May 1, 2013
WESFEST 8 BENEFIT CONCERT RAISES $27,000
FOR WES WEHMILLER SCHOLARSHIP FUND
AT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
* 8th annual event breaks all previous years’ fundraising results
* Epiphone “Thunderhorse” Explorer Guitar and Gallien-Krueger MB500
given away to two lucky fans
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 1, 2013) – WesFest 8, the eighth annual WesFest benefit concert, took place at The Roxy in Los Angeles on March 3, 2013. For the second year in a row, the concert and related fundraising drive broke all previous records and raised more than $27,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee College of Music. The total amount generated by the WesFest initiative since its inception in 2006 has now exceeded $175,000.
Officially supported this year by corporate sponsors Epiphone Guitars, Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, DW Drums, and Studio Instrument Rentals, the WesFest concert series has made the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship one of the leading awards for performance majors at Berklee College Of Music. Established by Wes’ family and friends in 2005, the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series serves as the centerpiece for a continuing fundraising drive for the scholarship fund, which honors the legacy of Wehmiller, a Berklee graduate (‘92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January, 2005.
“We’re grateful to everyone who donated their time and efforts to make this year’s event an unprecedented success,” says WesFest producer Bryan Beller, “and especially for our sponsors, who had a big hand in making it possible.” Two lucky fans walked away with a Gallien-Krueger MB500 bass amp, and an Epiphone “Thunderhorse” Explorer guitar.
The WesFest 8 concert was headlined by Brendon Small’s Galaktikon, the critically acclaimed side-project led by the creative mastermind behind the smash-hit animated [adult swim] TV showMetalocalypse and the band Dethklok. It was the all-star 11-piece band’s debut live performance, featuring guitarists Jude Gold (Jefferson Starship, Billy Sheehan), Mike Keneally (Dethklok, Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani), Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor, Carly Simon), and Small himself; keyboardist/guitarist Walter Ino; bassist Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Steve Vai, The Aristocrats); and vocalists Ben Thomas (Zappa Plays Zappa), Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride), Ali Handal (Neil Young, Paul Williams) and Jude Crossen (Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour, Phil Perry).
In a long-standing WesFest concert tradition, the 2012 Wehmiller Scholarship winner performed at WesFest 8. Bassist Jed Lingat showed the 300-plus crowd exactly what they were supporting, laying down heavy grooves with Danny Mo & The Exciters, a band of mostly Berklee graduates featuring legendary drummer John “JR” Robinson (Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Madonna, Eric Clapton), as well as singer/songwriter Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride) on lead vocals. The band was led by Wehmiller’s Berklee Bass Professor and close friend Danny Morris.Danny plays a key role in selecting the scholarship winner, and is central to the WesFest community both in Boston and Los Angeles.
“The LA experience is unique and cherished every year by the award recipient, and Jed’s bass playing and demeanor are exemplary of the kind of person Wes would have loved and grooved to,” says Morris. “At rehearsal, ‘JR’ gave me the sign of approval acknowledging the deep groove pocket that Jed was cementing in the low end. And the WesFest crowd at the Roxy shared their love with a tremendous ovation to the bass player. Now that got Wes smiling!”
Other performers at WesFest 8 included many musicians who knew and worked with Wes during his twelve years in Los Angeles, including first-time bandleader Joe Travers (drummer for Zappa Plays Zappa), Rick Musallam, Griff Peters, Colin Keenan, Ali Handal, and Janet Robin. WesFest newcomer Derek Frank opened the show with a blistering set of tight, horn-drenched funk.
“It really says something that, for every one of the past eight years we’ve done this, we’ve been able to hit our fundraising goals and increase the size and scope of the WesFest community,” says Peter Gordon, Director of the Berklee Center In Los Angeles. “This year we’re extremely grateful to Brendon Small, as we are to all of the WesFest 8 performing artists, for helping us reach a whole new realm of awareness for both the event, and for Wes himself.”
For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, WesFest, and all related merchandise, please visit the official Tribute To Wes Wehmiller Website at www.weswehmiller.net. For more information on the scholarship, or to find out how to contribute to the fund, please contact Peter Gordon at (818) 380-3041, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Featuring the LIVE DEBUT of
A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at
Berklee College Of Music
Buy WesFest 8 tickets and get a chance to win an
EPIPHONE “THUNDERHORSE” EXPLORER GUITAR
or GALLIEN-KRUEGER MB 500 BASS AMP!
Click here for details.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
9009 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Doors open at 7:00pm to all ages
$35 per pair in advance (through 3/1/13)
$20 per individual ticket in advance
$30 per ticket at the door
TO DONATE BY CHECK:
Please send a check made out to Berklee College of Music–along with your return mailing address–to:
Berklee College of Music
15303 Ventura Blvd. Suite 931
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
NOTE: Please include “WesFest ″ in the memo field.
BRENDON SMALL is widely known for being the co-creator/ writer/ actor/ director/ producer/ of ADULT SWIM’S METALOCALYPSE animated television series. A graduate of Berklee College Of Music (’97), he’s also responsible for scoring all of the show’s music, and most notably, for writing and performing the music played by the show’s fictional band, DETHKLOK. While the show is a comedy and the band exists only figuratively, the music is no joke: DETHKLOK has now released three real albums – THE DETHALBUM, DETHALBUM II, and DETHALBUM III, the last of which became the highest-charting death metal album of all time. Four successful nationwide headlining tours have followed, alongside metal mainstays like Mastodon, Machine Head, All That Remains, Chimaira, The Black Dahlia Murder, and others.
But in April of 2012, Small branched out to write and produce BRENDON SMALL’s GALAKTIKON: “A High Stakes Intergalactic Extreme Rock Album,” a long-awaited side project whose release coincided with the Season 4 premiere of METALOCALYPSE. While critically acclaimed, the material has never before been performed live, and will make its live debut at WesFest 8.
BRENDON SMALL’s GALAKTIKON is inspired not just by modern metal, but also by Queen, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. No influence was unwelcome. To make the record, Brendon Small paired with DETHKLOK drummer Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Testament, Fear Factory) and DETHKLOK bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, The Aristocrats, Mike Keneally), along with DETHKLOK engineer and mixer Ulrich Wild.
“This album should be thought of as an audio comic book, an over-acted chamber drama, a ridiculous premise that takes itself way too seriously all the way to the end,” states Brendon Small. “I’m excited to get this album up on its feet in a live scenario with some of the best musicians on this planet.”
The live band required to pull off the multi-layered music of BRENDON SMALL’s GALAKTIKON will contain four guitarists, including L.A.-based guitarist and former Musicians Institute Guitar Program Director Jude Gold (Jefferson Starship, Billy Sheehan), Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani), Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor, Carly Simon), and Small himself. Additional band members include keyboardist/guitarist Walter Ino; drummer Tim Yeung (Morbid Angel); bassist Beller; and vocalists Ben Thomas (Zappa Plays Zappa), Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride), Ali Handal (Neil Young, Paul Williams) and Jude Crossen.
To check out song clips and learn more about BRENDON SMALL’s GALAKTIKON, visit www.brendonsmall.com or www.facebook.com/brendonsmallgalaktikon. You can catch more frequent updates from the man himself by following him on Twitter at @_brendonsmall (www.twitter.com/_brendonsmall).
Bass player DEREK FRANK’s affinity for all that is low and funky has manifested itself in the formation of his own 7-piece band. This mostly instrumental, bass-fronted ensemble projects a sound and vibe that is old and familiar, yet somehow new and unique at the same time. Armed with his flatwound-equipped ’63 Fender Precision Bass (and a few other choice 4- and 5-stringed instruments), Derek takes us on a journey to the groovy side with music that rings of influences such as Soulive, Marcus Miller, Lettuce, Curtis Mayfield, Jamiroquai, Pleasure, Groove Collective, The Brand New Heavies, Tower of Power, and many others that listeners will simply have to name for themselves.
Derek’s solo project comes to fruition after years of his being a “bass player for hire” on the Los Angeles touring and studio scene. Recently Derek made the decision to finally start creating music with the people and the sound that have influenced his musical being since its inception. On his debut solo album, released in 2009, DF enlisted some of LA’s funkiest players, including special guests such as Hammond B-3 organ legend Brian Auger, veteran drummer Steve Ferrone, and up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kosha Dillz. Aptly-titled “Let the Games Begin…”, the album kicked off this particular phase in Derek Frank’s musical life. Look for Derek in the not-too-distant future as he leads his horn-injected old-school funk band to stages throughout the world. Find out more at www.derekfrank.com
An annual tradition at WesFest, Danny Mo & The Exciters is a group led by Wehmiller’s former bass professor and close friend DANNY MORRIS, and features the winner of the year’s Wehmiller Scholarship Award on bass. Danny Morris says, “This year we are pleased to welcome JED LINGAT from Washington DC as the newest recipient to join our family of talented bassists who receive this scholarship in honor of Wes and what he stands for as a musician. Wes would have loved Jed’s approach to music. Jed is soft spoken, seemingly shy, yet with bass in hand, he speaks volumes possessing fluency on the 5-string bass that will dazzle and spark a nerve in your soul. He understands the language of music, which combined with his unique approach to bass playing, sends pure love and joy into the air that inspires fellow musicians and listeners alike. It’s going to be a great night of music celebrated in Wes’ honor that I get to share the stage with Jed.”
The WesFest All Stars
Carrying on the spirit of gathering and celebration of Wes’ life, the WesFest All-Stars are a diverse collection of WesFest veteran performers who were not just friends of Wes, but also played and recorded music with him throughout the years. The acts inside this “community” band are Joe Travers & Friends (Duran Duran, Lisa Loeb, Mike Keneally, Zappa Plays Zappa ), Janet Robin (Lindsey Buckingham Band, Michelle Shocked, Meredith Brooks Band, Air Supply), Ali Handal (Neil Young, Paul Williams), and Colin Keenan. The WesFest All-Star house band consists of Rick Musallam and Griff Peters on guitar, Bryan Beller on bass, and Joe Travers on drums.
More Info About The WesFest All-Stars:
Joe Travers & Friends
JOE TRAVERS has been involved with the Zappa Family Trust for 20 years. He was the drummer for Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa’s group “Z”, then fell into the job of “Vaultmeister” to archive and preserve the contents of Frank Zappa’s extensive vault. Throughout this time Joe has been involved in a number of live performing groups (Duran Duran, Lisa Loeb, Mike Keneally & currently Zappa Plays Zappa) and studio projects in and around Los Angeles. Joe’s latest musical adventures involve his recent assemblage of close friends and musicians that all have one thing in common: a love of music and performing together. These musicians include (but are not limited to) Scheila Gonzalez, Kurt Morgan & Ben Thomas (Zappa Plays Zappa), Rick Musallam (Cirque Du Soleil, Mike Keneally), James Santiago (Independent Artist), and Rico Belled (The Rippingtons). For Wesfest 2013, Joe and his group will be joined by special guest vocalist Holland Greco (Solo Artist/The Stripminers) for an inspired performance of Chaka Khan’s “A Night In Tunisia – The Melody Lingers On” and will world premiere a composition written by Rick Musallam and Wes Wehmiller, sung by Ben Thomas.
Music audiences around the world have seen and heard JANET ROBIN’s incredible guitar work as a former featured touring member of the Lindsey Buckingham Band (Fleetwood Mac), Michelle Shocked, Meredith Brooks Band and Air Supply. Her abilities as a guitarist have garnered the admiration of many in the music industry including Michelle Shocked who called Robin “one of the best guitarists in the country: male or female.” She has shared the stage with the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, Monte Montgomery, Heart, John Waite, Colin Hay (Men At Work), and many more great artists. She was also a former student of legendary guitarist, Randy Rhoads.
With the help of her dedicated fan base, Robin was able to raise the funds ($20,000) for her latest studio effort Everything Has Changed with producer John Carter Cash (Johnny Cash and June Carter’s son) at Cash Cabin Studios outside of Nashville. Introduced to Hypertension Music (in Germany) by Colin Hay, Robin signed a European licensing and distribution deal with the German company who released Everything Has Changed in January 2010. The album was recently released in the U.S. in May of 2012 via Big Fish Media Entertainment. Ever the road warrior, Robin plays upwards of 150 dates per year, focusing on Texas, East Coast, West Coast and Europe. In addition to being an artist, Robin is also a respected clinician for Line 6 and is endorsed by Taylor Guitars, Fender Guitars, Daisy Rock Guitars, Turner-Renaissance, Seymour Duncan and Alfred Publishing among others. Find out more at www.janetrobin.com.
LA-based recording artist ALI HANDAL performs her music all around the world, from Australia to Scotland to Japan and beyond. Songs from her three CDs can be heard in feature films and hit TV shows such as Sex in the City and Dawson’s Creek, and she’s had many unique experiences as a professional musician: singing on a Neil Young album, writing and performing with Grammy and Oscar winning songwriter Paul Williams, demonstrating guitars several times on The Price Is Right, and even performing at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch. Performing Songwriter magazine describes Handal as “coming off as some child of ani difranco and Jimmy Page…Handal has the guitar chops and fierce voice to knock you on your butt.” Ali’s book “Guitar For Girls” was released by Hal Leonard this year, and her column “Get A Grip With Ali Handal” appears monthly in Guitar Player magazine. Find out more at www.AliHandal.com.
One of Wes’ oldest friends, Colin Keenan was the lead singer and lyricist for their original rock band, I, Claudius. Ever the iconoclast, Keenan has completed five albums of his own original material, but since they’re difficult to find for purchase (which is just as Keenan prefers it), pretty much the only time you can hear what it sounds like is at a WesFest concert event. Find out more at keenanmusic.wordpress.com.
WesFest 8 Featuring Brendon Small’s Galaktikon
Roxy Theater (LA)
900 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA,
Galaktikon is the critically acclaimed side-project of Brendon Small, the creative mastermind behind the smash-hit animated TV show Metalocalypse and the bandDethklok. Galaktikon will headline an all-star lineup for WesFest 8: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College of Music at the Roxy in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The show marks the live debut of the project, and the event is sponsored by Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Studio Instument Rentals (S.I.R.), and Epiphone Guitars.
The scholarship fund honors Wes Wehmiller (1971-2005), a 1992 Berklee graduate and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January 2005. Established by his family and friends, the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series and related fundraising drive has raised more than $150,000 over the past seven years.
Before Metalocalypse and Dethklok’s runaway success, Brendon Small, a 1997 Berklee alumnus, began his career in animation as the co-creator, writer, voice actor, composer and musician for the TV show Home Movies. Small has also lent his voice to a number of other shows including The Venture Bros., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, Reno 911!, and Frisky Dingo. He then reprised his cocreator/writer/voice actor/director/ producer/ music-composer role forMetalocalypse, which premiered in August 2006 and just completed its fourth season on Adult Swim. But in April of 2012, Small branched out to write and produceBrendon Small’s Galaktikon, a self-described “high stakes intergalactic extreme rock album.” The long-awaited side project was inspired not just by modern metal, but also by Queen, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and Weezer.
Admission: Advance tickets are available through March 1 for $35 per pair of tickets or $20 per single ticket. Tickets are $30 each at the door.