple of months so that I can get it out by mid May. It's sounding Great and I have some very special "Guests" joining me.
Check out the Upcoming Dates and come on out!
Peace, Love & Gratitude...MR
January 2, 2012
"Happy New Year first of all" - Jimi Hendrix, Fillmore East 69'-70'.
As I look back, it's been an Amazing year. New friends and band mates, the beginning of my own CD, (which by the way will feature some Very dear friends), and the realization that there has always been so much in the past to keep safe. I'm so grateful for the love of family & friends who have been the foundation of my life. People I love and respect showing confidence in me, which gives me great joy, and at the same time, sadly watching the passing of Loved ones. Reflecting back of all those that have been gone for so long, I've loved them all... "I Miss You Ray" (from Nils Lofgren's new CD). Looking forward, this New Year promises to bring wonderful opportunities to all those brave enough to believe in themselves and know that we have the strength and power to change any and every thing in our lives. Let's get Busy making it Better.
Peace, Love, Hope & Gratitude Always...MR & Family
November 24, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone…
The tour was fantastic but, I must say... It's great to be back home.
Looking back on the last week it doesn't quite seem real. November 16th had us flying out of Rio De Janeiro, into Belo Horiznote to do a show and then right back on the jet to Brazilia. (Did I mention that I Love this gig). Belo Horizonte was another GA room that felt like a huge gymnasium. And they were there to Rock. As Wally Palmar put it, it was like playing for a sporting event. Everybody shoulder to shoulder, rocking back & forth to each song and watching what became more and more obvious. Somehow there was a Social Media craze with pictures of Ringo's face as well as Stars and Peace signs throughout the crowd. I'm talking about thousands of people flashing the same photos and waving yellow balloons during Yellow Submarine. It was a trip! Words won't describe what it looked like, so I'm waiting to get some photos from our faithful Scotsman, Scott Ritchie he looked after the band and took photos from behind the scenes.
Next stop was Brazilia. Now this city looked like something out of "The Jetsons". It was built between 1956-60 and it became the Capitol of Brazil. This gig was a smaller venue but it was PACKED! Hot & Humid.. Just like we like it. By the end of the show I'm drenched and Ringo is doing jumping jacks to close the show. You can't help but get inspired by a man that's literately been through it ALL and giving it up every night.
Finally, we're in Recife the night before the last gig and Ringo invites the band for dinner.
We're sitting at a long table and Ringo opens the evening by thanking the band for such a wonderful tour and for all of our efforts and enthusiasm. I'm thinking to myself its like Santa Claus thanking the children for allowing him to bring them toys. I've said this time and time again but I'll say it again... I've never been so honored and humbled to call someone my friend. Thank You Again My Friend!
I'm gonna leave at that for now and hope to get photos of the last shows.
I once again want to wish Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
We All have So Much to be Thankful For!
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always...MR & Family
November 16, 2011
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Well it's been a crazy week to say the least! So, let me try to recap...
We've been traveling in "Mad Style" on a privet jet. It's a blast spending time together with the band. Edgar & I listen to a lot of music and I kinda pick his brain about the Greatest Horn Band Ever, "White Trash". As I've said before, with Edgar it's ALL about the love of music. He truly is a joy to spend time with.
The gig in Porto Alegerae was great! They had their own version of the Ringo Cheer that had the whole band listening and wondering how they had it so together. I mean it was like listening to a choir. And, speaking of a choir, Richard Page has "Brazil-ified" the groove and his vocal on “Broken Wings” has gotten so deep it's hard to describe.
Next we get on to the "Gee 4" and fly to Sao Paulo. What a ride! The first show was another General Admission with what I like to call a five thousand plus mosh pit swaying to the music. There were a number of people being helped over the security gates from exhaustion but no one seemed to mind. On the side of the stage by the mix board I saw a few extra people digging the set. As it turns out it was John & Roger Taylor from Duran, Duran. The next afternoon we got together in the hotel lobby and caught up. I must say John is one of the nicest people I've ever met. For the next show Greg Bissonette invited Stewart Copland (from the Police) and he too rocked to Ringo's beat! After all, Ringo did set this whole thing in motion.
Last night we played to a packed house in Rio De Janeiro. Again the crowd was packed in and they sang every word. It seems to get better every night and as I look to my left I see a man at 71 still doing what we all loved when we were 17...
It really is just a number... And it doesn't define who we are.
Peace & Gratitude Always...MR
November 8, 2011
Buenos Aries, Argentina
Just when you think it can't get better we do two KILLER shows in Buenos Aires!
The first show was Amazing with about 7,500 people in proper seats singing every word (and then some). And then kick it up a notch...with about 9,500 people in a General Admission surrounding following every turn, chanting Ringo's name (their new found Hero), and making up mass harmonies for Wally's "Talkin' In Your Sleep"... what a blast. It was a sea of humanity, swaying back & forth without missing a beat. I won't event begin to try and pick out a song that stood out as the favorite but they were tuned In from before the first beat. My dear friend Jimmy Rip has been living here for some time and he said the crowds in Buenos Aries are like nothing he'd ever seen. (And he's seen some amazing crowds...) I must say, I agree! It was like nothing I'd ever seen before! Again, watching Ringo's smile and his genuine appreciation reminds us ALL just how blessed we are to still be doing what we love, for those who love it. If you take a look at some of the photos you'll see what I mean. We love it! I'll keep trying to convey what's happening down here, but honestly, it's much more than I can express. I Love My Job! No... I Love My Life!
Peace, Love & Gratitude...MR
November 4, 2011
Movistar Arena, Santiago Chile:
Olay, Olay, Olay, Olay... Ring-O Ring-O.
The entire crowd was singing at the top of their range. Cheering their favorite "Star" Ringo. He loved it, We loved it. What a beautiful atmosphere. Once again the band was spot on and the energy from the room was contagious. I have to mention Richard Page. Before "Kyrie" he spoke about a time he'd been in Chile in 1988. He was incredibly humble referring to a time of turmoil and he spoke about the beauty of the country as well as the strength of its people. And then, when it came time to sing "Broken Wings" he took it to an entirely different place. What a voice! Well done my friend. And speaking of friends, on the ride back to the hotel I sat next to Edgar Winter. We spoke about a number of things, but with Edgar, it always comes back to the music. I must say, I don't believe I've ever been around anyone who has more love for what God has Blessed him with. Yea Edgar..."That's what I'm talkin' bout!"
I Love this band and everyone involved in it. I have So Much to be thankful for.
Peace, Love and Gratitude...MR
November 1, 2011
Viva Mexico! What an unbelievable opening night. As the band took the stage you could feel the excitement in the room. We were getting in place and the crowd of over nine thousand was already chanting "Ringo, Ringo". Then Greg counts in “It Don't Come Easy” and they're up on their feet with their arms in the air and finally, as Ringo runs on to the stage the sound of the cheering is at a pitch that I haven't heard in years. The show had magic and the audience sang and danced to every song. During “Dream Weaver” it looked like a sea of lighters and the emotions carried on throughout the set. From my point of view (just to the right of Ringo) I saw him beaming and just doing what he loves to do. I can't even begin to explain the feeling of being back sharing that stage with him.
We're headed to Chile today so I'll be writing after each show.
Peace, Love. & Gratitude...MR
October 31, 2011 - Happy Halloween!
Well... I'm Back in the Band. I'm Thrilled to be joining Ringo and the All Starrs. The first week of rehearsal went incredibly well. Getting the opportunity to play sax with Edgar Winter, singing background vocals with Richard Page and did I mention I'm on stage with the Greatest Drummer Ever... It's like nothing else. I'll be posting updates and photos every chance I get.
Peace & Gratitude Always...MR
October 2, 2011
The past 10 days have been hectic to say the least but at the same time I’ve been blessed with the realization of just how lucky we actually are. They say that Giving of oneself brings the Greatest Joy. I must say that I found that out first hand. Let me recap my travels. Friday Sept. 23, I got down to DC for our annual Casey Cares Rock n’ Roll Bash, a Foundation that I’ve been involved with for nine years now. We help raise money for the families of children that have life threatening illnesses. I met with the main sponsors and went over the flow of the show. The show, which took place on Sept. 24th, was a Blast and a HUGE success. The band this year consisted of Jeff Carlisi (38 Special), Hugh McDonald (Bon Jovi), Tommy Byrnes (Billy Joel), Jeff Kazee, (Southside Johnny), Derrick St. Holmes (Ted Nugent), Anton Fig, (David Letterman Band), My Queen… Christine Ohlman (Saturday Night Live) and yours truly. We played two Rockin’ sets and spent time with the families of those that matter the most...the kids! The morning after I met with a man who thanked me with a warm smile and a hug for all that we had done. He said it was the first time he’d been able to attend. I found out after that he had a daughter who battled cancer and passed away. My Heart & Love goes out to all those loving families.
That morning I flew to Denver to play with 50 Amp Fuse/Your Generation in concert for what was the opposite end of the spectrum, a gala for the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. The party and band were great, but it certainly made for a different mindset. We Rocked it like only 50 Amp can!
Then I flew to Greensboro NC to do a gig and help a friend raise money and awareness for “The Rock N' Rotary”. This Rotary club has been raising funds for a number of different charities for some time. The particular charity that I became involved with is called Bell House. They currently house twenty-two people ranging from their mid-twenties to one man who just celebrated his eightieth birthday! The one thing they all have in common is that they all suffer from Cerebral Palsy. So I went to visit Bell House to sing a song or two. The strength and courage these people have is astonishing. They function in an environment that enables them to live a life with the least restrictions possible. That is all because of the care and dedication of the staff. Jen, Carley, Carrie, Jeni, Elsie, Nancy, April, Aisha and if I’ve left anyone out PLEASE forgive me. As I mentioned at the top of this blog giving brings the greatest joy...
I had no idea how much until I started. I sang Billy’s “This Is The Time” and explained how fortunate we are having people around us that care. As soon as I started playing the response was overwhelming. Then I spoke about the next song “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, a song that I Always dedicate to my wife Sandra and our children, and how Love is the Key to Life. As I got to the second verse my emotions took over and I’m not ashamed to admit I cried and barely got through it. But in the end the cheers and laughter filled the room and my being like nothing else.
I would like to thank some new very dear friends who live in Bell House.
Mike, Brian, Chris, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, John and my Main Man Carl. I Love you ALL. Those that I might not have mentioned, again, forgive me and I will post your names very soon. Finally, I’d like to thank those that put this wonderful event together. Starting with the man who called me and just took a shot… Al Caps. Thank you for allowing me to see that there ARE still so many people who care.
Also, Cory, Tim, Chad & Justin. And last but not least, I would like to thank the Rotary for making me an Honorary Rotarian. I am truly honored and humbled by all of your efforts.
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always…MR & Family
September 9, 2011
Madison Square Garden, October 20th, 2001:
I’ve performed for much larger crowds but nothing will ever compare to that evening. It was truly a Night of Stars. From Mick Jagger & Keith Richards to Billy Joel and of course Sir Paul McCartney. Naturally Billy received an amazing ovation for our set, which included “New York State Of Mind” but once “The Who” took the stage you knew that it was Full On! I remember sitting just to the side of the stage as The Garden erupted. I can only tell you that witnessing New York’s Finest NYPD and in my opinion, Her Bravest FDNY sitting on each others shoulders singing and crying to “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
This September 11th will mark the 10th Anniversary of the most tragic event in our Nation’s history. My participation with Bernie Williams and The Mount Kisco Fire Department will be a small way of honoring those that gave of themselves without hesitation. Making sure that we TRULY “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
Peace, Gratitude and God Bless America…MR & Family
August 20, 2011
Finally… I’ve taken the time out to put my own CD together. It’s been TOO long coming, but the Stars Aligned So I Seized The Moment! Literally!
I had been waiting for a Dear Friend and Amazing musician to drive this project and finally, he was available. The Man behind his kit is Charley Drayton. I can’t begin to explain the sheer joy that Charley brings to any situation. Add to that the fact that I had been waiting for another irreplaceable thread in this tapestry who just happened to be on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. That’s Steve Conte.
On keyboard is my longtime partner in crime Jeff Kazee and I couldn’t think of anyone to hold the bottom together like John Conte on bass. I can’t write another word without giving credit to the man that Never gave up on me. We’ve been putting tracks together and recording on other peoples albums (yea, they used to be called albums) for over thirty years and now… we’re doing Mine. He’s Jimmy Bralower. I Thank You Brother! So, after ALL this time where should we go to do it? Of course back to where Jimmy & I did Peter Gabriel’s SO. What was once “The Power Station”is now Avatar Studios. SO Jimmy calls his longtime friend Tino Passante, who miraculously gets us in the last two days before Steve has to head back to Amsterdam. With just two days to get through ten songs we get to work. I can only say that the band, (and from the first downbeat they were a band) was 100% Ready to Rock! We were so lucky to have Roy Hendrickson engineering the sessions as well as Charlie Kramskybehind the computer. I can’t forget to mention the man that helped us in coordinating this, someone I’ve known for almost thirty years, Joe D’Ambrosio.
I’ll be posting photos and short clips as I collect them so PLEASE stay with me.
If you can’t tell, I’m happier then I’ve been in years and I have my Dearest Friends and most of all My Family to Thank for their support.
I Truly Love Every One of You.
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always…MR
July 16, 2011
Well it's hard to believe that it's been three years since Billy's "Last Play At Shea". Looking back at these photos I'm reminded how exciting it was. As I mentioned if only my Mom & Dad could have been there but then as so many Friends mentioned "They Were". Tonight Sir Paul will be playing his second show at Yankee Stadium (Derek's House) I won't accept any arguments regarding that comment.
The summer has been very busy and it look like I'll be out and about until the New Year. I'll be explaining that a bit more as the schedule gets firmed up. This Sunday's gig with Bernie Williams & Friends will be at Wampus Park in Armonk NY at 7pm. It should be a blast so get your blankets & beach chairs and enjoy!
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always...MR
July 1, 2011
That’s Right… It’s July!
Hey All. I had the Absolute Pleasure of sharing the stage with my Dear Friend Nils Lofgren on Wednesday night June 29th at The Tarrytown Music Hall. It was Nils and the wonderfully talented Greg Varlotto on Guitar, Keys, Vocals and Tap. Nils, as always Blew me away. His Sound and the choice of songs were perfect. I won’t give too much away but… he did a tune in which he plays a lovely harp, (Thanks to Amy) Tap dances and used the stage as a Big bass drum… And It Rocked! To say the least Nils had my smiling back stage talking about our past and then during his set he had me in tears with a beautiful song originally written for Ray Charles that he turned into a Song For Clarence. Having people in our lives that we Know & Love so Dearly reminds us just how Precious the time that we spend together actually is. I Thank you for that my Friend. I think the photos from the show (Thanks to Kristin) will show how a small stage can bring So Much Joy.
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always…MR
June 19, 2011
Happy Fathers Day first of all!
Today, I celebrate the Joys of Fatherhood the Love of my Family and miss those no longer with us. In particular, I miss my Father, Deider Rivera. If I could choose ANYWHERE I’d want to be brought up and by who it would be in Brooklyn New York and by Deider & Angela Rivera. I learned to Love, Respect, and Care for others and those are the three most important things we can do. I hope you can reflect on your Family and find that much Joy.
I also want to take a moment to remember a Friend and a true inspiration.
“The Big Man”, Clarence Clemons who passed much too quickly. The entire Music Family Lost a Great one yesterday and I only pray that his Family as well as Bruce’s Loving Family of Band Mates can find Peace. Let’s all try to celebrate Clarence’s life and keep that HUGE sound in our Hearts forever. I’ll be posting about my last month’s journey but I felt these words couldn’t wait.
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always…MR & Family
Posted: May 28, 2011 - Ringo Rehearsals: Day 2.
It’s only the second day so far and to say the least things are going Great! The band is playing like they've been together all this time and Ringo’s vibe is like a kid in a Toyshop. I still get a bit taken back with how incredibly open our relationship is, and how he just puts everyone at ease. Today before rehearsal started he and Barbara invited us to their beautiful home for an amazing lunch. We walked the grounds for about a half an hour and Ringo took great pride in showing us the gardens he’d put together. Barbara gave us a tour of her stables and finally we took a look at Ringo’s studio. What a trip... Again, you felt so comfortable the entire time. Lunch was beautiful in the atrium and conversation was about everything you wouldn’t expect… but exactly what I’ve grown to expect from both he & Barbara. It’s hard to explain what it’s like having them for friends. I am truly grateful for that.
At the end of rehearsal Ringo pulled me aside and said, “I know it’s a lot to ask…but would you please join us for the final run-thru and the first gig in Kiev?” Of course I said Yes! I’m sure that until then I’ll have lots more to tell about.
One thing though… I will NOT be able to be at the Midtown Theater next weekend so I have to apologize in advance for that. I WILL be back the following weekend, June 10th & 11th, and I’m sure that I’ll have a bunch of stories to share!
Again, I must say that I am So Blessed!
I Wish You All Peace & Love.
With Gratitude Always…MR
Posted: May 18, 2011
Greeting from Las Vegas…
May has been an unbelievably busy month (and I’m thrilled for that). I’ve joined forces again with IEP in conjunction with PRG and we were the production team for the celebration of Coca Cola’s 125th Anniversary. That took place on May 7th in Atlanta. I had the pleasure of working with Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson, K’naan, Ne-Yo, and One Night Only. The show was Over the Top and I’ll be sending along some photos of the stage as well as a link to the event itself.
From Atlanta I flew to Las Vegas for a gig with IEP for the unveiling of Dimension Data’s new brand identity. It was projected onto the Tropicana Hotel and we kicked off an hour set. It Rocked!
From Vegas I flew to DC for a gig with The Superstar Factory at the Rock and Roll Hotel - and the hotel did Rock! From there we drove down to Virginia for our son’s Graduation from VT. Yes… I am a Very Proud Dad. We packed his room up and drove back home (eight hours) and had a wonderful night TOGETHER. That means the world to us.
And this morning I’m headed back to Las Vegas for another gig with The Superstar Factory.
BUT…The Big News for May is my upcoming trip to London, to MD Ringo’s All Starr Band once again. Every time he calls I remember how Blessed my career has been and thankfully still is. I’ll be sending photos from London at the end of the month and I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to write about!
Peace, Love & Gratitude Always…MR
POSTED: March 31, 2011
PLEASE remind me… Never predict the weather again.
It’s almost April and we’re still looking at snow.
Anyway… I’m thrilled to say that I’ve been very busy this past month and it looks like It will be carrying over. Since the last posting I’ve had the pleasure to rekindle some old friendships. I played the Walsh Paddy Party March 3rd, and to say the least Ed knows how to throw a Party. I went to Maui with Michael Cavanaugh from March 7th -10th, not long enough, but I did enjoy two days on the beach. Got back to JFK at 6:15 pm Friday the 11th and was on stage with NYC Dueling Pianos at 10:00. Talk about running on fumes! The gigs have been sold out every weekend and the crowds have been Great! That’s The Midtown Theater 163 W 46th St. every Friday & Saturday night through April.
March 22nd had Michael Cavanaugh back together with David Rosenthal, Chuck Burgi and myself for a NYC gig. And, for three Thursdays, March 24, 31 & April 7 my “Little Big Band” is Rockin’ The Dublin Pub in Morristown. If it’s OK, I’d like to give a very special shout out to a dear friend, Finn Wentworth. He’s been the soul of the Dublin Pub gigs. Thank You Finn!
March 27th had me at the Crown Plaza in NJ for “The Fest For Beatle Fans” and I had a Blast! Got to sing some songs with Liverpool, and was Blown Away by Joey Molland of “Badfinger”. Man those songs have stood the test of time and Joey simply transforms on stage. He’s out there like a twenty year old, with a big smile, great guitar, playing and singing the hits. Well done Joey, I hope to share a stage with you again soon.
Speaking of sharing a stage, I played with Gary Wright, The Dream Weaver himself. Again, great tunes the people loved. And, of course Mark Hudson. The energy he brings to the stage is unbelievable. He’d call out tunes and the band was off and running. Long Tall Sally, I’m Down, Oh Darlin’ and then a torched version of Working Class Hero. We jammed for about and hour and then I headed home. I’d like to thank Mark Lapidos once again for the opportunity to remember the night the lads changed my life.
Peace, Love & Gratitude…MR
POSTED: February 14, 2011
Happy Valentines Day All,
I think we just might be thawing out a bit from the clutches of “Old Man Winter”.
It’s been a crazy busy time for me and it seems to be carrying over into the up coming months. First of all The Midtown Theater gigs, NYC Dueling Pianos have been sold-out and thanks to our connection with Groupon.com we’ll be packed every Friday & Saturday. This past weekend I had the pleasure of working with a few long time friends, Wade Preston, (Movin’ Out) and Joe Bellia (Southside Jonny) and the band covered everything from, Sledgehammer to Sweet Caroline and tons of Rock & Soul from The Beatles, Billy, Bruce, The Stones Temptations and the list just keeps on growing. We’ve put together a Show that has everyone singing and dancing All Night Long. http://www.nycduelingpianos.net is the link to the show so PLEASE get connected and come on out.
Another great gig is “The Little Big Band” playing at the Dublin Pub in Morristown the next two Thursday nights. Thanks to some very special Friends we had the place Jumpin’. As I’ve said before Jim Nuzzo calls the tunes and Buddy Allen & Joe Bellia put it in the pocket and we kind of lose track of where we are for about three hours. We get to enjoy tunes that we never get to do, which is a Blast.
I’ve also joined forces with a wonderful company called Face the Music, http://www.facethemusicblues.com/ and I’ll be doing a bunch of gigs for corporations that allows the work force to look into the challenges they are faced with and resolve them through music. I’m certain that there will be a bunch of postings and photos in the near future.
With all of this good fortune I would like to take a moment to send Love and a Prayer for Hope & Peace for those that have suffered losses of Loved Ones.
My Dearest Friends and you know who you are…
We Love You and hope that you remember, We’re Always with you.
Peace, Love & Hope Always…MR & Family
POSTED: November 11, 2010
I know... I NEED to get better at this…and I promise, I will!
I must say that I have been very busy. (Thank God!) Starting as far back as September 25th.
I had the absolute pleasure of participating in The Casey Cares Foundation 8th Annual Rock n’ Roll Bash. It was A BLAST. The Rockin’ Soul Stars (Featuring: Jeff Kazee, Steve Conte, Jeff Carlisi, Anton Fig, Christine Ohlman & myself) kicked it off with an hour set. Followed by an Unbelievable Set by Night Ranger. I had a chance to get back together with some very dear Friends, Jack Blades & Kelly Keagy. I sat in on High Enough (I know that’s a Damn Yankees tune) but I got to play the solo on Tenor Sax. It Kicked Butt. I’m still waiting for some photos and video to post.
Then in October, it was off to Scotland’s famous Skibo Castle. A very dear friend jetted a small group out for the Time of Our Lives. It was a small private affair with a group that I have since become very close to.
Thank you Finn & Kim for your incredible kindness, and friendship. It means the World to Us.
October also brought about the expansion of the Novita gigs. It’s now “The Little Big Band” featuring Jim Nuzzo, Joe Balia, Buddy Allen and yours truly. The repertoire has expanded and I sometimes lose track of where we are.
I must say though, 0n November 6th, in a hole in the wall of a club, “The Rock n’ Roll Hotel” in DC I had what had to be The Best Night Ever. The Rockin’ Soul Stars (Jeff Kazee, Tommy Byrnes, Anton Fig, John Conte, Chris Anderson, Neal “The Dude” Pawley and “My Queen” Christine Ohlman) were joined by Colin Hay (Men At Work) and Rick Derringer (Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo)
for three sets of Undeniable Rock & Soul. I have only a few photos to share BUT there are more on the way.
As Tommy & Jeff said… I need to be singing these great tunes and putting this band out there. And I will have some dates in December… And That’s a Fact!
Peace, Love & Hope Always…MR
POSTED: AUGUST 31, 2010
Well… That flew by! As September closes in I have a bunch of exciting news to share. I’ve been performing with three bands lately and I enjoy each one a great deal. First is “Da Guize” featuring Jon Cobert, Ira Segal, Denny McDermott & Seth Glassman. We’ve done about four gigs and it’s an Awesome cross-section of songs from The Beatles to Traffic and Everything in between. Secondly, my long time friend Jimmy Nuzzo & I have been doing a Piano/Sax duo that has now turned into a full band and the repertoire continues to expand from Billy Joel to Steely Dan. And I’ve been playing pretty steadily with “Big Shot” which in my opinion is the Best Billy Joel© cover band out there. The lead singer Michael Del Gudice Rocks it from Billy to Led Zeppelin.
BUT… The next project is the one I’m most excited about. It involves a group of very dear and talented Friends including Jeff Kazee (Bon Jovi and longtime Southside Johnny keyboard & vocalist), Andy York (John Mellencamp, Ian Hunter) Christine Ohlman aka “The Beehive Queen” (Saturday Night Live, Moheagan Sun All-Stars) just to mention a few. I hope to combine “Rock Speaks” (where we have a small group forum talking thru the process of live & recording sessions) with a kind of “Walk Through My Career” (performing a list of songs that I’ve had the pleasure to have recorded). I have a couple of venues that I’m looking into and these dates will be up shortly.
On another note, I’m working to put together an organization called “Music, Because It Matters” wherein I’ll take the time to visit inner-city schools and try to give the kids something to look forward to after school. As we all know, the arts as well as sports programs are the first to be cut so I’m doing my share to help out. I’ll be listing the schools that will be involved. I’ll be returning to see my friends at New Rochelle middle and high schools and it has already put a smile back on my face.
That’s about it for now but I will keep you posted.
Peace, Love & Hope...MR
My Summer Vacation by Mark Rivera
POSTED: JULY 31, 2010
It started out June 12th in Canada at the Fallsview Casino. It was beautiful and right from the start it was high energy. Again, I was there putting together Ringo’s All Starr Band. This year’s lineup had me reacquainted with some very dear friends. Ringo of course, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Gary Wright, Greg Bisonette as well as some new friends, Richard Page and Wally Palmar. The “Work” was unbelievable.
From day one everyone immediately played like they had been together for some time. It’s always exciting to see how Star’s join a band with a Starr and it becomes Larger than any one of us imagine it might be. Well… Rehearsals were sailing along and at about a week in, we’re way ahead of schedule and while I’m on stage I get a call from as he said “Your Old Pal Joe Walsh”. OK now I’m Rehearsing Ringo and Joe asks me to keep it Low Key, that “Paul, you know Paul right?” really Joe said that, Paul wanted me to put a band together to surprise Ringo and perform “Birthday” for his 70th Birthday on July 7th at Radio City in NYC. Now This to me is Cool. So I say… No Problem. Now, you’ve gotta know that the biggest problem I have is that I wanted to tell EVERYONE!!! But the “true professional” as Ringo calls me kept in Down Low. About a week later I speak to Edgar, Greg & Rick and tell them the news. So now it’s four of us who’s heads are about to bust… but we’re Cool.
The first two weeks of shows went over great. The crowds loved it and the band got tighter every night. In the meanwhile I’m coordinating the rehearsal at Radio City and that means getting the crew, the gear that had to be hidden during Ringo’s show as well as you know “Sir Paul” together. I’m Chilled but it’ getting to be crunch time. So now it’s 2:15 July 7th and I’m at Radio City with Joe, Edgar, Rick and Greg, and Paul shows up… and in about seven minutes we felt like a Band as well. I’m Lovin’ My Life and Paul asks me to sing through one pass of “Birthday” while he sorts out the form on his bass.
You see, I’m singing “Birthday” and Paul’s my Bass Player! There are no words…
Move ahead to 5:00 and now the rest of the All Starr’s get there as well as Ringo and we do a sound check. On that night I was sitting in on “Photograph” so we ran that down last and then, NO it didn’t get easier. I worked out all the details which included having Ringo’s son Jason and two of Ringo’s Grandchildren bringing out a Drum Kit Birthday Cake. It was Awesome. All the guests joining us for “A Little Help From, My Friends”
That list alone included Yoko Ono, Jim Keltner, Gary Brooker, Paul Carrack, Colin Hay and the list went on. Oh yes, joining us on drums was Zak Starrkey. It was great to see Zak. Then keeping Ringo coming back and forth stage right after the show and making sure he didn’t run off as he normally would. Once we got the OK from the crew, Edgar, Rick, Greg & I returned from stage right and Sir Paul entered stage left and the place erupted. In that instant Ringo’s eyes lit up like a boy on Christmas and he came running out, grabbed a set of sticks (that Jeff Chonis had just in case) and made a
Dream come True for All of Us.
I just wanted to thank everyone involved with what has become a Wonderful and Blessed Summer. And I’d like to especially Thank “Richard The First” as I refer to him, Mr. Starrkey for your Friendship as well as your Confidence.
Peace & Love Always…MR & Family