Praising Tom Petty
Local musicians to play benefit concert honouring late rockstar
There will be lot of familiar faces in the crowd on Halloween, feeling a whole lot better about the passing of rock icon Tom Petty.
A group of musicians from across Saskatchewan are putting on a series of tribute shows to pay homage to the late rocker while raising money for charity.
The idea to hold a charity tribute show was first put forward by Regina musician and show producer Val Halla. Local musician Shayne Lazarowich gave her a call and pitched the idea of putting together a series of shows.
Each show is named after a Tom Petty song. Since the P.A. event falls on Halloween, it’s been named ‘Zombie Zoo.’
Funds raised from all five shows will be split between four charities: The Red Cross hurricane relief fund, Music Heals, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the National Compassion Fund Las Vegas.
Finding artists to participate wasn’t a challenge.
“We might have to start a little earlier than panned because there are so many people who want to be involved, which is cool,” Lazarowich said.
“The idea is to come out, play some songs, it’s not a huge commitment to play a few songs, but I really appreciate all the musicians doing it. Everyone is performing pro bono.”
The Halloween theme is also working itself into a contest for best costume. You don’t have to dress as Tom Petty, though “that would be pretty cool,” Lazarowich laughed.
One of the artists coming out to both the Prince Albert and Saskatoon shows in Gord Vaadeland.
He is also MC-ing the night, and will perform songs solo and with his band, One Bridge Town.
For Vaadeland, it was an easy decision to sign up for the tribute concert. He went to Milwaukee this summer with his partner to run down the dream of seeing Tom Petty live.
“We’re glad we did,” Vaadeland said. “When he announced the tour, it was really something we wanted to do. So when Shayne was looking for performers he came and asked me because he knew I was a big fan.”
Along with Vaadeland and One Bridge Town, the Prince Albert concert will feature Soulfather, LJ Tyson, All Mighty Voice, Gary O Xperiment, Soul Shakedown, Mary’s New Car, Life is Good, Cal Halla, Shayne Lazarowich, Sabrina Demyen and Liza Brown.
While a lot of rock and pop legends have been lost over the past few years, none stick out in terms of response as much as Tom Petty, at least in Vaadeland’s mind.
“I haven’t seen this sort of reaction to an artist passing away since Johnny Cash in 2003,” he said.
‘Some musicians become legends when they die. Some are already legends before that. Then, there’s this whole other level, and that’s the realm where Tom Petty exists. He’s up there with the all time greats.”
Vaadeland thinks Tom Petty will be a part of the musical conversation for years to come.
“Thirty to forty years from now we’re still going to be talking about and listening to Tom Petty,” he said, “and people are going to be talking about how they were influenced by Tom Petty. It’s because of his long term-impact, having hits in the ‘80s, ‘90s and 200s, doing things his own way and taking on the record companies.
“All the things he did brought him to another level. That’s pretty rare.”
The Tom Petty Zombie Zoo Halloween Show is scheduled for Tuesday, October 31 at the Rock Trout Café. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. The show is expected to sell out. Tickets are available at the Rock Trout Café.
Tom Petty, pictured here, passed away on October 2