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Charity Spotlight: From The Pink Panther To Guitar Mash

Music is in my blood. My family’s story starts at Detroit’s Pink Panther, a well known jazz club where my mother was a lounge singer. My father used to check out her show. Growing up, music was always a big part of my life. I started taking guitar lessons at the age of ten so that I could learn to play and eventually join a band. Concerts, music festivals and jam sessions were a huge part of growing up. I eventually went on tour with The Dead for six years and sold beers in the parking lot to fund my travels. What a long strange trip it’s been… Living in New York, it’s not always easy to find people to hang out with and jam. There’s really no place to get together with a group of musicians (now friends), play some tunes and drink a few beers. When my good friend Rebecca Weller approached me about getting a group of guitarists together to form what is now Guitar Mash, I jumped on board immediately, Gibson in hand. Together with friends, we developed Guitar Mash—a musical non-profit that returns music to its social roots and creates connections between people of all ages and backgrounds. We organize a variety of events including flash mobs for teens and our annual Guitar Mash gala where hundreds of jammers of all ages play together. My favorite event is the Urban Campfire Jam, which I host in my SOHO loft. We get a group of about 80 people together plus a special guest musician. We play. We eat. Most recently we were joined by Bowie’s guitarist, Carlos Alomar. Our events are more than just fun, they support organizations like the Lower Eastside Girls Club, the Jazz Foundation of America, and Little Kids Rock. I’ve made great friends through Guitar Mash. It’s given me a great opportunity to meet people who I wouldn’t ordinarily encounter in my every day life. Want to get involved? Check out Guitar Mash.