Well, the way September turned out it doesn’t seem as though summer is over just yet. I’m on my way to the airport headed home from Tulsa Oklahoma having rehearsed Ringo’s band for their upcoming tour. It’s Always a Joy to see my Dear Friends. With that said, I guess my summer vacation is winding down. It has been one of the Greatest Summers Ever. The things that stand out in my mind would have to be my second show at The Cutting Room on June 13th and then returning there with Billy Joel, Pink and of course performing New York State Of Mind with Tony Bennett. The look on Billy’s face watching Tony glide thru it was wonderful. In July, I joined Scott Shannon Live from The City Winery for his 100th “Big Show” It WAS Mad Early but the band (Kasim Sulton, Marc Ribler, Jon Cobert & Rich Mercurio) KILLED IT! The outdoor shows with Billy were nothing short of Amazing. Standing out in Centerfield at Fenway and Wrigley was truly Epic. They don’t build them like that anymore. And the show in Beautiful Quebec City before 75,000 fans felt like we never missed a beat. But I must say, upon our return to Madison Square Garden we ALL said “There’s No Place Like HOME”… And that’s what’s next. Tomorrow night will be Show # 10. If you’re within 100 miles and haven’t gotten out to one yet… You Gotta Do It!
I Am Most Grateful for the Love of My Family, The Family of Musicians & Crew that surround us and that I’ve Been Blessed with The Greatest Job Ever…
Peace, Hope & Gratitude Always…MR
With the Anniversary of September 11th approaching and recent world events, I couldn’t help but take some time and remember the events of that day, the devastation that occurred, and the lives lost. I also remember the absolute resolve of the first responders and the spirit of New York and all of America. To share the stage at MSG with members of the New York Police and Fire Departments at the Concert for NY and seeing them arm in arm singing in tears to The Who’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” is something I will never forget. Once again this Thursday, September 11th, I will be joining my dear friends at the Mt. Kisco Fire Department at 6 pm. to remember the sacrifices made. In the meantime though, I’d like to share a beautiful song with you, written by Karen Manno “Rise”. I consider it a little prayer. However you spend your day this year, take a moment to RISE above the daily grind to be Grateful for everything good in your world and everyone in it who you Love.
Peace & Gratitude…MR
It’s hard to believe that 2014 is halfway over. I’m still making mistakes in my checkbook. It’s been an amazing ride so far and June in particular had some fantastic moments. I’d like to share some of them with all of you… It started out on June 1st with another sold out show in Phoenix AZ with Billy. It was toasty outside and the show rocked. I flew out early on the 2nd to meet up with Ringo and The All Starrs in Toronto. It was Great to see my dear friends and put the band together once again. I spent four days there and then flew back across the country to Las Vegas for another sold out show with Billy. Got home on the 8th, had one day off and then had a rehearsal on the 10th for my gig on June 13th (Yea… it was Friday The 13th) at The Cutting Room NYC. It was pouring outside that night and the room was PACKED. The band this time featured: Steve Conte on Guitar & Vocals, Johnny Gale on Guitar & Vocals, Zev Katz on Bass & Spiritual Guidance, my longtime friend Jon Cobert on Keys and Shawn Pelton, bringing the magic on Drums.
Here’s a copy of the set list:
June 13th, The Cutting Room:
Don’t Bring Me Down
Got To Get You Into My Life
Can’t Get Next To You
Money, Money, Money
Spanish Castle Magic
Can’t Find My Way Home
Why Do You Dance
Turn Me Loose
Help From My Friends
So, now it’s June 18th and I get to sit in with Ringo and The Lads at the Beacon. What a Joy! I played percussion on “Oye Como Va” and then sang backgrounds on “With A Little Help From My Friends.” Lots of people asked, who was the woman who I shared the microphone with. It was none other than Judy Collins.
What a Thrill…
Three days later we were back at Madison Square Garden for another killer show with Billy. Finally, on June 26th, Billy played at one of the last great baseball parks in America, Fenway Park in Boston. You could feel the history on that field. Truly like no other park still standing. We were joined by Zac Brown on “You May Be Right.”
To say the least, I have been truly blessed and this past month has been UNBELIEVABLE. Check out the photos and I think you’ll get a feel for just how much I LOVE what I do.
Peace & Gratitude Always…MR
Q104.3 – March 11, 2014
Billy Joel’s long time sax man, Mark Rivera, has been writing and collecting songs for his solo album since the mid-80s, when he was working on Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”. Now, he could have recorded in between Billy tours, but he then busied himself working with Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band.
And now he’s put together a great album of songs called “Common Bond”. But Mark didn’t just run into a studio and knock out a few songs and call it a day. No. Mark got some of his friends together to help out: Billy Joel, Ringo Starr, Robert Randolph, Steve Lukather, and Nils Lofgren (to name a few) to play on this record.
Mark stops by to promote the album with us, and we break his first song, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Spanish Castle Magic.
ANNOUNCING THE DEBUT RELEASE OF MARK RIVERA
COMMON BOND (DYNOTONE, RED RIVER) FEBRUARY 18, 2014
“It really rocks in a good old way – like we did back in the day.
Your voice sounds great and the band kicks ass!”
– Billy Joel
“Mark Rivera is a force of nature. He can write and sing his ass off!
On Common Bond he finally takes center stage. The songs are flat-out magic.”
–Ken Dashow (New York’s Classic Rock Q104 DJ)
“A stunning piece of work…”
–David Wild (Writer, music critic and contributing editor at Rolling Stone)
He’s performed before millions of fans with a ‘who’s who’ of music’s elite including Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tony Bennett, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney. And now Mark Rivera, longtime Billy Joel band mate and Ringo Starr’s Music Director steps into the spotlight with his first solo album, Common Bond, an eclectic mix of his rock, pop and soul influences rolled up into a new package of 8 original songs and 2 covers, sure to appeal to the huge audiences he’s been reaching for so many years.
Rivera’s first national exposure came from his association with legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who, while producing the classic Foreigner 4, introduced Mark to Mick Jones and Lou Gramm & brought him into the band, putting Rivera squarely in the ‘Big Leagues” of rock music, recording and performing. He has worked with Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel on the classic track Sledgehammer, Simon & Garfunkel, John Lennon and Joe Walsh.
Rivera and producer Jimmy Bralower (Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood) have assembled an amazing cast of friends and colleagues to join in on the record, including a rare appearance by Billy Joel playing a sizzling Hammond B3 organ on Mark’s unique cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Spanish Castle Magic. Ringo Starr, Robert Randolph, Nils Lofgren and Steve Lukather all contribute their great talents to what Dashow says is “one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time.”
A newly announced residency at Madison Square Garden with Billy Joel will be the perfect compliment to Rivera’s own touring schedule in the new year.