Over the years, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has hosted week-long tributes to a number of legends via the annual American Music Masters events. Past artists celebrated have included Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, Pete Seeger, Fats Domino, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. This year, the series has focused on the music of the Rolling Stones. The event wraps up this weekend with a big concert event that Stones fans won’t want to miss.
While no members of the band are on the bill, Stones fans will recognize many of the players. The house band includes singer Bernard Fowler, who has sung backing vocals for the Stones on the road since 1989, Bobby Keys, who has played sax for the band in the studio and on the road for decades, Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer Ian McLagan (Ron Wood’s bandmate in the Faces, he’s also played keyboards for the Stones in the studio and on tour) and Waddy Wachtel, guitarist from Keith Richards’ X-Pensive Winos. Also on guitar is Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band, who had a hit with a Keith Richards tribute “Keith Don’t Go,” and who tried out for the Stones after Mick Taylor quit.
The drummer and music director for the show is Steve Jordan, also from Richards’ X-Pensive Winos, who talked to Radio.com about the upcoming show. While the Winos played a number of Keith-sung Stones songs (“Connection,” “Happy,” “Before They Make Me Run”) and a few that were sung by Mick Jagger (“Gimme Shelter,” “Time Is On My Side”), there are a lot of songs Jordan says he’s itching to play.
“We didn’t play that many Stones songs, really, with the Winos. There’s a ton of them. And that’s part of the fun. To play them with some of the people who actually played on the songs, makes it even more fun. Like, Willie Weeks was the bass player on ‘It’s Only Rock And Roll (But I Like It),’ so when you play the song with him, you’re playing the song with the person who’s on there, so that’s a very special feeling. To play ‘Brown Sugar’ or ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ with Bobby Keys, that’s another great feeling.”
Speaking of Keys, Jordan is reuniting him with some of the other horn players from the Stones’ history. “I’m really excited about playing with (trumpet player) Steve Madeo and (saxophonist) Trevor Lawrence and Bobby Keys together, that’s the original horn section, so to play ‘Rocks Off’ and ‘Heartbreaker,’ and that’s gonna be very special. There’s a lot of little examples of things like that. And having Merry Clayton (who sang backing vocals on the studio version of “Gimme Shelter”), she’s one of the first people I said I wanted, and Bernard Fowler, who works with the Stones now, and Ian McLagan, who played on ‘Miss You,’ it’s exciting.”
(Note: Lisa Fischer, who has been a backing singer for the Stones since 1989, and was originally announced as part of the lineup, had to pull out, having recently joined Nine Inch Nails’ touring band.)
The guest vocalists include Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer Chuck D of Public Enemy, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Patterson Hood from southern rock band the Drive-By Truckers. Jordan says he’s looking forward to playing with Hood, having recently performed with his father – famed Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood.
“The Rock Hall put out an ask, and Patterson took the gig, which is great for us. I’m a friend of his father’s, he’s a legend, I loved his playing before I knew his name. Oddly enough last year, I was a guest on this show (the American Music Masters tribute to Chuck Berry), I played with David. I worked with him on the Steve Cropper solo album, I’d been wanting to play with him my whole career. To have Patterson now this year, it’s fantastic.”
The concert takes place on Saturday at 7:30 pm at the Playhouse Square in Cleveland. For tickets and other concert information, go to the venue’s official website, or the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s website.