I broke my femur and have been recovering since New Year’s Day, so I haven’t posted updated From the Desks in a while. I had a 12” metal rod with four screws inserted into my upper left leg to hold it together. It took a while to get the walking down, but I’m back with a slight hitch in my step. If you see me, don’t bump into me! So much is going on at Deko that I have not been sharing lately, so I will try and catch up with a few posts over the next few weeks. I hope it won’t be too much, but I miss sharing all the good news and my nuanced opinions with Deko subscribers. I’m so backed up with work that my physical inbox has its own personal storage unit. Anyway, in this issue I want to talk about our live music series, Up Close and Personal. Large artists are brands and their branded products, like tickets, are maximized with profit being the only goal. At Deko, we decided that there might be an equally fun, and much less stressful way, to experience talented artists performing live without buying into Ticketbastard’s incompetence, leaving millions of fans disappointed. So what if we curated a special group of artists to help us create a dual event…one where a small audience of people (45 or less) get to experience an amazing performance while Deko is filming it all as a show for an upcoming streaming series? It would be really…up close and personal. So far, it’s been great. You can take it from the people that were at our inaugural events that featured Kasim Sulton and Tiffany!
So, for my first post-broken-femur Up Close and Personal, I’m letting you know, while tickets are available, these are the current events we have on the schedule and how I feel about them (with some of my favorite links too). Carmine Appice - March 26, 2023, THIS COMING SUNDAY at 3:00 PM! Carmine was one of the first artists I couldn’t believe I was talking to when I first came to Deko. I’m thinking, pinch me, this is one of the best drummers in the world! His resume includes Vanilla Fudge; Cactus; Rod Stuart; and Beck, Bogart, and Appice. He is one of the most recognizable musicians in the world. Carmine has stories about the industry and the people he knows. There is no better person to tell you these stories than Carmine himself. He is an industry treasure for sure, and if you get up close and personal with him, he is going to leave you with an evening to remember.
Randy Jackson – April 7, 2023 at 8:00 PM Randy, the amazing, creative force behind the band Zebra is gifting us a very special evening. His musicianship, along with his amazing vocal range, makes this a can’t-miss event for Up Close and Personal fans. Some of the most memorable songs from Randy’s long musical legacy translate extremely well into the smaller environment at Factory Records, so this is going to be awesome!
Joe Bouchard – April 15, 2023 at 8:00 PM One of Deko’s earliest partners Joe Bouchard is truly a legend. As one of the original members of Blue Öyster Cult, he can take us on an amazing musical journey through story and song. Songs we all know from his past are part of our culture, and he has so many critically acclaimed solo tunes. I can’t imagine how he will decide what to play, but I cannot wait to find out!
Dave Bickler – May 6, 2023 at 8:00 PM Dave will always be identified as the amazing voice of the song “Eye of the Tiger.” Dave also has been involved in some recognizable commercials, like the award-winning Real Men of Genius beer campaign. As a special bonus, Dave is bringing some of the best musicians around to perform with him, including Charlie Calv, my partner at Deko. If you trust my musical guidance…get a ticket quick! This event will be memorable to anyone who attends.
Vince Martell - May 20, 2023 at 8:00 PM Vince was the first guitar player that I had to imitate when I was playing high school dances. In my case, it set the tone for the kind of guitar player I would become, so I gush just to be in the same room with him. Vince had a close friendship with Jimi Hendrix (you can ask him about it). These are two transformative talents, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they had mutual admiration for each other. Whether with Vanilla Fudge or the Vince Martell band, his stage presence and artistic excellence are undeniable. Oh man, I can’t wait for this one!
So, if you get a sense that Up Close and Personal is what I would do if I had my own personal mini concerts featuring my favorite artists, performing and then chatting with me and a few friends in my living room, you are correct. One final note, you might notice we have two of the four original members of the Vanilla Fudge doing Up Close and Personal events. The third member Mark Stein is on the Deko label, so we may talk him into helping us complete the trifecta of current members (Unfortunately, bassist Tim Bogart passed in 2018). To me, the Fudge was the band that cemented the bridge others crossed as hippier-psychedelic music morphed into metal. If you watch this amazing clip of the Fudge on the Ed Sullivan Show, you should know that Ed had rock acts on, like the Beatles and the Stones, but when the Fudge lit up this version of “Keep Me Hangin’ On,” on January 14, 1968, it became the heaviest rock performance on the Sullivan show, ever.
These four guys would go on to play with and/or influence almost everyone that came after them. The surviving members continue wowing audiences individually and as Vanilla Fudge when they tour today. Listen to their stories as we measure this band’s impact and you realize how lucky we are to have them performing and sharing stories at an Up Close and Personal event. So, instead of fighting for nosebleed seats at a super-large establishment event, go farm-to-table with Deko at Factory Records in Dover, NJ. Come hang out with Charlie, Drew, Frankie, me, and the rest of the Deko gang as we get up close and personal in a way where legend is truly appreciated. Can’t wait to see you there!