Monday, July 16, 2018

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The Collective will be kicking off the Meaford Summer Concert Series on Friday, July 13th.

The band is made up of some of the best players you’ll hear anywhere. When Chris Scerri says they have played with the Who’s Who of rock and R & B, movies and pop music, he means names like Iron Butterfly, Better Midler, Jack Dekeyser, Greg Godovitz, Grant Smith & the Power, Long John Baldry, Daniel Lanois, Etta James, Sharon, Lois and Bram as a small random sampling.

Joey DiMarco has been the go-to drummer for decades for gigs and recordings, working from his home base in Burlington. He teamed up with Gabor Szepesi, who’s been providing keyboards for recordings and TV shows as well as live gigs since the 70’s. The pair decided to draw on talented friends from their many years in music to create a gigging band they called The Collective. The quality of their friends means The Collective is always on the money with a world class groove.

Guitarist Danny Weis co-founded Iron Butterfly but quit after their first album to co-found Rhinoceros. After an album and a tour with Lou Reed, he was tapped to provide the sound track music (and hit song) for Bette Midler’s movie The Rose.

Danny had been born into music, the son of Johnny Weis, the famous Western Swing guitarist who once played with the Spade Cooley band.

I fondly remember the years I would go see my dad, Johnny Weis, play guitar, backing people from the Grand Ole Opry at Bostonia Ballroom in El Cajon,” says Danny on his website, “I was age 9 to 12, and I used to stand right in front of the stage and lean on it with my elbows. I wasn’t too tall then, I guess. I remember Johnny Cash playing right in front of me with my dad backing him on guitar with the band. [Cash] always remembered me and would stoop right in front of me, saying, ‘Folsom Prison?’ I said yes with joy.”

In 2005 Danny Weis released a beautiful jazz album called “Sweet Spot”, about as far from Iron Butterfly as you can get. Like the other players in The Collective, his wide ranging musical taste and pedigree can take you in any direction.

Keyboard player Grant Slater spent the 80’s playing with George Oliver at Club Bluenote. They were the house band for R & B singers that came to town. Every week the band accompanied a different guest singer. Sam & Dave, Martha Reeves, Etta James, Aubrey Mann, Liberty Silver, Ben E. King and Mary Wells were just a few of them. Even Stevie Wonder came in one night unannounced and sang with the band. “I’ll never forget that night”.

A common thread among the players in The Collective is that most of them played at one time or another in a legendary blues band called Sweet Blindness. Lead singer of The Collective, Donnie Meeker rotated as lead singer in Sweet Blindness with the late Bobbi Dupont.

The Toronto sound was the original Bluenote,” Michael Williams told Cashbox magazine, “we always had a soul thing going on because we were so close to Buffalo and Detroit…The big time for Sweet Blindness was opening for Kool and the Gang.”

In addition to touring with Sweet Blindness, Donnie Meeker becomes “Downtown Donnie” when he does a Blues Brothers thing with his own blues brother “Dirty Bertie”.

Bring a camp chair and something for the food bank in time for the show to start at 7 pm with Max Breadner. Max is a notable young local talent who has progressed from performing to song writing. He’s played the Meaford Summer Concert Series before, and last year he opened for John Brownlow at The Red Door.


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