More than 80 rock legends gathered to show three days worth of love – and funding – for St. Jude Children's Research Center's work on curing cancer at the Westin Airport's Rock 'n' Roll Autograph Show.
The event offered a chance to meet and greet some of the most revered rock performers – and in some cases even the women who married them (or, at the very least, spent a tour or two in the back of the bus). For a hard-core music fan, it was a mind-blowing experience.
Event founder Corky Byers brought six-dozen-plus rockers on the weekend of Sept. 14-15, including members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Cars, Vanilla Fudge, Black Oak Arkansas, Chicago, The Knack, Three Dog Night, Alice Cooper, Foreigner, KISS, Grand Funk Railroad, Anthrax, The Ramones, Big Brother & The Holding Company and Megadeth. The artists putting their names down on paper, 8-by-10 glossies and the arms, chests and other unmentionable parts when requested ranged from doo-wop to soft and classic rock and the decades of the '60s, '70s and even the metal-minded 1980s.
Besides musicians, autograph-seekers had the opportunity to meet a group of women calling themselves “The Ex-Wives of Rock,” having married and divorced musicians and lived to tell the tales of what it means to love a rock star and the lifestyle that goes with it. That group included Sharise Neil (ex-wife of Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil), Bobbie Brown (ex-wife of Warrant frontman the late Jani Lane and once engaged to Tommy Lee) and Athena Lee (ex-wife of Scorpions drummer James Kottak and sister to Tommy Lee).
Rock-child Mackenzie Phillips – who between then and now was a famed TV and movie actress (“One Day at a Time,” “American Graffiti”) was in attendance. Raised, as it were, by her father John Philips and stepmom Michelle Philips of the Mamas and the Papas, Mackenzie is pretty much the original Hollywood wild child.
She is as much a part of music history as any musician. Having grown up around rock and all the excess that come with the lifestyle at such an early age. And she has survived ... one day at a time.
Groupies in attendance included John Lennon lover May Pang, who is remembered as the groupie who was "Lennon's lost weekend," during an affair that that actually went on for two years. But she and Lennon called it “the lost weekend” because they got tired of people asking about it.
Pang knew Lennon for about ten years, until his death.
The best part of the autograph event was the VIP party on Saturday, Sept. 14, which -- in true rock format -- was super loud. The vibration of the music could be felt in waves, bouncing from speakers and showering the crowd.
Performers at the VIP party included Black Oak Arkansas, Orleans, guitarists Micki Free, Jean Beauvoir and Michael Angelo Batio, London, The Artimus Pyle Band, Vanilla Fudge, Lee Sklar, Neil Turbin with Death Riders, Dick Wagner of Alice Cooper and Aerosmith, Richie Onori of The Sweet, Peter Rivera from Rare Earth, Krigger, Nadir D'Priest and Skynyrd Reloaded.
The event wrapped up Sunday with The Rock n Roll Autograph Show Los Angeles All-Star Band, which gathered together to record a benefit track for St. Jude, “If I Had the Time (I Could Change the World),” donating their time and creative hearts to support the mission of the cancer-fighting research hospital. Dick Wagner directed the chorus on "If I Had The Time (I Could Change the World)," recording, to which more than 20 rockers contributed.
St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life.
We can't wait to see who will be there next year!