Studio musicians are often known for their lengthy resumes. Even if their names are not familiar, you certainly know the songs they’ve played on. There are literally thousands to choose from — everyone from Aerosmith to ZZ Top, Neil Diamond to Neil Young.
It may not be surprising that the name "the Cranktones" doesn’t ring a bell. Honestly, they don’t really exist — as a band, anyway — except when they get together for a handful of Southern California gigs each year. And, for the third year they return on Dec. 13 at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace for Christmas with the Cranktones, a benefit concert on behalf of the Kern County Cancer Fund, which provides financial support to local people who’ve been touched by cancer.
Proceeds raised help with medical costs associated with one’s cancer care, including prescriptions, co-pays, deductibles, insurance premiums and COBRA. Over the last three years, the Kern County Cancer Fund has allocated more than $2 million dollars to more than 400 local cancer patients in need.
The unofficial leader of the Cranktones, Carl Verheyen, longtime member of perennial rock legends Supertramp and a favorite guest artist at the Guitar Masters concert series, is excited to bring the group back to Bakersfield, and particularly to the legendary Crystal Palace.
“We love this town, so it’s never hard to convince the guys to play one more show every year. The fans are so appreciative and into our show. Plus, we get to stay at the Padre and, this year, even play the Palace. What could be better?”
The guys are some of the best musical sidemen in the business, including Jim Cox on keyboards; Chad Wackerman and John Ferraro on drums; Tom Child on bass; and Craig Copeland on guitar and vocals.
“We’ve made it a tradition to invite a special guest to come up to play with us, and we usually keep it under wraps. But, I just couldn’t wait to tell everyone that we’ll have the best slide guitarist on the planet, Sonny Landreth, sitting in with the band next week,” Verheyen said.
Verheyen’s Rolodex is enviable, indeed, and it took just one call to get Landreth out from Lafayette, Louisiana, for this year’s show. Multi-Grammy-nominee Landreth has collaborated with the elite names in guitar over the years — Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Kenny Loggins, Derek Trucks, and the list goes on. It will be like "old-home week" for Landreth and the band, as they’ve traded licks on the world’s biggest stages and are coming together to benefit the Kern County Cancer Fund.
“If you get your best friends together, you might well find the magic,” Landreth muses. “I don’t take opportunities like this for granted, and I’m so happy to be on one of the music’s most important stages and, hopefully, play a small part in making life better for those walking the cancer road.”
— Rick Kreiser is the founder of Guitar Masters.