Wild Honey Musical Benefit for Autism: An Interview with Organizer Paul Rock

Courtesy Paul Rock

Courtesy Paul Rock

Benefit-concert producers the Wild Honey Foundation, with generous support from Truetone Music, will present the classic Beatles records Revolver and Abbey Road albums, performed in their entirety and in order by a star-studded house band and guest singers. The event, will take place Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 8 p.m., at the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. 8th St., Los Angeles.

We sat down with Paul Rock, Wild Honey organizer, to learn more about his position and the work he is doing for the Wild Honey Foundation to benefit both the Autism Think Tank and the Children’s Music Fund:

How did the Wild Honey shows begin and were they always Beatles related?

No, we started with the Beach Boys (in my living room) and Brian Wilson in 1993-94. We took the name Wild Honey from the 1967 Beach Boys’ album Wild Honey.  We have previously done benefit tribute shows for The Kinks, the Everly Brothers, the Hollies, Harry Nilsson, Elvis Costello, Pete Townshend, and even Paul McCartney’s solo years.

I love the Beatles, but I actually stayed away from doing a Beatles show for many years because I’ve always felt that they were overdone (Beatlemania, etc.),  but once my son Jake became a Beatles-nut, I realized that it was finally time to do a Beatles show with our Rubber Soul/Sgt Pepper show of last year.

How do you pick what albums to cover each year?  

We (myself and my partner David Jenkins) choose great, influential records that we love dearly and go with it.  In 1996, we did The Beach Boys Pet Sounds and their underrated Friends album.

There seemed to be a real camaraderie with everyone involved in bringing the show to life last year. I noticed quite a few of the same musicians will be performing this year as well.
Will there be any new additions to the bill? Any secrets you can divulge?

Once you do a Wild Honey show, you usually want to do another. Our extended family does grow with each event.  Everyone gets to hang out and do a good deed for kids-in-need or other struggling musicians – we have also done several shows for Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

The rehearsals are fun as well.  This year, we have lots of new faces – Denny Laine and Laurence Juber of Wings‘ fame. Susanna Hoffs will be joining her amazing fellow Bangles, Vicki & Debbi Peterson who played a huge role in last year’s show. Jody Stephens (the last surviving member of Big Star), Chris Stamey of the dB’s  & Colin Hay from Men at Work are making their first Wild Honey appearances.  It’s going to be a very full stage.

Surprises, however, are always surprises, but any former Beatle will NOT be turned away at the stage door!

Will there be Beatles themed artwork/silent auction as there was last year? 

Yes. We are working to find some cool stuff.  Hopefully, some Beatle related guitars!

Can you tell me a little bit about the foundations involved, Autism Think Tank and Children’s Music Fund? 

My severely autistic son Jake participated in the Autism Think Tank, thanks to last year’s show.  A group of nationally-known autism specialists look at your child’s case in an internet conference and suggest treatment for ongoing medical and psychological issues related to autism.  In our case, we received help in dealing with Jake’s very painful digestive issues that have caused him to be dangerously self-injurious. Thankfully, the alternative therapists that they referred us to have greatly reduced Jake’s pain and self-injury, so this show is celebration of that and an attempt give other kids the same help in reducing their pain.

The Children’s Music Fund is a Southern California non-profit that provides music therapy and musical instruments for children, adolescents, and young adults with chronic or life-altering illnesses.  Founded by Autism Think Tank member Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, an UCLA allergist and pediatric pain specialist, the Children’s Music Fund works to harness the amazing healing power of playing and listening to music to reduce the pain and suffering of kids with autism, cancer, and many other debilitating conditions. We are looking forward to trying music therapy with Jake through the Children’s Music Fund.

How can people donate directly to either organization?

They can donate directly by clicking on the icons below:

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Tickets for the event are still available at:
Wild Honey Presents: The Beatles’ Revolver & Abbey Road to Benefit the Autism Think Tank and the Children’s Music Fund.

All photos courtesy of Paul Rock.  Wild Honey Orchestra photo courtesy Julia Ewan.

Michelle Nati

About Michelle Nati

Michelle Nati is a pop culture priestess who hails from Rochester, New York. She is a freelance graphic designer, writer/copy editor (formerly Caffeine Magazine), researcher (Co-Conspiracy Entertainment) and lives with her poodle-terrier mix in Northeast LA. Check her out at www.michellenati.com.
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