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Musician's camaraderie sparks Tom Petty tribute

January 11th | Tommy Wells Print this article   Email this article  

Aaron Benolkin's desire to play music with some friends has taken a strange twist over the past few months. It'll also take them to the stage at Alice's Champagne Palace this Saturday evening for a special show honoring one of Rock and Roll's top performers.

On Saturday, Benolkin and his friends will stage a show called, "Anything That's Rock 'n Roll: A Night of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers."

The band will begin at 9 p.m.

Tickets for the show will be $20 at the door. Tickets will also be sold in advance at Alice's, the Homer Bookstore and Old Inlet Bookshop for $15.

The start of the show didn't begin as a tribute to Petty, who died in October. It was more about getting the opportunity to play with some friends.

"Last year at about this time, I put together a band of my musician friends, whom I don't usually get to play music with, to perform one show covering nothing but Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers tunes," said Benolkin. "We called it 'Anything That's Rock 'n Roll.' I could never have imagined how well it'd all come together. Not only did the band gel, had a blast learning and playing the material, but the interest and demand for tickets for that one show, sold out a couple weeks ahead of time. This ended up resulting in an encore show in Homer."

"I really thought we were just going to do those shows and have some great memories from it," he added. "But throughout this last year, each of those band mates would ask, individually, when are we gonna do it again? So a few months back, as I was looking at my schedule, it looked like I had some weekends in January to fill. I reached out to the crew, and sure enough everybody was available, so we scheduled a show."

The show is part of the Salmonfest winter series.

Petty's death on Oct. 2 added more steam for the band's reunion by drawing attention to his long career in music.

"He went out like a rock star, having just completed his and the Heartbreakers' 40th anniversary tour, still at the top of his game," said Benolkin, a guitarist. "I can't think of many musicians of his caliber who've lived their life so true to their ideals and truly believed in Rock and Roll above all else. And the legacy he's left us has got to be one of the most classic collections of songs."

Joining Benolkin on stage this weekend will be Jared Woods, who handles the vocals and plays guitar. Also on hand will be keyboardist Tom Bargelski, bassist Silas Hoffman and drummer Tim Haren.


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