What a day I had yesterday......
Sometimes in life, everything just falls into place. The stars align and you go for the ride of a lifetime.
It takes years to add it all up and in a greater time frame than I can ever imagine.
That is the experience I had yesterday in Philadelphia.
We play a lot of shows out here on the road. Mostly in Clubs, Theaters and such.
Sometimes, lately in RSB, we get to play some very cool venues.
Yesterday we played at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
It was a BIG room, with big sound and stage and lighting, very cool indeed.
Still, their was so much more to this show that made it the gig of my life.
I met my friend Steve in 2007 playing with Bugs Henderson in Texas.
Steve and I share a common struggle and belief in a recovery program together.
Steve is an avid music lover and promoter and puts on events in Texas.
We became friends and began working together. I played many bike rally's and corporate
type events over the years for Steve. He is always thinking of me when he puts events together,
and how he can help get me and my music in front of the folks.
Steve came and saw RSB in January at Austin City Limits Live with Gregg Allman.
He loved the band! Thats when the ball began to roll......
Royal Southern Brotherhood performed at the 35th World Convention (Of a Recovery Program that saved my life) yesterday in Philadelphia, Pa. for 3000 screaming addicts and alcoholics.
It was a dream come true for me. The crowd was inspiring to say the least.
It was an early day for the band after a late night. We had an 8:30am load in and the gig
was at 1pm. These are not musicians hours :)
The guys in the band were awesome and respectful and knew this meant a lot to me.
But that being said, I don't know if they considered this to be much of a gig.
A show during the day, recovering addicts.....sounds kind of dull.
But I knew that this would be the best gig ever. These are my people, and they are wild.
No one has more fun than people in recovery. They get high off the music, the vibe, the
spirituality of the experience.
We hit the stage and began rocking. They were digging it from the first note.
About 4 tunes into the set, I was to sing "Gone to Texas".
I knew I had to do it, so I walked to the mic and said loud and proud
"My name is Mike and I'm an Addict." The screams were ferocious!!! They leapt to their feet....
"I'm from the Wings of Freedom group in Nederland, Texas" More screams, even louder now.
I gave my clean date and told them what an honor and a privilege it was to be there playing music for them and with the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and then we played "Gone to Texas".
Women screamed and howled, huge grown men cried in front of the stage. I swear I saw a woman faint into her chair!!! The lights were divine and it felt like heaven. It took everything I had to hold back losing it and just crying in front of the audience, but I made it through with the help of the band
and we rocked that song like never before. Standing ovations all around the room. Cheers and Hoots and Hollers filled the room. The energy was uncontainable....mesmerizing.
Immediately we went into Fire on the Mountain and everyone got up and rushed the stage.
For the rest of the hour, 1000 people stood in front of the stage hanging on every note that was played.
They screamed so loud at times, we couldn't hear ourselves. The band smiled relentlessly, it was never ending. We finished with "One Way Out" and walked off to screams and chants so loud, we had to walk right back onstage. I walked up to the mic and said "So what you're saying is KEEP COMING BACK!"
THEY WENT CRAZY!!!!!!!!! They began chanting - KEEP COMING BACK, KEEP COMING BACK!!!!!!
The band launched into "Gimme Shelter" and the roof was officially raised.
Cyril and Devon took off to the front rocking, Charlie and Yonrico laid down the baddest groove ever.
I just stood their for a brief moment and took it all in......
10 years ago, I did not own a guitar. I had pawned them all for drug money.
I did not have a home, could not see my kids.....I was hopeless.
I began my recovery journey and thought I would never play music again. I will never be able to be around alcohol or places or people in the music world anymore.
I accepted that fact and moved forward because I knew I was killing myself and I had had enough.
If I had to live without playing music but live clean and sober, so be it.
10 years later I am playing with the Royal Southern Brotherhood in front of 3000 screaming drug addicts at the World Convention........UNREAL.
God is good and life is weird. You never know whats coming up, but when you're living right and doing the next right thing, anything is possible.
Charlie and I stayed after the show and hung out at the convention.
We met up with my friend Tom and tried to see some of the workshops and meetings, but we never got further than the hallway. People stopped us and wanted pictures, autographs, and hugs....lots of hugs.
We stood in that hallway for over an hour hugging people, from all over the world.
It was so amazing and wonderful and I was and still am in awe. It almost feels like a dream.
It certainly was a dream come true and I know in my heart that I am forever grateful. I am so grateful to the program that saved my life, gave me a real life, and brought my family and music
together. I am thankful to RSB for being a class act and really showing those addicts a good time.
This was the best gig of my life, I can't imagine any other show topping this...
Peace, Love, Zito