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September 10, 2017

My vacation ended on August 1st, and let me tell ya, getting back to work started with a bang!! The month of August I was on the road for 19 days performing 14 shows throughout 11 states. We traveled to New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico & Pennsylvania. And it was quite a variety of venues: State Fairs, beautiful theatres, city parks & a casino. All in all, it was a great way to wind down the summer.

“On stage in Quakertown, PA”

This month is quite a bit more relaxed as far as my road dates are concerned so it’s allowing me to do a few more things locally which is good because October is another busy travel schedule…we have 17 shows & I’ll be gone for 20 days that month.

Speaking of local things: Beginning this Tuesday evening, September 12, Don Krueger, Bill March & myself will be hosting a weekly Musicians Appreciation Night at Dino’s Bar & Grill in North Royalton from 8:00p until 11:00p. It is NOT a jam night, it’s an evening where all musicians get 25% off on their liquor & food bill. And all they have to do is hangout, socialize, network & have a good time.

“My cousin Dale Spina. RIP”

For the third time this year I find myself ending a blog on a sad note as 2 more people that meant a lot to me have left this earth & gone to heaven. My cousin Dale Spina, who I loved like a brother, passed away on August 4th at 66 yrs. old due to complications from diabetes. He was born & raised in California & was vice president of creative advertising for Warner Bros. I still can’t believe he’s no longer with us. I love you Dale…RIP. Here’s the article written about him in Variety after he passed away:

“Jerry Lewis backstage with Gary Lewis & The Playboys at The Aladdin in 1993”

And on August 20th, Jerry Lewis passed away. As you all know, I was the keyboardist & musical director for Gary Lewis & The Playboys for 18 years so, due to all the telethons we performed at, all the times Jerry came out to see Gary perform & especially when Jerry invited us all to dinner in NYC while he was performing in Damn Yankees, I had the pleasure of speaking with him many times. He was kind, very nice & personable…and he always made us feel good. Oh yeah, and he was ALWAYS hilarious!!!

“One more backstage at the Aladdin”

I read many FB posts where people shared special moments they had with Jerry so I’d like to share one that was very special to me. It was autumn of 1991 & Jerry Lewis was in Florida and wanted to surprise Gary by coming to a show we were about to do in Florida. I was the only one in the band that knew he was coming because I had to make the arrangements with the theatre, handle all the logistics & still keep it a secret. Everything went perfectly as Gary performed a great show, was surprised to see his Dad & Jerry loved the performance! Backstage afterwards Jerry pulled me aside, said some very complimentary things to me as an artist & thanked me for everything that I do for his son. Then he finished the conversation by telling me, “you’re a pro”. I was touched. Meanwhile, Gary overheard the conversation and later on he told me that his Dad only uses the word “pro” as his highest compliment. Needless to say, I’ll never forget that evening.

8 Responses

  1. D.j. Dennis says:

    Awesome blog Rich!!!
    So very sorry for the loss of your cousin. I went on the site you posted about him, I was quite impressed, very talented.
    You take care,

  2. Maria Szentmiklossy Gregg says:

    Jerry’s comment was spot on. You are a “pro” in everything you do.

  3. Shelley J Sweet-Tufano says:

    Loved reading this blog. Even tho’ it scripts sadness, it also scripts joy and love.

  4. Denise Hebertm says:

    I am sorry for your loss yet again. A very hard year for you.

    You are a very busy man! Enjoy the rest of this year, stay safe and I’ll see you at Busch Gardens in January!

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