Ruben Velasco has been along time friend of artist Rick Springfield as well as having performed as Springfield’s guitar technician for years. Sadly in 2014, Velasco has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. Now in the fight for his life, Springfield and a host of talented artists came together on August 20th at the Hollywood House of Blues, hosting a benefit concert experience to raise money in an effort of support for the ongoing medical costs Velasco will face during his battle with the disease.
Organized by Concert Promoter and Music PR Executive Nancy B. Sayle, the Rock For Ruben event brought more than a handful of musicians to help raise awareness and it filled the floor of the House of Blues with fans and friends looking to give all they could to help Velasco and his family in their time of need. With more than three hours of live music, the show was televised through StageIt.com and broadcast live as it happened on Youtube. With viewers around the globe, the event raised funds with extremely positive results for the cause.
Though the event has passed (at the time of this article), fans can still offer support through a fundraising platform Rick Springfield has personally set-up on YouCaring.com allowing people to donate what they can through a non-profit donation. The link is here: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/ruben-s-cancer-fund/205791
Radio station 95.5 KLOS was in attendance with regular on-air talent Tony Scott hosting the event. Scott’s banter with the audience and comical exchange with the on-site photographers kept attendees up on the reason for the show and let those who weren’t aware know that there was an auction going on where fans could take home one of a kind items in exchange for their donations. Some of the items included:
– A KISS gift bundle consisting of 3 autographed guitars and a snare drum.
– A Squire mini-strat autographed by Maroon 5.
– An autographed pair of Springfield’s signature Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers.
– A Stratocaster guitar signed by Weezer.
– A Stratocaster guitar signed by the Goo Goo Dolls.
– A Gibson Les Paul guitar singed by Sammy Hagar.
There were a multitude of other items available through donation including clothing, autographed photography, CDs and other signed collectibles related to the artists performing including private dining experiences and exclusive seating for the show.
Radio station K-Earth 101, another long time staple in the Los Angeles FM Classic Rock Market had Springfield on the air during the Monday morning radio show that preceded the event. Morning show hosts Gary and Lisa talked with Springfield about the cause where he shared, “Ruben is thirty-eight, and a couple weeks ago was diagnosed with stage four cancer. I don’t know anybody at this point whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer. My dad died from cancer, I have a bunch of friends who died… and Ruben, we just want to support him every way we can. He’s a great guy.”
Radio station KLOS is along time supporter of fundraising events hosted by promoter Nancy B. Sayle and both KLOS and K-Earth 101 had still-shot photographers on site to capture the details of the show and to offer continued support through their website resources.
Opening the show at 8:00PM was the Jason Charles Miller Band. Virginia native Jason Miller, now residing in Los Angeles, has spent nearly two decades performing between Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee with his unique brand of southern influenced country rock. On stage, fans have seen Miller open for top draw National Acts including Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Big Kenny of Big and Rich. In the studio, Miller has co-written and produced chart-topping hits with artists including Brett Michaels (Poison), Chuck Goff (Marilyn Manson), Jeordie White (Nine Inch Nails) and he penned the internationally recognized song Forever In Our Hearts to benefit the victims of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia.
Performing and recording as the Jason Miller Band, the act has scored Gold level sales with their debut CD release and recently offered their sophomore effort to critical acclaim. Music from the band has been heard on TV shows including HBO’s True Blood and Hung. During their set, platinum recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus took the stage, accompanying the band for two songs.
By 9:00 PM, the room was filling toward capacity. Private seating that had been arranged by personal donation was sold out and fans had attended meet and greet opportunities that allowed for signings and photographs as well as taking home other personal mementos that fans will keep for a lifetime. Introduced by Tony Scott, Rick Springfield took the stage.
The lively and upbeat performance touched on a lot of the classic favorites fans have come to love by Springfield. During his set, which was a complete live concert performance, the same as fans see on tour, special guests joined the band on stage. Legendary songwriter and guitarist for the Cars, Elliott Easton performed the timeless classic Good Times Roll, along with the Beatles song We Can Work It Out. A fellow supporter of the cause, Easton lost long time friend and band mate Ben Orr (Orzechowski) to Pancreatic Cancer in October of 2000. Also joining the band during the 17 song set, guitarist John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie) entertained with his brand of electrifying solos during the songs You Really Got Me and Wild Thing. Even Springfield’s guitarist/keyboardist Paul Trudeau brought his young son on stage to play a song on guitar with the band to rave fan applause. Springfield’s set list was as follows:
With a brief intermission between sets and some equipment additions; the events All-Star line-up took the stage with a tribute to KISS. Velasco is a life-long fan of KISS, so former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick came on board with all six strings blazing, playing songs that he performed on during his time in the legendary band KISS as well as learning the key details of songs he did not perform in the band, including Rocket Ride, a song that Velasco stated was one of his absolute favorites. Springfield joined the All-Star line-up on stage to sing Rocket Ride for his friend.
Joined by bassist and vocalist James LoMenzo (John Fogerty, Megadeth) who led the band into the set alongside fellow artists, guitarist/vocalist Gilby Clarke (Guns n’ Roses, Rockstar Supernova) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty, John Mellencamp) the band ran down a set of KISS titles that everyone was familiar with. LoMenzo and Clarke traded off vocals during the set list and brought songs including Parasite, Detroit Rock City, Love Gun and other classic hits to life in a unique fashion for an eight-song set.
The event was an all out success in terms of attendance, but the fight is ongoing and fans are asked to donate what they can for the Velasco family with extreme gratitude for the support. As mentioned earlier in the article, Rick Springfield has set up a Funding Platform on YouCaring.com allowing people to give what they can through a non-profit donation. The link is here: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/ruben-s-cancer-fund/205791
Learn more about the atists who performed by visiting:
Billy Ray Cyrus: www.billyraycyrus.com
Rick Springfield: www.rickspringfield.com
Elliott Easton: www.facebook.com/ElliotEastonsTikiGods
John 5: www.john-5.com
Bruce Kulick: www.kulick.net
James LoMenzo: www.jameslomenzo.com
Gilby Clarke: www.gilbyclarke.com
Kenny Aronoff: www.kennyaronoff.com
CLICK HERE to view more photos from the show.