Robin Moran is the Executive Director and Creator of The Channel Reunion Concert.
I was a bartender at The Channel the last two years the club was open (1990-1991). It was the absolute BEST club I had worked at. What other venue could you go to work and be surrounded by the BEST staff, make money, and see all of you favorite artists perform? I was not as fortunate as some of my co-workers who worked there much longer and saw many of the greats. Many former employees tell their stories of Roy Orbison, Iggy Pop, Alice in Chains, Wendy O. Williams, etc. I think some of the shows that stand out in my mind would be, GWAR for one. So messy and incredibly insane.
One of my favorite shows was Cheap Trick! You couldn’t move in the place and I was lucky enough to be Cheap Trick’s bartender. They ROCKED the place and were the sweetest group of guys. They were kind to the staff and the fans. During the week were all the local bands. Loved Shyboy! Great guys and their music rocked. Tin Pan Alley was another favorite of mine! So many local bands I loved. Remember, I was there at the end, so there were many acts I missed and wished I had seen.
Who came up with the idea for the Reunion Concert? Me! About two years ago I was on the phone with Debi Longo. Debi worked at The Channel with me, and we were talking about the great people we worked with and the bands and how we wished we could go back for “just one more great night” and I said, “Wait, why can’t we?” Debi was in 100%. I had worked in other clubs and had done events in the past. Originally the idea was to have an all day and night event, in the parking lot where the club originally stood. So I started making calls. We thought that Gillette still owned it but found out they had sold it. I took a drive to the spot one Sunday and sat there just looking at it and imagining how it would all happen. It was so exciting to think of what could be. It became my bucket list. I knew a few people in the industry, so I got on the phone and started inquiring about what it would take to accomplish an event of this magnitude. I was told I’d need to build a stage, acquire permits, staffing, etc. I’m doing this with no money and wanted any money raised to go to a charity. This was an event created solely to reunite friends and bands & raise money for a charity. The satisfaction was in making it a success. So for the first event we decided it would be smart to pick a venue and my choice is Club Royale. It’s a great room, great sound system and plenty of space. Recently I spoke with Bill Kenney of Bill Kenney Productions. Bill has been an adviser on our event. We will revisit the event being held where The Channel stood for next year. (Yes, we’re talking about doing this again!)
I had met Tony Lentini, so he was the first professional I asked. He was in right away, and the ball was rolling. I started bringing on other people I had met from the industry. I needed a board of directors. Every person I approached while creating my board of directors said yes. I told every one of them that they would not make a dime on this event. They didn’t care. They loved the idea.
Next I asked Hirsh Gardner. Brilliant business man, musician, producer. He was in. Then Liz Borden of Lizzie Borden & The Axes. I knew Liz would bring a vibe I wanted. The next question was what charity to give the concert’s proceeds to. Hirsh told me I should call Woody Giessmann of the Del Fuegos. Woody is founder/creator of Right~Turn Recovery and has produced many charitable events with great success and I needed to have a charitable organization that would guide me in this venture. I made the call. Woody was in. And this is how it all began! It has been a long road and this has definitely been a learning experience but one that will raise a lot of money for a very deserving organization Right~Turn Recovery!
How did we pick the bands? I had my wish list, of course. The other board members created their own list and we cross-referenced the lists. We all pretty much had the same thoughts on who should play. Then we contacted them. Hirsh Gardner brought most of them on board. Charlie Farren & Farrenheit, The Fools, Jon Butcher and of course Hirsh’s bandmates New England were all in and excited. Gary Shea & Jimmy Waldo are flying in for the event. New England hasonly reunited once since I think 1981. John Fannon actually has a solo show the night before at Club Passim in Cambridge which we know will be special with a surprise treat for the fans of New England. Boston musicians are a tight group of very special artists and they’re all there for each other. I asked Robin Lane & The Chartbusters, and Lizzie Borden, who contacted the Axes and they were all in. I called Sal Baglio of The Stompers, he called the rest of the band and another yes. We did have a few bands on our lists that we contacted, who are no longer together or had key members pass away. That was sad.
The production end of this event will be the biggest challenge. That’s where Tony Lentini comes in. Tony is amazing, having toured more than half of his life with the biggest bands in the world. I can’t imagine having anyone else as the head of production. Hirsh Gardner has brought on Guitar Center to provide all of our backline. Guitar Center has been a huge help in many ways. Not only is Guitar Center providing the backline, they’re bringing in guitar techs and creating our posters.
Everyone involved has been so supportive and excited to be involved. For me, this has been a dream, that has materialized into so much more. As many of my friends know, if you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to do it bigger and better and work a million times harder to do it. The most important thing from the time I started this journey was that the show maintain its integrity. This show was created to go back for one night, but it is also to raise as much money as we possibly can for Right~Turn Recovery. This is such a wonderful organization and staffed with professionals who go above and beyond to help those in the stronghold of addiction find recovery.
The people who either played, worked or were fans of The Channel and are members on the group page, have rallied with so much support for the event has been overwhelming. I thank all of them for their support. This has been a huge learning experience for me and every second has been amazing. There have been bumps in the road but with each one I learned something. My board of directors, Woody Giessmann, Hirsh Gardner, Tony Lentini, Liz Borden and Debi Longo, have all guided me with wisdom and inspiration. They listened to my dream and have worked tirelessly to make it come true. We have other people who are coming on board to volunteer for the night of the show. Natale Zeus Fisconaro will be Tony Lentini’s right hand man. Zeus is amazing at production and a great man. I am incredibly blessed to have all of these people in my life and from the bottom of my heart I thank them.
Peace & Love