WESFEST 7 BENEFIT CONCERT RAISES $25,000
FOR WES WEHMILLER SCHOLARSHIP FUND
AT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
7th annual event breaks all previous years’ fundraising results
LOS ANGELES, CA (April 5, 2012) – WesFest 7, the seventh annual WesFest benefit concert, took place at The Roxy in Los Angeles on March 4, 2012. The results were unprecedented in the event’s history, as the concert and related fundraising drive raised more than $25,000 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 well exceeded $100,000.
Officially supported this year by corporate sponsors Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Eminence Speaker, and DW Drums, 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.
The WesFest 7 concert was headlined by rock/fusion supergroup The Aristocrats, comprised of guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Dizzee Rascal), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok, Mike Keneally), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, UKZ, Adrian Belew). The Aristocrats’ set also featured special guest guitarist/keyboardist Mike Keneally, the headliner from the very first WesFest concert (and participant in nearly every show) on three roof-raising tunes. “It’s extremely gratifying to see how WesFest has not only continued but flourished, both as a support system for new musicians on the scene and as a way to keep Wes Wehmiller’s name and presence alive,” says Keneally. “I’m forever grateful to the Fest for the way it spurs those of us who loved Wes to refocus our remembrance and appreciation of him, year after year. Long live Wes – and long live WesFest!”
In a long-standing WesFest concert tradition, the 2011 Wehmiller Scholarship winner performed at WesFest 7. London-born bassist Hayley Jane Batt – one of the many international students at Berklee – wowed the crowd with not just her superior bass chops, but with her lead vocal prowess as well. She anchored 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.
“Seeing the look on John Robinson’s face summed it up,” says Morris. “We had just finished plowing through the set at rehearsal, and JR said to Hayley, ‘You can play, you can write, and you look great!’ At the Roxy, Hayley and the Exciters threw down a nasty set that lit up the packed house. After the set we were all spent, and that’s how I knew that Hayley Jane Batt rocked the house. Wes was smiling bright – he told me so!”
Other performers at WesFest 7 included many musicians who knew and worked with Wes during his twelve years in Los Angeles, such as Jackie Daum, Joe Brooks, Colin Keenan, Joe Travers, Pete Griffin, Griff Peters, Mike Olekshy, Ali Handal, and The Casualties Of Jazz (featuring Matt Rohde, Chris Golden, and Jimmy Paxson).
Peter Gordon, Director of the Berklee Center In Los Angeles, offered this about WesFest 7: “It’s a real statement that for seven years now, regardless of circumstance, WesFest has continued to grow, as does its impact both in the Los Angeles community and on the Berklee campus in Boston. This annual event, and the energy surrounding it, is making a real difference.”
(original event publicity information remains published below, as it was in March of 2012)
A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at
Berklee College Of Music
The Casualties of Jazz
Danny Mo and the Exciters
* featuring 2011 Wes Wehmiller Scholarship Award Winner Hayley Jane Batt
and legendary drummer John “JR” Robinson
and The WesFest All-Stars
* featuring music by Mike Keneally, Jackie Daum, Joe Brooks and Colin Keenan
Sunday, March 4, 2012
9009 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
$35 per pair in advance (until 3/3/12)
$20 per individual ticket in advance
$30 per ticket at the door
More Info About The Band Lineup For WesFest 7:
The Aristocrats – guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Dizzee Rascal, The Young Punx), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok, Mike Keneally), and Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew, Steven Wilson, UKZ, Necrophagist) – were formed unexpectedly after a wildly enthusiastic response to a single performance at The Anaheim Bass Bash during the Winter NAMM show in January 2011. WesFest 7′s headliner was cleverly dubbed instrumental rock/fusion’s “rowdy new democracy” by Guitar Player Magazine in a recent cover story on Govan himself. Their self-titled debut album – featuring three compositions from each band member – contains a uniquely explosive band chemistry, translating each individual’s well-known virtuosity into an aggressive, melodic, and sometimes even cheeky group dynamic in which anything goes. The resulting record became a melting pot of their respective influences, ranging from ’70s fusion (Return To Forever) to prog (King Crimson, UK) to instrumental rock (Vai, Satriani) to groove metal (Rage Against The Machine) to just plain absurdity (Frank Zappa). The Aristocrats garnered rave reviews worldwide (“…deserves to be in your record collection between [Jeff Beck’s] Blow by Blow, [Mahavishu Orchestra’s] Birds of Fire, and [Steve Vai’s] Passion & Warfare” – Guitar Extreme [FR]), and became one of the hottest and most lauded fusion releases of 2011. The internationally-minded Aristocrats are hitting Los Angeles just before launching a tour of the U.K., Western Europe, and the Middle East in March of 2012. Find out more at www.the-aristocrats-band.com.
The Casualties of Jazz are dedicated to the offbeat but surprisingly musical proposition that Black Sabbath tunes sound best when played by elite sidemen musicians in a Hammond organ/upright bass/drums trio. Comprised of keyboardist Matt Rohde (Jane’s Addiction, Christina Aguilera, Roger Daltrey, Kelly Clarkson), bassist Chris Golden (Carly Simon, Mick Fleetwood, Engelbert Humperdinck), and drummer Jimmy Paxson (Alanis Morrissette, Rod Stewart, Steve Vai, Ronnie Montrose), they turned a moment of tongue-in-cheek jamming into Kind Of Black, a full blown album of jazz-rearranged Sabbath covers, in 2004. Both Rohde and Golden are also Berklee alumni, and knew Wes Wehmiller during their time there in the early 1990s. This will be their first performance in Los Angeles in several years.
Danny Mo and The Exciters
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, “Hayley Jane Batt is the newest addition to our growing family of talented young bassists who receive the scholarship, honoring Wes and what he stands for as a bassist and musician. Hayley, who is also a singer/songwriter, comes from London, England and is an insightful musician who has her own voice on the bass. Her timbre is thick, full of warmth, and her tonality shapes are full of joyful support for the music she’s accompanying. Pino Palladino–last year’s WesFest headliner whom Wehmiller often cited as his most important musical influence–also influences Hayley’s stylistic palette. Wes would have loved Hayley’s organic, provocative, and groove-heavy approach to playing music.”
Danny Mo & The Exciters will be anchored this year on drums by the one and only John “JR” Robinson.
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 Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani), Joe Brooks, Jackie Daum, and Colin Keenan; The WesFest All-Star house band consists of Rick Musallam and Griff Peters on guitar, Pete Griffin on bass, and Joe Travers on drums.
More Info About The WesFest All-Stars:
Long acclaimed as one of the world’s most creative and intense guitar and keyboard players, Mike Keneally’s talents as a vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist are nearly unequalled in rock music. Keneally has released 20 albums of his original music since 1992, and has built a body of work of remarkable inventiveness and originality. Keneally played in Frank Zappa’s last touring band, performing as a vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist. He’s appeared on many Zappa albums, is currently a touring member of Dethklok (as a guitarist) and the Joe Satriani Band (as a keyboardist), and has also recorded or performed with Robert Fripp, Wayne Kramer, Kevin Gilbert, Steve Vai, The Loud Family, Henry Kaiser, Michael Manring, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Andy Prieboy, Mullmuzzler, The Persuasions and many others. Known for his innovative, unpredictable live shows, Keneally has played extensively in the United States and Europe, in contexts ranging from solo and duo concerts to performances with large-scale orchestras. His 52-minute orchestra-with-guitar suite The Universe Will Provide received its world premiere in 2003 by Keneally performing with Holland’s Metropole Orkest; the US premiere of Universe occurred November 18,2011 at Cal Arts.
The current Mike Keneally Band – a quintet which includes drummer Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok), and guitarists Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor, Byrd York) and Griff Peters (Billie Myers, Anika Paris) – are featured on the brand new live DVD/CD release bakin’ @ the potato!, on Exowax Recordings, taped at LA’s Baked Potato club. Time Out New York says “this band, with such a peculiar genius leading it, is a thing to savor.”
Joe was our opening act during WesFest 5 and we’re thrilled to have him back. He is a Los Angeles based singer, songwriter, producer, recording artist, pianist and guitar player. Blending alternative, pop and rock into one mainstream sound, Brooks gained radio success in Canada with a nod from the Canadian Juno Awards. In 1999, he moved to Hollywood, where he began collaborating with writer/producer Tim Feehan and pop singer Tiffany, co-writing ten tracks for her “The Color of Silence” album. In 2001, Billboard Magazine declared this as one of the year’s best pop records. Music Connection Magazine described Joe as an “exceptional talent” and rated his EP one of 2006′s top 25.
His songs have been heard on a variety of television shows including: Ugly Betty, Ghost Whisperer, Brothers & Sisters, My Name Is Earl, Desperate Housewives, One Tree Hill, Behind The Music, and True Hollywood Story. Brooks’ latest original material can be found on his new EP Polaroids Left In The Sun.
Behind her seeming vulnerability, Jackie Daum is a fearless independent songwriter with a dynamic, blues-inflected voice that belies her 5’1” frame. While her songwriting remains rooted in pop and folk, she cites deceased blues-rocker, Chris Whitley, as a major vocal and lyrical influence. One critic describes her music as “A little bit country, pop, and soul. Jackie’s voice soars…”
In 2008, Jackie sold her Seattle condo and all her personal belongings to write and record her debut full-length album in Austin, TX. What resulted is a beautiful collection of love songs entitled The Sky Inside. Central themes of nature, longing and desire, and making peace with the past while living in the present, are skillfully woven throughout.
A true gypsy at heart, Jackie has lived all over the West from San Diego to Seattle, building a steady fan base along the way.
Earlier this year, after touring the west coast and landing in Chico, CA, Jackie won the KZFR Celebration of The Song competition, which earned her a performance at The Sierra Nevada Big Room and two slots at the WorldFest Festival.
“In the past, I struggled to find a balance between being an independent musician and finding a way to pay the bills. I’ve soldered cables for a living, worked as a horseback riding trail guide, worked on a boat, worked in restaurants and real estate, and I always come back to making music. Or maybe it would be safer to say that music makes me.”
Currently Jackie is playing shows in California and working on a new album called Say Loreto, due out in 2012.
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.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
THE ARISTOCRATS (GUTHRIE GOVAN, BRYAN BELLER,
MARCO MINNEMANN) TO HEADLINE WESFEST 7
BENEFIT CONCERT AT THE ROXY ON MARCH 4
Seventh annual benefit concert continues tradition of paying tribute to Berklee College of Music alum and accomplished bassist, athlete and photographer Wes Wehmiller
BOSTON (November 22, 2011) – Rock/fusion supergroup The Aristocrats, comprised of guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Dizzee Rascal, The Young Punx), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok, Mike Keneally), and Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew, Steven Wilson, UKZ, Necrophagist) will headline an all-star lineup for WesFest 7: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music at The Roxy in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 4, 2012. The event is sponsored by Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Basses, D’Addario Strings, and DW Drums.
“The Aristocrats are an especially appropriate headliner for WesFest 7,” said Peter Gordon, director of the Berklee Center in Los Angeles. “not just because they recently played The Berklee Performance Center in Boston and connected with the student body there, but because Bryan Beller – a longstanding part of the WesFest organization and close friend of Wes – is a member of the band. Plus, Guthrie and Marco are unbelievable players, and many of tomorrow’s great musicians are studying their playing styles right now.”
The scholarship fund honors Wes Wehmiller (1971-2005), a Berklee graduate (’92) 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 is the centerpiece of an annual fundraising drive for the scholarship fund, and that fund is projected this year to top $100,000 in total monies raised since its inception in 2006.
Formed unexpectedly after a wildly enthusiastic response to a single performance at The Anaheim Bass Bash during the Winter NAMM show in January 2011, WesFest 7′s headliner The Aristocrats were cleverly dubbed instrumental rock/fusion’s “rowdy new democracy” by Guitar Player Magazine in a recent cover story on guitarist Guthrie Govan. Their self-titled debut album – featuring three compositions from each band member – contains a uniquely explosive band chemistry, translating each individual’s well-known virtuosity into an aggressive, melodic, and sometimes even cheeky group dynamic in which anything goes. The resulting record became a melting pot of their respective influences, ranging from ’70s fusion (Return To Forever) to prog (King Crimson, UK) to instrumental rock (Vai, Satriani) to groove metal (Rage Against The Machine) to just plain absurdity (Frank Zappa). The Aristocrats garnered rave reviews worldwide (“…deserves to be in your record collection between [Jeff Beck’s] Blow by Blow, [Mahavishu Orchestra’s] Birds of Fire, and [Steve Vai’s] Passion & Warfare” – Guitar Extreme [FR]), and became one of the hottest and most lauded fusion releases of 2011. The internationally-minded Aristocrats are hitting Los Angeles just before launching a tour of the U.K., Western Europe, and the Middle East in March of 2012. Find out more at www.the-aristocrats-band.com.
The event will feature four additional acts: The Casualties Of Jazz, a jazz organ trio that exclusively plays Black Sabbath material, featuring keyboardist Matt Rohde (Jane’s Addiction, Christina Aguilera, Roger Daltrey, Kelly Clarkson), bassist Chris Golden (Carly Simon, Mick Fleetwood, Engelbert Humperdinck), and drummer Jimmy Paxson (Alanis Morrissette, Rod Stewart, Steve Vai, Ronnie Montrose); the WesFest All-Stars, featuring the music of previous WesFest performers Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani), Joe Brooks, Jackie Daum, and Colin Keenan; and Danny Mo and the Exciters, featuring Wehmiller’s Berklee bass professor and close friend Danny Morris, as well as 2011 Wehmiller Scholarship award winner Hayley Jane Batt and legendary drummer John “JR” Robinson.
From 1997 through 2001, Wehmiller toured worldwide with the multi-platinum pop band Duran Duran, and appeared on many TV shows with them as well, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, VH-1’s Storytellers, and Hard Rock Live. He performed with Missing Persons and several other L.A. based bands, and his work appears on numerous recordings produced in the L.A. area and in Vancouver. He gained endorsement deals with SWR bass amplification systems and La Bella Strings.
WesFest 7 advance tickets are available through March 2 for $35 per pair of tickets or $20 per single ticket.
All tickets are $30 each at the door. Ticket orders and donations will be accepted via check or credit card.
Complete ordering instructions and procedures can be found online at: http://www.weswehmiller.net/wesfest/wesfest7.
For any questions about ordering tickets or donating to the fundraising drive, please contact Peter Gordon at 818.380.3041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, and more information on the WesFest concert series, as well as new details about WesFest 7 as they become available, please visit the official Wes Wehmiller Tribute Website at www.weswehmiller.net.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.