Few could disagree that our troops make a huge sacrifice for our country.
Sometimes, that sacrifice includes major, traumatic injuries.
That's why organizations like the Palo Alto Fisher House are so vital.
Fisher House extends a home-away-from-home to military families that need to stay for extended periods to support their wounded loved one's recovery.
In particular, the Palo Alto Fisher House is special in that it supports patients of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital, one of only five military hospitals in the country that is equipped to treat "polytraumatic injuries."
On April 22, Redwood City's will host a truly unprecedented benefit concert, with proceeds benefiting the Palo Alto Fisher House.
The unique musical duo scheduled to perform
When "Mick and the Big Dawg Patriots" take the stage for the benefit concert on April 22, it will definitely be an “only-in-Silicon-Valley” kind of event, says promoter Greg McMorrow.
This is because West Coast songwriter “Mick” and Nashville producer Jon Statham will be performing songs from their new album, which they completed relying exclusively on social networks and other Internet music sites - never once meeting in person.
The two musicians will meet for the first time only a few days before the concert, during rehearsals.
While they expect to play to a standing-room-only audience, it is the composition of the audience that is making this a unique event for them. Event sponsors have made it possible for active-duty soldiers to watch the show either in person or via online streaming video provided by local startup VenMundi.com.
All of this has been made possible by donors that have purchased tickets to be donated to veteran, active-duty military, and Fisher House guests. The website www.vettix.org is distributing the tickets to the veterans and soldiers.
The event’s organizers are also holding a “Throw a House Party For the Fisher House” promotion, whereby people are asked to invite guests to their homes to watch the concert live via streaming video and then pass the hat to collect donations.
Efforts are also being made to make online tickets available, free of charge, to active-duty soldiers residing on military bases. There are several “base parties” registered for the online event, including one at Fort Hood in Texas.
A special online raffle is being held just for the online audience as well.
An album with a purpose
It’s no surprise to Mick or Jon Statham that this unprecedented event is shaping up to be a less than average fundraiser.
“We stopped using the word 'normal' a long time ago,” Mick laughs. “There is nothing normal about this, and that is how it should be.”
Indeed, Mick hung up his microphone more than 10 years ago when his indie band Bombardier disbanded.
“I thought I’d written my last song, and working my way up the tawdry ladder of the music world did not appeal to me,” Mick explained.
But a brief 2012 studio session to record all his songs for posterity re-ignited his songwriting passion and, next thing he knew, he was writing new songs at a feverish pace. One song in particular caught Jon Statham’s attention.
“He wanted someone to record his song, and when I heard it, I was sold immediately,” Statham explained, from his 5Lb Opinion recording studio in Nashville. “When we were done, I kinda asked, 'Hey, you got any more songs?' and he replied, 'As a matter of fact, I just wrote a song this morning.'”
The two went on to complete an 11-song album titled “Behind Brick Walls,” which they will perform at the Fisher House Benefit.
While the two artists enjoyed working collaboratively, Mick admitted that, halfway through, he needed to develop a greater purpose for the album.
“There’s no fairy tale record deal or concert tour at the end of this. The music world is in disarray, and I like my privacy,” Mick said.
But, with each new song being greeted positively by friends and family, the chorus grew louder, with one question: “What are you going to do with it?”
“You can only get away with not answering the question for so long,” Mick admitted. “So I decided, we left the city limits of 'Normal' a long time ago - why do something normal now?”
So he decided to use the album as a fund-raising vehicle for the Fisher House because he believed that would serve a better purpose than any traditional effort to market an album.
“I really believe this happened for a reason, and being listed number 312,761 on iTunes’ indie artist best-seller list was definitely not the reason,” Mick said. “Then I saw how people had grown weary of our country’s wars, and I feared that maybe that weariness would lead us to forget our wounded heroes.”
Mick initially thought raising money would be the best measure of accomplishment for the event, but has since realized that raising people’s awareness of the Fisher House’s mission might be an even more important contribution.
“We’re going to raise some money, that’s for sure. But what is more amazing to me is just how many people had zero knowledge about the Fisher House," Mick added. "When we are all said and done with this event, how many thousands of people will have learned about the Fisher House?”
Tickets for the April 22 event are $25, and the first 200 guests will recieve a copy of the band’s new album, "Behind Brick Walls." Registering to stream the concert online is $10.
The Palo Alto Fisher House benefit concert takes place April 22, 3-6 p.m., at Club Fox, 2209 Broadway St. in Redwood City. Tickets are available at the Fox Theatre’s box office or online at www.clubfocrwc.com.
For more information about streaming the concert online for only $10, click here.