We had a great weekend of gigs this past Friday and Saturday, February 26 & 27. On Friday, we were in Medina at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library. Yes, a library! We've never done that before, and I thought that I'd seen everything. But this is a regular concert venue in the town of Medina, and despite the despicable winter weather, about 100 brave citizens came out to the show and had a great time. On Saturday, we played at Ilio Di Paulo's restuarant in Blasdell, for the annual ABATE engineering party. A good time was had by all. Last week, we were at the annual Griffis Sculpture Park fundraiser and moonlight snowshoe walk in Springville. Great gig, fun people! This weekend, we had our drummer, Bret Norvilitis, on bass, and our former/retired drummer Dr. Bill O'Shea on drums. They both did an outstanding job!!
If you've been following the band for the past several months (since November, actually), or even if you've been reading this blog, you know that we've been without our bass-player of the past six years, and for Bruce and I, our friend of more than 20 years-- Barker Bass endorser Joel Thomas. Joel has needed to take some time off; its been coming for quite awhile, as he has needed a rest, and for the last several months that he played with us, you could see it on his face, if not hear it in his words: "Somebody pack-up my gear and get me out of here; I'm exhausted." He was having trouble playing the instrument that he loved, which was causing him quite a bit of frustration, and now we can tell you why. We wanted to wait until everything was confirmed, and although there is still a margin of error, a recent trip to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has corroborated the local doctor's initial diagnosis-- ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).
Joel is a fighter. We are praying and believing that this is a fight that he can win, and he is being very proactive regarding his treatment and his general health. He has been building muscle and staying in shape. He has even started playing a little bit. But it will most likely be at least a year before he can rejoin the No-Stars. In the meantime, we will not only be supporting Joel, but finding ways to continue to work toward our goals and to entertain as many people, and bring as many new listeners to the Blues, as we can.
We will be planning a major live benefit for Joel and his family in the up-coming months, and several of us are working on a more sustainable model of support, which we will certainly unveil to all of you in the No-Star Nation as soon as we have hammered-out all of the details. In the meantime, your thoughts and prayers are welcomed, and we thank all of you that have offered support, or simply come up to us on gigs and asked "Where's Joel?" or "How is he doing?" It means a lot to him and to us, so thanks again. We will share whatever details that are appropriate, when they are available.
Once again, we thank you all for your support during this difficult time...
God Bless & Good Blues,