Everyone get ready for the ninth annual Concert Under the Stars, A Benefit for The Greenhouse Project with headliner The Family Stone and featuring Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, on Wednesday at Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., Carson City.
Tickets for reserved seating are only available until close of business, Monday. Standing room only/bleacher seats will be available thereafter online and at the gate, which opens at 5 p.m. Show starts at 6:30 p.m.
“Since we are moving venues from Cafe at Adele’s to Brewery Arts Center this year, The Greenhouse board and volunteers will be building an environment that in some ways replicates the John Street setting,” said Karen Abowd, TGP board president. “This event is a gated, private event, complete with the veranda seating, sponsorship tents and guaranteed seating for those who purchase reserved tickets by the end of business on Monday, after which only standing room/bleacher tickets will be sold online and at the gate.
“We spend a lot of time focused on creating an evening for our patrons that is organized and pleasurable.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Family Stone’s legendary career in an evening that has grown to be one of the Capital City’s most anticipated events and this year is presented by title sponsor Carson Tahoe Health.
Founding Sly & The Family Stone members and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Jerry Martini on saxophone and Greg Errico on drums will be joined by Phunne Stone, daughter of Sly Stone and Cynthia Robinson, in a show filled with back-to-back greatest hits.
“We are so blessed to have the catalog of hits to draw from, so while we have new material, we focus on the songs that everyone knows,” Martini said. “Of course we may present a new arrangement to keep things interesting, but the audience can expect the hits and to sing along.
“Nothing brings me more joy than to look out into the audience and see them singing along with us.”
It’s been a lot of road traveled for Martini and Errico.
Martini, who married six times and 20 years ago finally found the woman of his dreams has been “doing this” since he was 18.
The Reader’s Digest version of Martini’s life is, “My third wife ran away with an Armenian drug dealer, and I finally moved to Hawaii and three wives later moved back to Florida, and I put the band back together in 2002 or ’03 and Greg — we’re two Italian boys ya know, like brothers — returned in 2008.”
Somewhere in the midst of it all, he was honored to tour three years with Prince, who incorporated an entire set of Family Stone songs into his show.
Errico has “been in this thing since December 1966,” having the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time and with the required ability that opened the door to a life in which he traveled the world and had experiences many can only dream of.
“We’ve been through the spike, the peak, the fall, the disappearance, the re-emergence,” Errico said. “I am blessed that I got back into it, that I am still physically able to (drum), and it still keeps me in shape, and I enjoy what we’re doing like I did in the beginning.
“I wasn’t feeling it in the ’80s and ’90s, because I guess what we created was the sum of all the parts, the creation of all of us and it was deep, and having said that, we’d all be basket cases if we’d stayed in that situation any longer and have since come to terms with it.”
Of course, perspectives change over time.
“When I was young it was new, I was invinceable and never knew it could be so crazy … women chasing me down a hallway and it got scary after a while,” Martini said. “I’m more mature now, can still read the menu, value clean living and have learned you gotta turn things over to whatever you believe in and flow with that … I’m more mature now and realize that it’s my life and I’m in charge of creating it.”
When he looks to the future, he still has aspirations and would love to record with Steven Tyler and write a book.
And whatever comes, he’s thrilled Phunne joined them three years ago and plans that one day, she will inherit the legacy.
“Phunne is the best of both her parents, and when I retire, I am handing this off to her,” he said.
“I am so excited to be part of this collaboration and singing Mom’s and (Uncle) Freddy (Stone’s) parts, to be part of this amazing group and with people who are great nurturers, who protect me and helped me gain a lot of confidence,” she said. “We just do the music, and I am also working on my own project that is a bit schizophrenic in that it has music from the ’hood to acoustic cafe to songs that have a George Clinton, R&B feel, and captures the experience, energy, feelings of what we all go through.”
She also finds expression in drawing and is often surprised by the things she creates.
“Music and drawing, sometimes it’s like OMG, where did this come from….this isn’t me.”
Phunne remains unchanged by current circumstance.
“I am comfortable in my old skin, have always lived in the hood, have lived poor and now that I’m older, I’m just me, doing what I love, and I’ll do (The Family Stone gig) until the wheels fall off, and hope people are also enjoying my original music.”
For younger musicians, she offers this: “Be open and listen to all music, taste everything; develop a pallet,” she said, and speaking with a tone of reverence, “There are so many ways you can cook things, taste things, hear things … check it out, check it out … check … it … out.”
Errico is thrilled to be enjoying the best parts of the early years and spends time editing concert and recording footage that’s in high demand by documentary film makers.
“It’s an amazing thing when Spirit comes back around, and we’re still able to embrace the music and bring it again,” he said. “I will never forget Jerry Garcia (Errico toured with the Garcia Band from 1974 through 1984) saying once ‘What is everybody here for?,’ and I finally realized we’re holding church and of course, those concerts had a certain element that regardless of what was happening on stage or musically, always occurred … that was transcendent.
“When we’re performing, I feel like a preacher. We will be holding church in Carson City, July 12.”
Special thanks from TGP’s board to Title Sponsor Carson Tahoe Health, and to additional sponsors NVEnergy, Dick Campagni’s Auto Group and Gold Dust West Casino and Hotel.
Tickets range from $25 to $65 available online at www.carsoncitygreenhouse.org or in person at Brewery Arts Center Box Office 775-883-1976; and at Carson City Visitors Bureau, 716 N. Carson St., 775-687-7410. Remember, for reserved seat, tickets must be purchased by close of business Monday. After, SRO/bleacher (seating is not guaranteed) tickets only will be sold online and at the gate.