BILLY MORRISON AND DAVE NAVARRO RAISE MONEY AND AWARENESS WITH ABOVE GROUND REVIEW+PHOTOS: ABOVE GROUND @ THE BELASCO THEATER 4/16/18
LOS ANGELES, CA- It was a Monday night in downtown Los Angeles and the line outside of the Belasco Theater stretched down the street to the corner of Hill and West 11th. Fans have queued up to catch a special charity evening called Above Ground.
It was a night that featured the talents of Dave Navarro, Billy Morrison, Mark McGrath, Dr. Drew, and Steve-O, just to name a few, all with the goal of raising awareness and money for MusiCares, an organization that fosters funds for mental health and treatment.
To date, the organization has successfully raised approximately 7 million dollars a year through outreach, fundraisers, and live, all-star concerts just like the one being held at The Belasco. In all, MusiCares has raised an astonishing one-hundred million through its charity work and its partnership with the Grammy Foundation.
Inside, the driving duo behind Above Ground, Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Billy Morrison (guitarist for Billy Idol and Royal Machines and has previously been a member of The Cult and Stimulator), are talking with press in front of a wall mural of Any Warhol’s most recognizable art work and a statue of the legend himself.
For Navarro, this event hits a personal note:
“I’ve just lost a lot of friends to suicide, and depression, and mental illness, and I myself have struggled with depression for many, many years. Giving back is the only solution for someone like me.”
“I’ve always felt that the way I grew up is quite common – you get told to buck up. Pull yourself together. You’re not sad, you’re just bored. Go join the army. And so Dave and my position is to raise awareness that asking for help is the real strength and maybe kids out there who are fans will say well if they can do it…that’s the whole point of this.”
Inside, the crowd has amassed and is treated to a high energy, collaborative show filled with dozens of notable acts including Billy Idol, Billy Duffy from the Cult, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Steve Stevens, an adrenaline filled performance by Donavan Leitch of Camp Freddy, and Jessie Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal pimping the reddest suit ever seen on the stage at The Belasco.
The extremely talented collective of musicians provided those in attendance with a one-two punch of musical distinction by performing two seminal albums in their entirety: “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” by Adam and The Ants and “The Velvet Underground & Nico” by Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.
The intermission was hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Steve-O [accompanied by a service dog he rescued in Peru] as they auctioned off various memorabilia including autographed boxing gloves worn by Oscar De La Hoya that went for $550 and an Andy Warhol screen print of Marilyn Monroe that garnered $1,800.
And it wouldn’t be an appearance by Steve-O of Jackass fame if he didn’t perform a stunt. In this case, he had his hair set on fire to an explosive applause. Oh Steve-O.
Steve-O, who has been clean for a decade now, shared a funny-not-so-funny story about how he once was so messed up that he visited his dealer who was shooting liquid heroin. The dealer popped a vein in his neck and splattered blood all over some powder cocaine and Steve-O still snorted it – fresh dealer blood and all. The audience laughed because tragedy plus time equals comedy, but it’s still a warning to all those suffering from drug addiction. It’s a shit show.
That is is why MusiCares and Above ground is so important to the music community suffering from drug addiction and it’s terrible and detrimental results. They both give a voice, resources, and money to fight a plague destroying people in the worst way.
Dr. Drew said it best: MusiCares and Above Ground “are the model for how to do it for the rest of the Nation.”
They are approaching musicians and families dealing with the ravages of drug addiction in an accessible and welcoming way. They are saying that an addict doesn’t have to feel ashamed to be fucked up and there are people who want to help. It’s a health issue and music can bring together the art, information, and resources to fight back.
“It’s important to spread the word that it’s ok to ask for help, and that’s what we want to do.”
Wise words from an artist who has experienced and seen his fair share of pain in music and in life.