Features James Taylor, Steven Tyler, and Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago Benefit Concert Goes Online Amid COVID-19


PHOTO BY BARRY BRECHEISEN

Shortly before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in an abrupt stop to measure music across the country in early March, the recent Stove Cool Music benefit series toasted its 20th year, celebrating music and baseball again in Boston on February 8 at Paradise Rock Club.

Since 2012, the concert has also taken place on stage at Metro in Chicago, with the benefit series having raised over $13 million total since 2000.

With live music off the table for the foreseeable future amidst COVID-19, Hot Stove has been forced to pivot, moving the Chicago installment of this year’s concert online, a ticketed virtual affair starting at just $5 (team/VIP packages are available) which is scheduled to embark tonight at 8 PM EDT on YouTube.

“Adapting was out necessarily really. thanks to what the inspiration to Be Named Later provides, it absolutely was in our face quite ever - that such a large amount of of our scholars didn’t have money for groceries. Or were all of the sudden home out of faculty without a laptop. or simply didn’t have rent. and therefore the Foundation To Be Named Later stepped up,” said Boston based musician Will Dailey. “But this always comes from the shows. This income - the money that we've got - comes from the recent Stove concerts. And if the show not happening in June meant we couldn’t keep supporting our programs or our scholars - well, then it had to happen.”

Dailey has been involved on stage and behind the scenes with the recent Stove series since about 2012.

The Hot Stove Cool Music concerts act because the fundraising centerpiece for the inspiration To Be Named Later. Money raised by the muse benefits nonprofits that assist urban youth.

To date, the inspiration has endowed nearly 150 scholarships named after concert co-founder Peter Gammons, a writer and tv personality enshrined within the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012 as recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for excellent baseball writing.

PHOTO BY BARRY BRECHEISEN

“Usually we'd analysis with say a laptop for one amongst our scholars, right? But, the inequities throughout our whole system are exacerbated by this moment. And our inefficiency maybe as a rustic to deal with them has also been exacerbated. Everything is true on the surface. and that we either do something about it or we don’t. Hot Stove features a 20 year legacy of always doing something about it,” Dailey explained. “The artists are always those to indicate up first and figure it out. I don’t know the way I’ll always have insurance. I don’t have a pension. then when things go bad, it’s reasonably like, ‘I’ll figure it out.’ We’re with great care wont to having to remain on our toes. And it’s quite a part of what you sign on for. But it’s also a part of being creative. and therefore the calling of being an artist is you wish to try to to it irrespective of what. then the calling of being human is you would like to participate compassionately irrespective of what. in order that they meet perfectly,” he said, noting the recent Stove crossroads of music and activism.

“The artists are probably the foremost flexible but also aware people out there. Because we’re connected to everyone in society - all walks of life. So we’re seeing things that not everyone seems to be seeing. Whether or not it's by touring or your own fan base. Your own fan base can have, economically, a good sort of people - culturally or geographically a good variety. So we've got most insight,” said Dailey. “Every artist on our roster gets to reasonably advocate for something with the way we run the muse To Be Named Later. we've got our staple things that we’re always participating in - but the pliability is so in line with music. Because you would like to be able to make an adjustment in music - that’s improvisation right there.”

In its twenty years, the new Stove Cool Music concerts have featured baseball playing musicians like ny Yankee great Bernie Williams and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo alongside artists with Chicago and Boston connections like Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, the Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Cheap Trick and more.

Today’s virtual lineup takes everything a step further.

“One of the advantages of this year’s Hot Stove Cool Music is that, because it’s virtual, you don’t should worry about touring schedules,” said Lin Brehmer, longtime Hot Stove Chicago emcee and 36 year host at heritage Chicago adult alternative station WXRT. “So you have got artists like Common and James Taylor and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith performing this year, and XRT favorites like Nick Lowe and Robyn Hitchcock, who can participate without leaving their home studio. So, therein way, it’s likely to be the foremost impressive, most diverse musical lineup that we’ve ever had.”

PHOTO BY BARRY BRECHEISEN

This year’s virtual Hot Stove event will feature both live and pre-recorded elements, bouncing between both Boston and Chicago settings, furthermore as an internet auction.

Faces from the baseball world like Gammons, Williams, Arroyo, Cubs President of Baseball Operations (and Foundation co-founder) Theo Eptein, Cubs television play-by-play announcer Len Kasper and more are all scheduled to perform alongside an array of acts ranging anywhere from alternative to blues courtesy of appearances by artists like Nada Surf, Dropkick Murphys and Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks of Tedeschi Trucks Band.

While many charitable events raise funds for donation to a charity, the muse To Be Named Later goes beyond that, not only raising money but seeing through distribution of it at the local level in both Boston and Chicago to make sure maximum impact.

“First of all, i buy to fulfill the students. That’s only 1 arm of what we do, one aspect,” said Dailey. “And then once a year, if I say, ‘Hey, I see a vicinity in need. Can we allot a pair of thousand here or there?’ We’re all quite ground troops. And, again, it all comes back to the actual fact that the artists are probably the foremost flexible but also aware people out there,” said the singer.

“One of the items that I’ve stressed on the air is that such a big amount of charities, you don’t necessarily want the event is attached at the grassroots level with the community. And you observe the list of the beneficiaries in Chicago - and it’s the Chicago Children’s Choir, Girls within the Game, it’s Jack Roosevelt Robinson West baseball league - you'll see exactly where the money goes. And it’s all community charities,” added Brehmer. “There’s most to be said for these large charities that are nationwide and lift huge sums of cash. But the thought that Hot Stove Cool Music raises many dollars to administer on to places on the side of Chicago and therefore the side of Chicago - the places where people need it most - is one in all the foremost gratifying aspects. and that i think it goes on to Theo Epstein’s brother Paul, who may be a caseworker, and knows the ins and outs of how easily money can drift or how it can get absorbed into costs,” said the emcee, noting the Foundation’s ability to maximise donations.

“It’s really about ensuring that these funds that get raised move to great causes. These are organizations we’ve personally vetted, visited, know executive directors at and see kids that are being served by them - and it feels great,” Epstein told Forbes in 2019 before the Chicago concert. “I’m a caseworker. That’s my job. So, for me, I’d never want to urge involved if I wasn’t directly observing where the money goes.”

PHOTO BY BARRY BRECHEISEN

In an era where it’s become increasingly difficult for artists to monetize recorded music, touring has become an important revenue stream for songwriters and musicians. Live concerts provide a chance to have interaction fans, sell branded merchandise and increase profile, which might translate to a bump within the streaming of online music.

Concert venues were amongst the primary to shut as shelter-in-place became the norm and can be the last to reopen.

With the loss of touring during the pandemic, Dailey has doubled down on his activism, finding creative ways to support venue employees who are even as severely impacted by lost revenue, performing a web “tour” to profit non-salaried workers and donating profits from a pair of recent song releases.

“The streaming has saved me. I lost two international tours. I lost two giant festivals at the top of this summer that were visiting be based around tours within the U.S. and various other projects that just didn’t work - that were all supported travel or music or camaraderie,” said the musician. “And i believe the one thing this pandemic has really driven house is that the sole real things that are human necessities out there are love, food, shelter and art. and therefore the rest is a component of our play - that doesn’t mean they’re bad or good. But those things, it’s really driven home by this pandemic that they're necessities. And our greatest answer of all of this, forward and better from it, is by helping one another - and not just attempt to survive it or get through it and stream enough shows to stay us distracted. we actually must show up for every other right away,” Dailey continued.

“I learned it timely. I’ve raised $34,000 [since March] paid intent on other things and communities that are most in need - musicians who are out of labor and employees of venues that don't seem to be salaried. And it’s continuing with Hot Stove. most of my ability to be able to try this has been my tenure at Hot Stove - and just the communication aspects that I learned. And what happens after you do give that much of yourself. The phone keeps ringing from doing the work. and so I’m hired to try to to this or that or work on these other things. once you lift up people, you get a bit bit higher yourself.”

PHOTO BY BRITA MENG OUTZEN

As always, Thursday’s Hot Stove Cool Music concert is sure to feature surprises. Last year, blues legend Buddy Guy, 83, took to the vaunted Metro stage for the primary time ever.

As the 2020 installment moves online as a results of the continued pandemic, one thing is certain: an entertaining evening of music courtesy of the Chicago and Boston All Stars.

“The camaraderie of the musicians is my fondest memory. When you’re first doing it, and you get to steer up and play your own songs and there’s maybe a ten piece band with a horn section, percussionists and guitar players that are all so magnificent and welcoming, it’s just mighty and powerful riding that wave on stage with an audience that has followed us for 20 years,” said Dailey.

“This coming together of the Boston and Chicago musical communities has been one among the foremost gratifying things on behalf of me,” Brehmer concurred. “But those two years where Eddie Vedder came, he did most over just a star turn where you kick off, wave and perhaps do one song. He’s the sort of guy who, when he gets on stage, he doesn’t want to go away. He played for 45 minutes both years and brought his own special Eddie Vedder flavor to the shows. Because, both years, he flew in José Cardenal - simply because that was his all time favorite player during a certain era of Chicago Cubs baseball,” he continued.

“That was a kind of moment that, as an emcee I’m speculated to be worrying about the subsequent auction item or introduction, but there i used to be hiding on the side of the stage with my cellular phone taking pictures of [Cubs first baseman] Anthony Rizzo and [former manager] Joe Maddon and Eddie Vedder and every one of those other players and coaches on stage participating in Hot Stove Cool Music. That’s quite unforgettable. Baseball and music is that the perfect marriage in my world. I’ve just been so happy to be a component of it.”