When I put this show together for the 40th Anniversary of The Mad Dogs & Englishmen Concert from the Live album at the Fillmore East, I wanted to capture the essence of that deliriously great summer of 1970. Cocker had KILLED it at Woodstock in August of 1969, and when Leon Russell and Joe’s manager put the Mad Dog Band together with a cast of future superstars backing up Joe well, it was magic! For us, the summer of 2010 was a lot of fun and I can honestly say we made some great music.
Now, 5 years later after his untimely death, I brought back the show with a few from the old cast and some new top notch players!
Saying goodbye to Pat Smillie who’d performed as Joe Cocker in the show was not easy! But Pat moved back home to Detroit and so the search was on for someone who could bring back the “sound and soul” of Joe Cocker! That’s when I turned to an old friend and asked the amazing Derrick Procell to sing “Sheffield’s Blueeyed Soul Man’s” music! Derrick is a seasoned veteran of the music scene and is well known throughout Chicago as a first call jingle singer. He’s also an accomplished songwriter having written for several TV shows.
It’s pretty cool that we now also have Iron Mike Bogart playing trumpet in the band! Mike’s resume is about as impressive as it gets, having played with Tower of Power for 9 years!! You’ll find him on 3 albums and he’ll be the guy with all the slick moves even when he’s NOT blowin’ the roof off!!
Another new and I’m proud to say world renowned player joining MDE is Percussionist Kalyan ‘Johnny Bongo’ Pathak! When he’s not playing with Aretha Franklin or other heavy hitters when they come to Chicago, Kalyan brings his global presence to MDE!!
The rest of the Mad Dog Tribute band includes;
Ken Johnson & Jay Martini on Keys, Scott Leff-Guitar, Rick Demski-Bass, Dave Harris-Drums, JB Bustillos-Sax and our backing vocalists Bonnie Brenner, Heather Wood, Deb Petritsch & yours truly.
We’ve added a second set to the show! In between Sides 1 and 2 of the Live album, we perform songs from Joe Cocker’s library of great music. Including Grammy winner You Can Leave Your Hat On and his hits, You Are So Beautiful and his only #1 song and Grammy winning, Up Where We Belong. It is powerful and moving and clearly shows why Joe Cocker was such a force in music for decades.
Below, our poster from the Taste of Lincolnshire performed earlier this summer.