Rock stars of a true light

Posted: July 19, 2013 in Interviews

Chris ShapiroBy: Chris Shapiro

A Pannutti production is a family event.  There’s a daughter at every ticket gate.  Being a part of the work, they share in the pride that their father, Eddie Pannutti, has been the top concert promoter in the Youngstown, Ohio region for the past 30 years.

Beyond his successful career as a promoter, having worked with such names as Johnny Cash, Pannutti cares about people.  His family always comes first, one meeting of Pannutti will prove that, but even those not related to him can experience the kindness and generosity of the man.  The most recent testimony of this lies in the fact that the concert he promoted on June 15th at the Warren amphitheater was a charity benefit raising funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

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The Godfather of Rock ‘n Roll, Eddie Money, shines with inner light as he performs for Relay for Life. Photo by Dan Killa.

Joining Pannutti in his efforts were long-time friends Gary Markasky and the Godfather of Rock ‘n Roll Eddie Money.

These three men joined forces not for their own glory but to assist in the need of others.   There was a need in the community.  Those fighting cancer need assistance and these three men stepped up and accepted the challenge.

In doing so, Money, Pannutti and Markasky earn the title of rock star not in the sense of the stereotype definition floating around in popular culture.  They are stars because of the light that shines from within them, from their soul.

Their rock is the music and their light they emit is the passion they have for that music and the way they use their passion to help those in need.

For them, a concert is when the rock ‘n roll family comes together and theirs is an extended family that includes fans, band members, stage hands and even a young reporter or two.

Families help each other during tough times.  That’s exactly what this concert was about.  It was a way for these rock stars to reach out and give from their lives to those who struggle.

Helping those in need is just as important as the music they play.  It gives these men meaning in what they do.  It sets them apart from their contemporaries.

You see this in the way they bring the concert to life and the way they interact with audience.

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Gary Markasky, former lead guitarist of the Michael Stanley Band and concert promoter Eddie Pannutti moments before showtime. Photo by Cyndi Wofton.

Pannutti is the man behind the scenes who makes sure every detail has been checked.  His iPhone rings constantly the day of the show as he breaks his back to ensure the best concert production he can.  Pannutti is a man who makes things happen and can be taken at his word because it is good as gold.

When Markasky picks up his Strat, the universe is at his command.  He never ceases to experiment with his sound allowing him to perfect his craft each time he plays.  Every solo is taken to a new height where even Hendrix is listening in.  If you watch him closely, he’s feeding off the energy of the people around him, the audience, the members in his band, friends and family.  He knows they love to watch him play and he loves to play for them.

Then there’s Money, the Godfather of Rock ‘n Roll.  You won’t find a better class act within the world of Rock than Money.  He flew into Ohio with no sleep having done a show the night before.  He performed a stellar show for the Relay for Life, did an encore and stayed well past midnight signing an estimated thousand autographs.  The next morning he had to get up at five a.m. to leave for another show.

He’s a performer who actually loves his fans and he sees each show as a way to reach out to those fans and bring, not just entertainment, but hope.

Because when you take the time to study Money’s songs they’re really about hope.

Study the lyrics to his songs, both singles and album tracks alike.

“Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise” aren’t just great rock songs, they’re songs of hope.  Money sings about searching for a brighter tomorrow in both.  There’s the sense of taking a chance on the sight unseen and believing that things will get better.  The future is ours to determine.

Money’s album tracks are full of hope.  There’s “Pull Together” off his successful 1988 album Nothing To Lose that has the following lyric, “Let’s pull together both hearts through the fire, cause sooner or later I can see us standing shoulder to shoulder.”

Then, in “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” from his platinum 1978 album Life For the Taking, the character of the song won’t let his troubles keep him from achieving his goals.  Money sings, “You might knock me out but I’m gonna break free.”

Even in his song “We Should Be Sleeping,” which is currently being featured in a Beautyrest commercial.  Money sings, “Things will get better, I promise ya, we’ll end this nightmare before it can start.”

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Eddie Money performing a solo during the Relay for Life benefit in Warren, Ohio on June 15th. Photo by Dan Killa.

Hope gives a person the power to fight another day.  It is why people come out to see Money when he’s in town.  It’s why his songs are played every day on radios across the spectrum.  Because people can connect with the hope that he has in his music.  They listen to it and it spreads out into their lives.  It touches the soul and helps them face the challenges of each day with the confidence and belief that they can achieve, overcome and make better any situation.  Music of that caliber is more powerful than any type of medicine a doctor could prescribe.

Paradise first exists in the mind.  The seed of hope is then planted and the melody of the music will do the rest.  Then one day, the feet of those who held onto that hope will be standing in Paradise.

There’s power in music and those who make music and perform it have a responsibility to those who listen to it.  Money holds this responsibility in the highest regard.

Though out the concert experience, Money reminded fans about why they were there that night.  He reminded them of the cause, those in need, and asked for all in attendance to extend some sort of help.  Money supports several charities and foundations including the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund for wounded Veterans of our country and “Beat Cancer Like a Drum” which is a fund established to help Glenn Symmonds, Money’s drummer of 25 plus years, as he fights bladder cancer.

Our society needs men like Eddie Money, Gary Markasky and Eddie Pannutti who back their words with action.  They’re leaders in their communities and in the world of Rock because they use what they’ve been given and share it to make the world better place to live.  They bring hope through their music and by the way they exemplify their lives.

These are good men.  And you can’t keep a good man down.

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