EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW REPOST FROM “THE MAGAZINE LIFESTYLE”
Toby Keith was born to be in the spotlight.
While so many performers have been bestowed the same grand gift of stardom throughout history, there is something much more meaningful when this artist stands in front of millions of fans. It’s not just the strums of his guitar you hear when he takes the stage. The light that surrounds him shines brightly because inside of Keith a sound made from a pulsating heart of gold radiates throughout the world.
Considered one of the most beloved musicians of all time, the National Medal of Arts recipient’s list of accomplishments is nothing short of outstanding. Keith has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as honored with the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award just to name a few remarkable achievements. The superstar’s body of work has made him a luminary trailblazer in the entertainment industry. A trusted and upstanding performer, he has sung some of the biggest country hits of the 20th century including “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” “Who’s That Man,” “Me Too,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This,” “I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight,” “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American),” “Beer For My Horses,” and “American Soldier.”
Celebrated for his artistry, the seven-time Grammy nominee and two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year is an unstoppable force. But for all the joy his triumphant collection has brought to the masses, it is the way his storied career has produced something far more than just alluring tunes and catchy music videos.
Since the very beginning, Keith’s mission has always been to create a space that makes people feel accepted. His profound emotions persevere in front of an audience at a sold-out concert just as equally as his sincere interactions with other celebrities. Backstage and behind the scenes his unwavering need to unconditionally help those in need rises to the forefront.
The musician’s widely known philanthropic efforts have made an everlasting effect on mankind. From voicing support for veterans to aiding citizens recovering from natural disasters, Keith considers it his patriotic duty to use his impactful voice to empower change and inspire others to follow suit.
For someone who is a larger-than-life entertainer, it is fascinating how completely down to earth he is when the curtain falls. Any hint of intimidation quickly sheds away when he looks at you with his twinkling eyes. Peeling back the layers of the idol, you discover that the making of this legendary singer is not rooted in ego. There is simply a person standing before you who doesn’t wish to be music royalty worshiped on a pedestal. There is only a humble man who is eternally grateful for what he has been gifted. You only see the compassionate cowboy.
Perfectly flawed and rough around the edges, his presence is that of a burly character perpetually dressed in a slightly disheveled wardrobe. Keith carries the look of someone laboring outdoors all day just to finally sit on the porch and kick back with a frosted beer as the sun sets in the horizon. His dusty boots have walked a million miles and left behind a trail of deep footprints full of Oklahoma red dirt no matter where he goes.
The music sensation’s legendary status has allowed him to build an expansive empire of goodwill. Keith’s unconditional love is especially felt at The Toby Keith Foundation. The center’s mission is to encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients. It also funds OK Kids Korral, which is a cost-free and comfortable home for pediatric cancer patients and their families receiving treatment at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, Stephenson Cancer Center, and other nearby facilities.
The valiant Keith and his dedicated team are now set to be honored by the laudable SabesWings Foundation. On September 18, the icon will receive the SabesWings Lifetime Achievement Award during the Second Annual Strike Out Event in Paso Robles, California. The festivities will help raise funds through ticket sales to support cancer patients suffering from medical financial toxicity.
Together throughout the past few years OK Kids Korral and SabesWings have joined forces to help patients who must choose between paying for medical treatments or common everyday living expenses.Giving cancer patients of all ages the chance to heal without worry is the philosophy that Keith and SabesWings founders Bret and Kandace Saberhagen embrace. The famous Kansas City Royals pitcher and his wife know the power of supporting those in need during a medical crisis after she went through a past cancer scare. Seeing how much the cost of care escalated at that time, they knew that something had to be done for those who were not fortunate enough to afford it.
Keith has personally experienced how the disease can change your life in an instant. In June, he disclosed through social media that he had been privately battling stomach cancer. Fortunately, he is now cancer-free. While recovering from treatment, the survivor witnessed firsthand how community love can be a pillar of strength to patients who are bravely fighting the dreaded disease.
The sad truth is that there is no person in the world who has not been affected by the disease. Lives are rocked and fundamentally shifted. Neither celebrity status nor birthright can stop it from happening to someone. But it is the ones with the golden hearts like Keith who can help make the process more humane. The power of kindness is truly uplifting.
During an exclusive interview with “The Magazine Lifestyle,” Keith revealed why being honored by his friends and fellow philanthropists at SabesWings is a momentous occasion.
Your foundation assists and supports pediatric cancer patients and their families. How did this mission come about?
Twenty years ago, my friend – who happened to be my first guitar player in the very first band I was ever in and ended up being my road manager later – had a 2-year-old daughter, Allison, who developed cancer. In her most dire moments, in the eleventh hour, the hospital had just told them to take Allison home. They had to bring in hospice when necessary. I had been supporting St. Jude in Memphis and as a last-ditch effort we called in a favor. St. Jude had a couple of things there that they hadn’t done yet here in Oklahoma. Allison and her mother drove over. When they had exhausted all their options they came back home, and Allison passed away.
After the funeral, the mother said that the most eye-opening part of it was that when she got to St. Jude she was provided with food, lodging, and transportation free of cost. She wanted nothing. She was actually going to worry about all that when they got there since she was in such a rush, didn’t prepare, and hadn’t brought anything with them. She was given everything from Walmart gift cards to medicine to whatever they needed. I said, ‘In Ally’s honor we should look at doing something like that here in Oklahoma City.’ And that’s how OK Kids Korral was born.
What are the things about your foundation that you are most proud of at the end of the day?
I think I’m most proud of the fact that we handle more than 300 families a year. They come from all over and they are desperate just like Allison’s mother was. It makes me proud to know that when it comes to this part of it, they can show up at Children’s Hospital and have a burden lifted the second they know they can stay right across the street in a wonderful lodge that is gated and safe. OK Kids Korral is the Ritz Carlton meets Disney World.
You are being honored by SabesWings this September. As an icon in music and the world of philanthropy, what does this mean for you to receive this award?
These things are designed as fundraisers. And the Saberhagens have given their time to my event and to other events, Make-A-Wish, etc. So, it’s honoring them as much as it is anybody. On paper it looks like I’m being brought in and honored, which is wonderful for them to pick me to do it. But at the end of the day, it’s just like a keynote speaker at any event. It’s a reciprocal type of situation where he’s (Bret Saberhagen) done stuff for my event so I’m doing stuff for his event. But in my opinion, this event honors them as much as it does anybody for all the work they do.
What is it that makes the combined efforts of SabesWings with your foundation so unique in the philanthropic community? Also, what is it that you think you do best in comparison to other organizations out there?
Me showing up has SabesWings granting us donations as well; what I said is reciprocation in the previous answer. The thing that I think separates us is our Executive Director, Juliet Bright, who is the woman who runs my foundation. She is such a master at this and champions so well that it just makes us operate at a really high level. That being said, other people who have come in like SabesWings as well as other celebrities who have come to my event and have events themselves, have often returned after the event and asked if they could talk to Juliet. I ask why, and they say, ‘I want my event to run as well as yours.’ Maybe they’ve not dreamed big enough, or looked at it as a big enough picture, or just the overall quality of how the event is run. Juliet has done a wonderful job through the years, and she just gets better. It’s kind of on cruise control now, and I say that not taking her for granted, but because she’s got it running so smoothly now that even though it takes her 365 days to set up the event, she’s still got it down. It’s run as well as anybody’s foundation in the country.
When you hear how much the two organizations working together are making a difference in real lives, what does that incredible goodwill mean to you?
It’s nice to be able to focus and have all your energy in the world go toward one thing that really matters to you. Up until OK Kids Korral was formed, all my charity stuff was scattered. Whoever came at the right time got it. I worked with St. Jude a lot, most of my efforts went there, so that tied in really well. But if I was at an event or TV show where you won some money for charity. I really didn’t have anything that just made me go, ‘Yeah, this is my charity.’ And once OK Kids Korral came into play, I could focus all my energies just on that. And you can look at the other stuff and say, ‘I’m sorry, this takes up all my time, energy, and money.’ It has to because it’s my job to make sure we raise the money each year that is the lifeline to OK Kids Korral.
Keith generates wisdom that can only be understood by someone who really savors life and is aware that giving is the biggest gift of all. The superstar is ultimately a superhero who will always sing an enduring and enlightened ballad for all of mankind.
Reposted with permission by “The Magazine Lifestyle” and writer ElizaBeth Taylor
Cover art and photography by Greg Watermann
WOODSTOCK COVER STARS — (Via Best Classic Bands) — Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.
“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”
Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.
Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death Saturday (March 18, 2023).
Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”
We’ve spoken much over the years about how that Woodstock event was so cataclysmic – culturally; musically; and certainly philosophically. Elliot Tiber wrote beautifully about it in his first book Taking Woodstock – a classic if you’ve never read it.
They tried to re-create it in 1994 and though it was good, it just didn’t have that magical flavor of the first one. I wasn’t at either, but as you can imagine, music from that 1969 concert still lives passionately today. I was, however, at Live Aid and that was my Woodstock for sure.
Not to get too poetic, but I came across a great quote yesterday: It’s worth being older now, to have been young then.
SHORT TAKES — Derek & The Dominoes Bobby Whitlock on Jim Gordon: “Carl Radle and Jim Gordon … Didn’t get any better than that. The only other alternative [for Derek and the Dominoes] was Jim Keltner. And that’s who should have been the guy and who was supposed to be the guy. But it didn’t turn out that way. He was busy. The rhythm section of Carl and Jim propelled the songs we put together. Jim Gordon is the most musical drummer I ever heard. All of the drums were in tune. literally tuned to a key on the piano. Big kit. But Jim had this wonderful ability to interpret the nuances you could feel but not hear. Carl was solid as a rock. A downbeat player and right on it. So, we have Carl who is solid and down and Jim who is up and on it. So, it was perpetual motion” …
Do you remember “Vehicle” by The Idea of March back in 1970? It became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of “Vehicle” was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally … Dolly Parton sings with Elton John on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” on her forthcoming rock ‘n roll album. I bet it’ll sound great, but how many covers of that song has there been? Maybe they should have picked a John/Taupin deep-cut like “Come Down In Time” or “Amoreena.” Just saying … Does the phrase DLYZECOMKIN mean anything to you?
Believe it or not, in one of those crazy-jumble games online, the phrase translates into Micky Dolenz. Crazy, right? See for yourself: https://invasion24.com/2023/03/19/daily-jumble-puzzle-answers-march-19-2023/
… Speaking of Dolenz, he departs Thursday on a Flower Power Cruise; then starts his Headquarters-tour on April 1 in Orlando …
Charles F. Rosenay does the Zach Martin Big Fat American Podcast next week, for his new release, The Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists (KIWI Publishing) … HAPPY BDAY Gia Ramsey!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Carol Geiser; Bob Meyerowitz; eYada; Andy Rosen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Haig; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Mark Bego; Charles F. Rosenay; Bill Graham; Kip Cohen; Heather Moore; Charley Crespo; [Robert Miller; John Luongo; LIME; Carl Strube; Jen Ramos; and CHIP!
Carmine Appice and David Salidor
SIXX APPICE –— (Via Ultimate Clsssic Rock) Nikki Sixx spoke out against Carmine Appice’s claim that guitarist Mick Mars had been in dispute with his bandmates in the run-up to his retirement from Motley Crue. Mars’ departure was announced on the completion of their 2022 Stadium Tour, with John 5 named as his replacement soon afterwards. The official reason given was that Mars’ longterm illness had finally caught up with him – but in a recent interview, former Ozzy Osbourne and Vanilla Fudge drummer Appice suggested otherwise.
“[Mars] told me, ‘When I was on the Stadium Tour, I was not happy,’” Appice told Ultimate Guitar. “Basically, everything was on tape; it was all planned out and ultimately a lot of crap. … The truth is that everything has been weird for a while with Motley Crue… Mick told me that people that came to see it could tell that it was all pre-recorded and that everything was on tape.”
Appice added that Mars “would travel alone on a bus while the other guys flew everywhere,” and continued: “He said, ‘Man, these guys are pissing their money away, flying to every gig.’ They were all busy still trying to be rock stars, and Mick just wanted to play the music. … [T]here were a lot of disagreements. I think he was just done.” When Mars was told about Crue’s World Tour with Def Leppard, Appice claimed, the guitarist told his colleagues: “You can do it. I’m not going out with you for this.”
Earlier this week Sixx appeared to refer indirectly to Appice’s comments, tweeting: “Love how people talk FOR us without talking TO us. This is why the media has lost credibility. Obviously by printing BS they make money off of advertising and we’re not into that clickbait game. When the truth comes out it will be FROM us.”
But he was more direct during a Twitter Q&A session last night. “A washed up drummer trying to speak for us? And bottom feeder media running with it to make money off of lies? Welcome to the sad new world of LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME,” the bassist wrote.
He more or less repeated the same answer when asked: “Is what Carmine Appice said true?” Sixx replied: “A washed up drummer speaking for our band without any of the facts is as ridiculous as bottom feeder media running with stories without fact checking. When you hear the truth it will be from us.” He later commented: “It’s a funny money game.”
Crue will continue on the road through much of the year. Asked if 5’s status in the group was secure, Sixx stated: “Of course. He’s our guitar player. We have big plans.
Seems like there’s really a rumble in the metal-jungle. First off, I love these names … but, the name ‘Carmine Appice’ actually sounds pretty normal.
The metal world is a rough one for sure with fanzines named Blabbermouth; Louder Sound; Metal Edge; Metal Anarchy; Chaoszine; and Metal Injection. Remember, look before you leap!
SHORT TAKES — Growing up, every Sunday night was family-dinner night at the steak-eatery The Longhorn in Rockville Center, Long Island. Sure it was a long-time ago, but the memory survives (as does the memory of our favorite waiter Tomas). Did you know that Micky Dolenz’s father George, owner and operated a restaurant in the heart of the Sunset Strip called The Marquis? The always regal-Alison Martino did a terrific piece on it, check it out here: https://martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-marquis-restaurant-once-located-on.html?m=1&mibextid=uc01c0&fbclid=IwAR3wCiU_sgRmpjqWGpda_mEHthrj7OS1UfLOVkvYdbfVP_d5Iz0fO-KZbUw
JIM GORDON RIP — If you’re a music fan, you know the name Jim Gordon well. Brilliant musician, part of the Wrecking Crew; Mad Dogs & Englishmen; Delaney & Bonnie; Derek & The Dominoes; Eric Clapton; George Harrison … dead at 77. I’m not going to go into the trouble he had, you can read it below in Variety’s terrific story, but suffice to say, he was an amazing musicianDid he do things that he shouldn’t have? Of course … as we all have. He had a most troubled road and hopefully is now at peace. His music will however, live on. Sad, sad story for sure.
Celebrity-scribe Mark Bego, who is working on a bio of Joe Cocker (for Yorkshire Publishing) had this to say: “Gordon brought a very professional edge to Joe Cocker and his still-gestating Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. Gordon was one of three drummers on stage for that outrageous tour. Having been a member of The Wrecking Crew, Gordon, despite some head-scratching antics, helped give the rough-and-tumble troupe a much-needed degree of professionalism. However, Gordon began displaying a violent nature on that tour when he hauled off and punched Rita Coolidge in the face, one night after the show.”
Bego’s Cocker bio is provisionally set for release during the holidays.
GOTHAM — Gotham: The Fall and Rise of New York is an exciting exploration of New York City’s history and the legacy of its six mayors from 1966-2013. At the turn of a new century, learn how New York went from a failing city with over 2,200 murders, 93,000 violent robberies and over 500,000 annual felonies only to rise-up as America’s Greatest City.
Featuring twenty-six interviews, archival footage and re-enactments, Gotham puts viewers in the middle of the action exploring how a city turn-around happens.
New York City became what it is today through the blood, sweat, hard work, innovation, and creativity of a handful of heroes who were willing to challenge the status quo. Learn what they did and why it matters.
“We want the audience to get a historical sense of what was going on in New York during this tumultuous time,” said writer, director, and producer Matthew Taylor. “Through the courageous leadership and determination of many, the city was able to turn-around a common perception regarding crime in the area, which can serve as a blueprint on how to revitalize our great cities today.”
Featuring candid interviews with former NYC mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, and former NYPD commissioners Ray Kelly and William “Bill” Bratton, the film also features interviews with more than one dozen important figures who helped resurrect the city. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45EXpx2JDz8&t=2s
REVIVAL69 — (Via Deadline) Shout! Studios has acquired North American rights to the music documentary Revival69: The Concert That Rocked The World, about a historic happening that’s been called “the second most important event in rock & roll history.”
Ron Chapman directed the film, which held its U.S. premiere this week at SXSW in Austin, Texas, playing in the festival’s 24 Beats Per Second section. The documentary tells “the remarkable, behind-the-scenes story of how a little known, but life-altering music festival came together — against all odds,” according to a description of the film. “Young, scrappy concert promoter John Brower puts his life on the line (literally) to turn his failing Toronto Rock n Roll Revival into a one-day event… The festival united rock legends like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, and Gene Vincent, with The Doors, who were the biggest band in the world. But it was the 11th hour arrival of John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band that ignited a truly seminal moment for the 20,000 fans at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.”
The film draws on rare behind-the-scenes material, as well as unreleased concert footage shot by D.A. Pennebaker, the vérité/direct cinema legend who directed the landmark Monterey Pop documentary.
“With its improbable backstory, incredible line-up and indelible D.A. Pennebaker footage, Ron’s wonderful film joins an elite group of unforgettable music documentaries that tell a great story while preserving a seminal moment in pop culture history, Shout has deep roots in the music business, so this was a very happy deal to do.” read a statement from the company.
The film draws on rare behind-the-scenes material, as well as unreleased concert footage shot by D.A. Pennebaker, the vérité/direct cinema legend who directed the landmark Monterey Pop documentary.
The second most important event in rock and roll history? Dunno about that, Bangladesh and Live AID sort of stand out a bit more. That said, interestingly enough, the packaging of the film in its box, looks a lot like Harrison’s show, so maybe its more of an intended subliminal message. In any event, it solidified Lennon’s full departure from The Beatles and his performance was extraordinary as usual. Definitely an integral part of rock history.
Here’s the trailer:
SHORT TAKES — Here’s the trailer for the forthcoming doc on Little Richard entitled I Am Everything. Looks fantastic.
Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411 reported that the Friar’s Club on 55th street in NYC is officially closed for now. https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/03/16/sad-obit-the-friars-club-is-padlocked-shut-closed-after-years-of-mismanagement-and-malfeasance-comes-end-of-era Sad. I spent many marvelous nights there as well as having numerous meals there – I always said they had the best chopped salad in town. 21’s gone; Tortilla Flats; Lucky Strike; China Grill … 3 of the 4 Palms, all gone now. New York’s a changed place now for certain … Great post by producer/manager John Luongo on the resurgence of vinyl. Check it out and BTW, he’s absolutely right: https://www.johnluongomusic.com/post/a-vinyl-countdown …
And, the long-awaited David Johansen movie, Personality Crisis is here (executive produced by Martin Scorsese). Check out the trailer: https://deadline.com/2023/03/david-johansen-personality-crisis-trailer-streaming-premiere-date-showtime-1235301450/
… RIP Lance Reddick from Fringe and Bosch … HAPPY BDAY Steve Garrin and Donna Dolenz!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Scarlett Rae; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Cynthia Ronzoni; Kim Garner; Steve Ross; Ahmet Ertegun; Andrew Sandoval; Terry Jastrow; Harrison Jordan; Bob Small; Kent and Laura Denmark; Jim Kerr; Liz Rosenberg; Ken Dashow; Joe Banadonna; Eppy; Wayne Avers; Jay Fagen; and CHIP.
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