Mark Hudson

Beatlemania Turns 50 With The World’s Biggest Beatles Celebration In NYC

On February 7, 1964, The Beatles arrived in America and the world has never been the same. On February 7, 2014, The Fest for Beatles Fans, the world’s longest running Beatles celebration, will honor this moment with a 50th Anniversary event in New York City, the launch pad for the band’s world domination. Event founder Mark Lapidos announced that the 2014 Fest will take place on Friday, February 7 through Sunday, February 9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, with the dates and days of the week corresponding exactly to the dates of the Beatles’ 1964 arrival at JFK Airport, and performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Lapidos says, “We’re going all out to make this celebration of the Beatles’ 50th Anniversary and The Fest’s own 40th Anniversary, into our biggest and best show ever! It is exciting to return to New York City, to the very place where it all started in America.”

Guests at the New York Fest will include many close associates of the Beatles, several of whom were also chart topping British Invasion music stars including Donovan (“Mellow Yellow”), Peter Asher (Peter & Gordon “World Without Love” and former A&R at Apple Records), Billy J. Kramer (“Bad To Me”), Chad & Jeremy (“Yesterday’s Gone”), and former UK head of the Beatles Fan Club, Freda Kelly who is profiled in the recent documentary “Good Ol’ Freda.” Featuring more live music than ever before, additional guests include Ringo Starr’s current musical director Mark Rivera and former producer Mark Hudson, the Smithereens, Birds of Paradox (Steve Holley of Wings, and Gary Van Scyoc & Adam Ippolito of John Lennon’s 1972 concert band, the Nutopians), Ed Sullivan Show production executive Vince Calandra who stood in for George Harrison during “Sullivan” TV rehearsals, last season of NBC’s “The Voice” finalist Garrett Gardner, and Beatles tribute band Liverpool.


MADAME MAYHEM: Music, Mayhem…And A Guy Named Mark!

Madame Mayhem performs to an enthusiastic crowd at the Cutting Room during her White Noise debut CD launch party last Saturday (photo by Anne Raso).

I was recently introduced to no-holds-barred-belter Madame Mayhem by her publicist, the legendary Liz Derringer, and was invited to her recent debut album launch party at midtown Manhattan’s Cutting Room this past Saturday night–which also served as a well-attended fundraiser for Musicians On Call.

Madame (who is shy about giving out her real name) is a New York native who was a “top camper” at Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp in LA–so uniquely talented, in fact, that super-counselor Mark Hudson (best known for his production work with Ringo Starr, and as co-writer of the Grammy-winning Aersosmith song “Livin’ On The Edge”) took her under his wing and got “a little help from his friends.” Her debut album White Noise is star-studded and many of those musicians have been creating a buzz on this Lady In Black all over the industry.

Moyer and Hudson–both performed with Madame Mayhem during her 90 minute set at the Cutting Room (photo  by Anne Raso).

Madame Mayhem’s sound if straight ahead hard rock–something sorely missing from the scene right now (I didn’t have to tell you that!). Hudson not only produced and mentored Ms. Mayhem, but got the likes of Disturbed and Adrenaline Mob bassist John Moyer, former Quiet Riot/current Blue Oyster Cult bassist/Rock Camp counselor Rudy Sarzo and legendary axeman Earl Slick to play on her debut disc, White Noise (on HeadBall Records) which went on sale on Tuesday, October 30.

L to R: Madame Mayhem with Adrenaline Mob guitarist Mike Orlando, producer Mark Hudson and Disturbed/Adrenaline Mob bassist John Moyer (photo by Anne Raso).

I have sat in on a few of Hudson’s Rock Camp classes but was not at the LA Rock Camp attended by Mayhem. Hudson is a favored counselor not only because of his years in the business and the good advice he doles out to his campers, but because he always seems to be enjoying himself but because he seems to have something to offer to every musical level of camper, from shaky tambourine players to guitar players who give Jimmy Page a run for his money. To the best of my knowledge, Mayhem is the only Rock Camp act he has personally been knocked out enough by to produce and bring up through the ranks of the fickle music business.  Now, that’s really saying something for her talents!

Madame Mayhem’s debut CD White Noise will rock you like…Hurricane Sandy and a big bag of Halloween candy combined. (Photo courtesy of HeadBall Records.)

Mayhem’s record release party included a fantastic 90 minute set which included the fantastic Matty Amendola on the skins (one of the NYC area’s “young Turks” in the Skins Department) and Mark Hudson and John Moyer sitting in for a few tunes–Hudson sang his self-penned “Livin’ On The Edge” and Moyer actually performed on the track he did for the White Noise album, “Dead Will Rise.” The only disappointment of the evening was that several superstars who played on White Noise were not able to attend the opening due to inclement weather–and they included former Cars guitar slinger Elliot Easton, and the aforementioned Sarzo and Slick. I was happy to meet John Moyer’s bandmate, axeman Mike Orlando at the Madame Mayhem CD launch party, although he did not sit in on the set like Moyer did.

This enthusiastic Madame Mayhem fan was thrilled to get his White Noise CD signed by Moyer, Hudson and Mayhem–rumor has it that he is now trying to grow a multi-colored beard like Hudson’s, getting his hair braided like Moyers and is sporting the spiky cuff bracelets that Mayhem has helped popularize recently, LOL (photo by Anne Raso).

For more info on Madame Mayhem, visit her official site, Also be sure to like her official Facebook page, Her Twitter handle is @mayhemofficial. The White Noise album can be purchased for only $8.99 on Rock on, Madame!–Anne M. Raso

The Fest For Beatles Fans–"A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed For All!"

Photos and text by Anne M. Raso

We here at THE MAC WIRE were lucky enough to pop in at The Fest For Beatles Fans (which runs through tomorrow night). This most famous of Fab Four celebrations is at the Crowne Plaza, Meadowlands (in Secaucus, NJ) and is proudly celebrating their 38th year, thanks to promoter and founder Mark Lapidos–pictured  with Micky and Donna Dolenz!

We really dig the panels and the Meet The Special Guests event with The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz (one of the great ’60s rock and roll storytellers of all time), former Wings members  Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough and Ringo Starr solo producer Mark Hudson. Sadly, legendary producer (and Paul McCartney’s almost-brother-in-law) Peter Asher could not make this Friday night panel, but he came for events today (Saturday, 3-24) and tomorrow (Sunday, 3-25). Martin Lewis is moderating all the discussions and his famous for being a Beatles scholar and humorist. We have to be honest and say that we like him because he reminds us of a hipper version of celebrity judge Piers Morgan (seen at far right in photo below).

But of course, it is always Mark Hudson who makes everyone laugh the hardest at the Fest although the story about Harry Nilsson coming to his rescue when he was down-and-out and going through a divorce was a real tearjerker! He was happy to pose with fans and even had adorable handmade dolls of himself at his table–they’re gorgeous and he really does make them himself!

We enjoyed the panel, and the highlight for us were Dolenz talking about sitting in on the Sgt. Pepper sessions (he actually stayed at Macca’s famous Maida Vale house in London) while he was trying to escape the whole Monkees taking control of their own recordings controversy…as well as the first time he ever heard of the Beatles in 1963 when he was driving down Van Nuys Boulevard in LA to a bad summer job–and a local radio station started announcing they would have a special Beatles day. Dolenz also dazzled with other surprising info on his career–including the fact that Frank Zappa wanted him to hire him as the drummer for The Mothers Of Invention shortly after The Monkees went off the air.

“The Mick” also did a signing that had one of the longest lines we had ever seen. There was about 200 people in line less than five minutes after Meet The Special Guests panel was over at 9:30 PM, and he was unsure if he could get to them in the 90 minutes slotted. He will be doing more signings this weekend as well as a fan Q&A session at 5:50 tonight (Saturday, 3-24)–followed by a performance at 9:15 with Liverpool, one of the best Beatles cover bands ever. Mark Hudson will also lead an all-star jam a little later in that set. By the way, if you meet up with Denny Seiwell at the Fest, you will probably get a glimpse of his awesome vintage Beatles boots–he bought them for three pounds in 1964 and has managed to keep them in mint condition.

Finally, we need to comment that there is always a Beatles singalong going on in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza during the Fest (including impromptu go-go dancing by male and female Beatles fans alike). You can bring your own instruments if you’d like!

The memorabilia for sale at the Fest is insane–you can find anything from Beatles Hairspray to Butcher Block albums in all sorts of condition. The Rockaway Records stand has more Bucther Blocks than we have ever seen in one place in every condition depending on what your budget is. There are super-rarities there like the only Let It Be album printed on clear vinyl.

There are also plenty of Monkees items, and plenty of Beatles authors with tables. Bruce Spizer–whom we met in front of the Hard Rock Cafe during Ringo’s 70th birthday party there–has all his books with him to sign including his excellent new coffee-table sized tome called Beatles For Sale On Parlophone Records. It’s his seventh book and includes photos of much of his private Beatles memorabilia collection! There was also a 60s Dress Up Contest–and we thought it was adorable that this lady made matching outfits out of Yellow Submarine fabric for her and her toddler daughter.

For more info on the Fest, go to Tickets today and tomorrow are $45 per day for adults.


Photos And Text By Anne M. Raso

The first Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp back at New York’s Gibson Studios (adjacent to the world-famous Record Plant in Midtown West) on January ’11 was so great that the MAC WIRE had to return for another visit. We were sad to see that two of our favorite instructors–Mark Farner and Sandy Gennaro–were on summer tours and could not return but we made sure to hang with the world-famous bassist extraordinaire and super camp counselor Rudy Sarzo. The poor guy just couldn’t get rid of us. We sat in on his master class, his band’s performance with guest star Leslie West and even dinner on Saturday night. All the counselors and campers practiced on Friday and Saturday (August 13th and 14th) in anticipation of individual band performances and a jam with the likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Sly & The Family Stone (unforttunately without Sly) and Tommy James (on Sunday, August 15th at Bethel Woods Center For The Arts, site of the original Woodstock Festival which was celebrating its 42nd anniversary). Each camp band was assigned three classic rock songs to play on the big night. Other fabulous instructors this time around included Kip Winger, Mark Hudson, Kasim Sultan, David Rosenthal from Billy Joel’s band and Joe Stefko of Turtles fame.

     Photos on this page include Rudy’s wonderful master bass class (featuring four bassists, two drummers and lots of stories about playing on the Blizzard Of Oz tour and Paul McCartney’s work that he suggested listening to). It still sticks in our heads that Rudy told his master bass class students that Paul McCartney’s best bass work was on George Harrison-penned songs and cited “Something” as possibly Macca’s best work on his instrument. Rudy and his official campers, who were forced to change their name from Brown Acid to Mudslide after objections from a musician who played in Jimi Hendrix’s band at Woodstock (this unnamed guy said that brown acid really caused a lot of big problems at the festival), but Rudy told us with a smile, “I actually wanted to change the name of the group to Winger.” (That’s sort of an inside joke since Kip Winger was another one of the excellent counselors at this particular version of R&R Fantasy Camp.) The three songs Mudslide were practicing for the big Sunday night show were “Black Magic Woman, “Hey Joe” and “Woodstock” (perfect choices given the venue of the concert)!

     The highlight of Saturday–the day we visited–was undoubtedly Leslie West coming in with his statuesque wife Jenni (who were actually married on the Bethel Woods Center For The Arts stage two years ago) to jam and so soon after his recent surgery. He was in great spirits, telling jokes and really wailing and playing his best licks with the campers. His pals, Fred Norris from the Howard Stern Show and author May Pang were there, to cheer on both West and the campers, and the legendary axeman probably signed about 75 pieces of memorabilia and posed for as many pictures in just a two-hour period. After performing with all the camp bands, he had a huge pile of Gibson guitars to sign for the VIP campers and he doled out some good (and funny) advise to some of the younger campers watching him sign the guitars–many of the campers appeared to be of junior high and high school age, and it was great to see so many young girls who took up the guitar. (At the last NYC camp in January, there were only female vocalists in the camp bands.) It was also great to catch Fred Norris jamming with Kip Winger’s band. Winger is impressive because he plays every instrument in his assigned studio with the campers.

    There will be another Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp coming up sponsored by Citibank in October–you can bet we will be covering that and our pal Rudy will be coming back (so we are putting all bass players on alert) and before then there is the camp with Paul Stanley at the Playboy Mansion (see for more details). Til it’s time to report on the next R&R Fantasy Camp here at the MAC WIRE, keep practicing and save up your pennies, because this superstar-studded camp is so worth the dough! You can bet that MAC WIRE correspondent Anne Raso will be practicing her beloved cowbell and maybe even talk Rudy Sarzo into letting her play on “Don’t Fear The Reaper” when he comes to town with Blue Oyster Cult again (LOL)!

The Mac Wire’s Anne Raso Goes To Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp

Text And Photos By Anne M. Raso

Have you ever wondered about Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp and whether it is worth the steep price of admission? Well, we here at say to pick one of the camps with your favorite artist as a counselor and invest your hard-earned cash…because you get to spend hours upon hours with them in an intimate setting and learn three songs with them (including an original) and even get to record with them if you select certain package deals for the camp!

   We observed for a couple of days at the recent New York Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp, held at the Gibson Guitar Studios in midtown (this is the former Hit Factory where the likes of Thriller were recorded), and we were lucky enough to roam freely from studio to studio and check out the “counselors” (rock stars) and “campers” (students). Each band named themselves, learned three songs (including a Who song to be performed with visiting superstar Roger Daltrey) and recorded one song in a nearby studio. Bands consisted of six or seven members plus the counselors. Counselors during our visit included Rudy Sarzo, Mark Hudson, Sandy Gennaro, Non Hendryx, Mark Farner, Richie Kotzen and Kip Winger. We have to admire all the patience and knowledge the ccounselors had with their “campers”–and have to extend a special thank you to Mark Hudson for letting yours truly play tambourine on the all-star jam of The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There” and to Richie Kotzen for letting me play cow bell on The Who’s “Can’t Explain.” 

     Each counselors also gave a “Master Class” where students could request to play anything from the artist’s repertoire. We sat in on Mark Farner’s class last Sunday in the basement of the Gibson Studios and were impressed to learn that Mark can play every part of every Grand Funk song! He took time out to give each camper who came up to the stage a “run down” no matter what instrument they played…and he was also up to having anyone who wanted in the crowd to come up and play tambourine or sing background vocals. Mark did a fierce version of “Mean Mistreater” with the campers and it was something no one else got to hear either privately (as part of his Camp group Red In The Hood or at the BB King’s show all the camp groups performed during their “showdown” at BB King’s).

     Many of the campers were given R&R Fantasy Camp packages as birthday, Christmas and Hanukkah gifts and most of the ones we spoke to worked nine to fives or owned business outside of the music biz. When we checked into drummer/counselor Sandy Gennaro’s room, we found an interesting a friendly group from all over the country whose chosen group name at Camp was The Usual Suspects. Lead singer Donna Travis has a Pat Benataresque vocal style and particularly soared on “I Hate Myself For Loving You”–one of the three songs the band had to learn as part of the R&R Fantasy camp program. Travis, who lives in Milford, CT, is the single mom of twin 14-year-old girls and is an administrative assistant to the head of the legal dept for Subway World Headquaters. Also, to give our readers an idea of diversity in each camp band, The Usual Suspects also featured Jeff Boice on guitar, who in everyday life is one of the owners of Classic Kitchen & Bath in Roslyn, NY, and Lee Stahl, another axeman, and owner of The Renovated Home in Manhattan.
    We also spent time with old acquaintance Rudy Sarzo, who we knew back in his Quiet Riot days and has since gone on to play bass with everyone and anyone–at press time he is with Blue Oyster Cult but was Ronnie James Dio’s bassist (and longtime friend) at the time of his passing last year. Rudy is an excellent counselor because of his easygoing nature and ability to find humor in anything–and because he has played with so many bands, his repertoire is amazing. When Roger Daltrey made the rounds to sing a selected song with each band, he did “Behind blue Eyes” with Rudy’s band (Heart Of Steal) and it was possibly the high point of the entire camp to get such an intimate audience with the Who legend. There were only a dozen people in the room, and Roger not only signed and posed for pics with everyone after singing “Behind Blue Eyes” but also spent some private time and shared hugs with the band’s lead singer. Hearts Of Steal performed an original song called “Seven Year Fog” about this touching subject matter for Roger, who seemed to greatly appreciate it.

    The “grand finale” to camp was the benefit for Jesse Farner at BB King’s on Monday, January 17th. The goal was to raise 100,000 for the Grand Funk legend’s 21-year-old song who is paralyzed as the result of a spinal cord injury. Farner has been busy making his Michigan home disability-friendly and besides having each camp band do ten minutes sets each, there were guest stars popping in and out including Bad Company’s Simon Kirke, AC/DC’s Cliff Williams and an hour long set by Roger Daltrey which included some unusual musical choices on his part (we never expected him to perform “Sweet Little Sixteen” or “Born To Run”)! Other than some technical difficulties during Roger’s set, it was a mind-blowing night and 3 Doors Down flew up all the way from their native Mississippi to do a half hour set. Promoter David Fishof auctioned off seven or eight newer models of Gibson guitars signed by all the rockers participating in the show of the tune of three and four grand each, which definitely helped up the take for the charity show.

    As you may know, VH1 has been televising Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp and there are camps coming up all over the globe. The next one is in late February at the Bahamas’ Atlantis Resorts and features Tommy Lee, Lita Ford, Ritchie Kotzen, Rudy Saro and more, so be sure to go to to check out the details. We will be keeping an eye on all campers who participated in the future to see if they are able to climb the rock and roll ladder and “go pro”! We were quite impressed with that talented campers, who ranged from sixth graders to 50-something plastic surgeons! We want to see if anyone’s going to be able to give up their “day job”! (One of our camp favorites on vocals was Mark Dickstein of the camp band mentored by counselor Kip Winger called The Dicksteins. Mark actually has a band in the West Palm Beach area named Wild Card–and he’s one of our camp “picks to click”!)

Donna Travis, a Connecticut-based Rock And Roll Fantasy Camper who sang lead in Sandy Gennaro’s group The Unusual Suspects, could not resist planting a big wet one on Roger Daltrey when he came into her group’s studio to both perform and observe. Can any girl blame her?

The Mac Wire’s Hot Pick For Tonight: All Star R&R Fantasy Camp Jam Fundraiser At BB Kings’s NYC

Bookmark and Share

Two of tonight’s luminaries–Rudy Sarzo and Roger Daltrey–their all-star jam tonight in honor of Mark Farner’s son Jesse is going to be a rock blockbuster! (On Sunday at Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, Roger performed “Behind Blue Eyes” with Rudy, a camp counselor, and his band Heart Of Steel.)

Mark Farner–one of the most talented of all the Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp counselors and of course, a rock legend. Will Roger Daltrey perform Who songs with Mark (AKA “The Captain”)  tonight at BB King’s Times Square at the benefit for his son Jesse? We have to keep our lips sealed, but we think there’s a good chance personally! 
By Anne Raso

We were just lucky enough to spend time hanging out with Mark Farner and his group of Rock And Roll Fantasy Campers (who call themselves Red In The Hood, partially because of their talented red-haired female lead vocalist, Christy Hemme, a hostess of Spike TV’s TNA Wrestling). Mark has been one of the most inspirational “camp counselors” and really gives 100 per cent into coaching his rock-star-wannabe pupils. He also let anyone camper who wanted to jam with him last night over at the camp, which takes place at the Gibson Studios over in midtown (the space was formerly know for housing the Hit Factory and is still divided up into many individual studios where the campers did their thing).

Tonight at BB King’s is a benefit for Mark’s son Jesse Farner, 21, who is paralyzed after a severe neck cord injury. When we spoke to Mark yesterday, he told that he is totally renovating his Michigan home to be handicap-friendly for Jesse, and it is a big undertaking. 

Being the legend that he is, Mark will be making some foot-stomping music tonight with not only the fabulously talented Rock And Roll Fantasy campers, but some of its biggest luminaries! Yes, we snuck into rehearsals yesterday, and caught all the counselors (including Rudy Sarzo, Mark Farner, Sandy Genaro, Mark Hudson and Richie Kotzen) jamming together with Roger Daltrey on Who songs and you will not want to miss this. Simon Kirke was on bass and it was a blast. Tonight, performing on the bill besides Mr. Daltrey as the headliner, will be 3 Doors Down and Cliff Williams of AC/DC. It’s a rare mix of artists you will never get to see together again–so head to town or where a frown! And remember that the show is for a great, great cause!

TICKETS: Tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster. Included in $300 ticket price are early VIP seating, meet and greet with Mark Farner and friends. Tickets just for show at 7PM are also available for $50–go to, and for more info.

Photos: Anne Raso