March 23, 2006
Falzone CD Release Party
Raises Money for Severely Burned Musician
By Clio
FalzoneNeither rain nor sleet nor snow kept people away from Vince Falzone’s CD Release Benefit Concert on Saturday, March 11th at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Newhall, CA. In addition to good doses of rock-n-roll and sponsor-provided free pizza and coffee (hey, it was a family-friendly event), the show raised over $500 in donations and proceeds for the David Ewart Catastrophe Fund.

Santa Clarita Valley singer/songwriter/guitarist Falzone has already released 6 CDs and has songs aired on radio stations worldwide. He also produces and stars in a weekly half-hour TV show that airs on Santa Clarita Public Access cable channel 20, “Studio Recording and Guitar Playing with Vince Falzone.”

Saturday’s party marked Falzone’s 7th CD release, “Out of Time.” Of the 13 songs, Falzone wrote, sang, and played all the guitar tracks and most of the bass tracks. “Zack Kibbie played bass on ‘On The Run,’ ‘Hey,’ and ‘We Don’t,’” Falzone says, and “Laura Bilodeau laid down the drums and percussion for the final 6 tunes.” Other contributors included Pete Orta, who produced “Time in a Jar,” and Blake Goss and Rob Coonrod.

“Out of Time’s” songs show Falzone’s wide-ranging talents, and tracks range from mellow acoustic Beatlesesque tunes such as “Don’t Wake Me” to the more Zeppelinish “On the Run.”

Although “Out of Time” was finished a few weeks ago, Falzone delayed the release slightly after he and his wife Lily decided to donate 50% of all proceeds to the David Ewart Catastrophe Fund.

Ewart and five family members were severely burned in a pre-Christmas fire that destroyed their home and possessions, including a beloved family violin from the 1700s. Ewart played first violin with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and has been a session musician for recordings by Neil Diamond, Elton John, Madonna, and Elvis Costello. He also performed on the soundtracks for “Spider-Man 2” and “Million Dollar Baby,” and is a board member of the Environment of People Foundation, which strives to bring classical music to kids in places such as Central and South America. Ewart’s 15-year-old son Michael and father Hugh were also severely burned. FalzoneHugh Ewart is Concertmaster Emeritus of the Portland Symphony.

Lily Qian-Falzone explains that she and Vince read about the tragic fire in their local newspaper. “Vince felt really badly, especially from a musician’s standpoint - losing all of your instruments and maybe not ever being able to play again. That was the prognosis back then, when David was in a coma for weeks [at the Grossman Burn Center]. Then a few weeks later, I read in the paper that the community was planning fundraising and benefit concerts. We were planning the CD Release Party anyway, and thought it would be a good way to help.”

For the live performance, however, Falzone needed to either clone himself or recruit additional musicians. Rock drummer Mike Spencer has done many shows with Falzone, including at Hollywood’s Hard Rock Café. Bassist Allan Christen knew Vince through their mutual love/hate of computers, and joined speed metal guitarist Bob Spears in rounding out a mix of styles and genres that worked well together to create a nice long 2-hour show.

George Cummings, a well-known theater director, was the night’s emcee. The 2 sets included 8 songs from the new "Out of Time" release, 3 from Falzone’s 5th CD, "Moving On, 2 from the 4th CD, “Back Again,” and 1 from Falzone’s very first release, “Who's That.”

One of the night’s highlights was David Ewart coming up on stage to do 3 acoustic songs after the intermission, “Mr. Alibi,” “Paradise,” and The Beatles’ “This Bird has Flown,” as well as the night’s closer with full band, The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There.” Ewart, who has been wearing a special pressure suit to help heal the burns that damaged 43% of his body, removed it for the performance. “I wanted to be able to move my arms freely enough,” he said.

Ewart’s exceptional talent was obvious from his first notes, bringing tears to the eyes of people who’d feared he’d never be able to play violin again. Falzone said, “David and I practiced for about 30 minutes before the show on the post-intermission songs, and we winged the last one.” Falzone’s wife Lily added, “I've heard Vince's songs hundreds of times. It was so refreshing to hear some of them with a violin. David was great!”

In addition to Falzone’s charisma and the band’s many talents, two other significant aspects of the night’s success were the fans and several local community sponsors. Given the chandeliered venue with cushy seats, fans ranged from kids dancing in the aisles to a grandpa who said he got ready for the loud music by leaving his hearing aids at home.

The Canyon Theatre Guild (www.CanyonTheatre.org) donated their performance space not only because it was a community event, but because “many of us in the Theatre know David,” said board member Ingrid Boydston. “He played violin for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ show we put on last year.”

Santa Clarita Valley’s Pacific Funding Mortgage Division (www.pfmd.com) and World Music (www.WorldMusicNewhall.com) contributed financially. Primo Pizza Sport Zone in Saugus donated 6 “Monster Pizzas.” Their ad says the pizzas are the “biggest in the Santa Clarita Valley,” and that was no exaggeration! Each pizza was a whopping 30 inches in diameter - perfect for parties and events with lots of people. The Starbucks on Sierra Highway at Via Princessa donated several containers of hot coffee, as well as pounds of coffee for the raffle. Other raffle prizes were music lessons at SCV-Arts on Bouquet Canyon and trial memberships at the Spectrum Club.

RadioBuzzed.com, a Santa Clarita Valley station “dedicated to helping unsigned bands get heard” interviewed Falzone and the rest of the band before the performance, and did a top-notch digital recording which aired on www.RadioBuzzed.com 2 days after the live show.

Ewart was impressively positive when I talked with him before the show. Despite the visible burn scars and what must surely be constant pain, he was cheerful and upbeat. “I’m so thankful that people have given so generously of their time and have been so supportive.” He summed up his last 2 ½ months in a few simple words we could all learn a lot from: “I’m just so happy to be here.”

Falzone’s next project is called “Strip of Leather.” Find out much more about him and his musical talents at www.MusicByVince.com.

Story by Clio