THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE PLANNED
FOR AUGUST 1
August 1st, 2006 marks the 35th anniversary of the
Concert For Bangladesh, the first ever all-star rock
charity event spearheaded by George Harrison and Ravi
Shankar. To celebrate and commemorate, Threadgills
World Headquarters, Texas Bengali Cultural Alliance
and KGSR will present an all-star anniversary tribute
to the legendary event, which will benefit the George
Harrison Fund For UNICEF.
The tribute is the brainchild of Austin performers
Darin Murphy and Paul Minor, who produced a smaller
version of the show at the Hole In The Wall on the
last night of SXSW 06. Murphy, who wowed Broadway
audiences last year in the musical LENNON, heads up a
more-than-a-dozen-piece band of musicians and singers
who will perform the legendary concert in its
entirety, as it ran originally at Madison Square
Garden. Several Austin favorites are scheduled to
make guest appearances, including Sara Hickman, Trish
Murphy, Miles Zuniga, Spencer Gibb, Michael Fracasso,
Beaver Nelson, Matt The Electrician, Billy Harvey, the
Weary Boys Mario Matteoli, the Real Heroes Save
Hotchkiss, Nakia, Will Sexton, Oliver Rajamani and
Matt Hubbard. The backing band also reads as a whos
who of stage performers. It features members of The
Small Stars, The K-Tel Hit Machine, 54 Seconds, Gnappy
The SXSW show, attended by the likes of David Byrne
and Pamela Des Barres, was hailed by patrons as one of
the best gigs ever performed at the venue. The
overwhelming feedback compelled Murphy and Minor to
explore the idea of an encore performance on a larger
scale. Local industry response was immediate and
generous. All the necessary forces came together and
volunteered resources, facilities and time, including
UNICEF personnel in Austin and Houston, who rallied
the support of Austins Bangladeshi community.
The original 1971 concerts were organized to raise
awareness and relief efforts on behalf of 10 million
refugees from the East/West Pakistan Civil War. Those
efforts sparked a mass outpouring of worldwide support
that would not only save millions of lives, but would
also allow the make-shift Bangladesh army to defeat
the invading forces from West Pakistan and end the
second worst genocide in history.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) began in
the aftermath of World War II as a tiny operation
supplying starving girls and boys in Europe, the
Middle East and China with dried milk and nutritional
supplements. Today it works for the survival,
protection, and development of children in 155
countries and territories around the world. In
cooperation with governments and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), UNICEF helps develop
community-based programs to promote health and
immunization programs, basic education, nutrition,
safe water supply and sanitation services, and
continues to provide emergency relief as needed.
The tribute concert will take place at 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 1 at Threadgills World Headquarters
near Town Lake, and will officially kick off the
legendary Armadillos 40th Anniversary concert series.
Admission is $10 in advance and $12 walkup. Advance
tickets are available at all Front Gate Ticket
locations and online at www.frontgatetickets.com. All
net proceeds will be donated directly to the George
Information about UNICEF: http://www.unicefusa.org
Information about The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF:
For more information about the 35th Anniversary
Tribute in Austin, please visit
Greetings from my new Manhattan digs. It's temporary, but so is my whole life for the next five or six months. Rehearsals for LENNON have been going on for four weeks now, and at the end of March the entire company and crew will travel to San Francisco and camp there through mid-May. We'll all be pitching tents and sleeping under the stars in the grounds behind the Orpheum Theatre downtown.
No, we won't be. I am so lying to you.
After SF, and a week break, we'll descend on Boston and run the show there through the month of June, then we'll return to NY to prepare for Broadway previews beginning July 7th. Once we're back, I'll have at least another two months of temp living while I find a place suitable for the family, still located in Austin as I write this. Complicated? Yup. Worth it? Definitely. It's not every day that my life changes completely overnight, so I savor every rad and wretched moment of the experience. By now you've noticed that there's a blog page on this site that basically chronicles my adventures in the show and New York life in general, so I won't take up news space talking about that.
I instead wanna tell you about the coolest website on earth, the home of Austin songwriter/instrumentalist/producer Billy Harvey. Fully animated and made entirely of polaroids and paper cut-outs of Billy, his home and his friends, this site is a playground, a puzzle, and a multimedia presentation in one. It's also hysterically funny. I was privelaged to be asked to contribute to the making of this site with a few voiceovers. I do the voices of The Beatles, who come by and visit. Phone numbers are scribbled randomly throughout the site, leading to celebrity guests who can be summoned by dialing a phone on a wall. (for Beatles, dial 999-9091). In spite of the brilliance of this site and Billy's latest album, Pie, Mr. Harvey was passed up for a SXSW showcase this year, an oversight the music conference will surely regret. But he will be highly visible during that week regardless.
This is a great time for new releases. Girls Get In Free, the latest album from Trish Murphy (and best, in this brother's humble opinion), has been picked up by Valley Entertainment and scheduled for re-release at the end of this month. Distribution is nationwide and in selected countries in Europe, Australia and Asia. A fresh radio push will start soon as well. Also, Patricia Vonne, for whom I played drums for two years, has issued her sophomore effort, Guitars and Castinets. Patty V is also appearing in the upcoming film, Sin City.
I've recently added several new pictures to the photos page on this site, and more are on the way, so check 'em out!
Darin and the Broadway thing...
So many of you have asked about my audition status for the Broadway musical LENNON, and have waited patiently for answers, which I have too. Im now in a position where I can provide them all, so here goes.
Although I didnt meet Yoko Ono, I did audition in front of her and the production staff in December and I heard she was very impressed (I saw her smiling; she's quite pretty). Hopefully she didn't notice my trembling fingers while I performed my first ever public piano recital! I must point out that from the beginning, Ive had the full support of the shows writer/director, the remarkable Don Scardino. Not all of the shows backers supported his casting decisions, however, but everyone, including Yoko, agreed that I should be involved. This is significant, because Im the only person with no professional theater experience to be considered for this. The rest are seasoned Broadway and screen veterans with a mile-long list of credits. So last week, the production office made me an offer to understudy three roles (a third of the nine-member cast), and this week I accepted. This means that Ill be an alternate player and Ill perform when one of the three principle players cannot. The only bad news is that if I should take the stage in place of a principle, its unlikely any of you will have ample notice to come watch. But the future looks brighter. If the show is a hit, Ill likely be first in line to be a replacement on Broadway or join an additional cast, possibly in the fall. In the meantime, I start rehearsing in New York with the entire company on February 14th, and Ill travel with them to San Francisco and Boston for the pre-Broadway runs. The show will officially open on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theater on July 21. For more show details, visit the official website at www.lennonthemusical.com.
SO where does that leave the music??
I've been recording a few demos of new material in South Austin with the help of my old friends Mac McNabb and George Reiff. It's only a small handfull at this point, but I'll have to put that on hold until the show gets up and running in April. I'll have plenty of downtime then to continue tracking wherever I happen to be with whatever resources are available. I heard somewhere that New York, Boston and San Fran were all pretty good music towns, but I wouldn't know.
Before I leave I'll play one last Austin gig on February 5th, a low-key affair at Flipnotics with just me and a few of my closest friends, kinda like the last Carson gig (goodnight, sweet prince, may you rest in peace).
More updates, and the Broadway Blog, coming soon.
Happy New Year.
George Harrison 1943-2001