Fred Walecki Benefit Concert – Aug. 8-9, 2000

The Fred Walecki Benefit Concert was a 2-day event at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for California music store owner Fred Walecki, who was diagnosed with throat cancer. It was called “A Gathering of the Clan” and was organized by Bernie Leadon and Glyn Johns. Fred Walecki was the owner of Westwood Music in Los Angeles, which was a family-owned business started by his father in 1947.

“‘I didn’t meet Fred until Bernie Leadon introduced us,’ Hillman recalls. Leadon remembers his first time at Westwood Music. ‘I saw a National Tricone resonator in the window and went inside. I was struck by the ambience; there were all these antique violins and cellos on the walls. It was not just another guitar store. Fred was behind the counter. He was my age, 16, and dressed very preppy. I asked about the National. Fred told me it was $400, which I couldn’t afford. But he was very personable, and I remembered him the next time I went in.’ Leadon introduced Walecki to his friends and bandmates, including the Flying Burrito Brothers. Years later, he brought in members of his new band, the Eagles.”

Fretboard Journal – October 2008

Randy, Bernie, Timothy, and Don Henley all performed (separately) at this benefit. This was a bunch of musicians and actors (Jeff Bridges and Michael McKean) who participated all for the cause of helping their long-time friend with his medical bills. The World Classic Rockers were on stage with Randy along with Bernie Leadon for Randy’s songs. The audios of those songs are below.

This benefit event took place just a few days after Randy’s Aug. 4 interview with John Beaudin of Rock History Music. Several days later on Aug. 19, 2000 Randy was at the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame Induction in Mitchell, Nebraska. Randy was inducted both separately and as a founding member of the Drivin’ Dynamics.

Randy Is the first to sing on stage at Fred’s benefit with help from the World Classic Rockers and Bernie Leadon.

Part 1 – The beginning of this Part 1 audio starts off with Randy singing “Take It Easy” and “Take It To the Limit”.

Part 2 – Many other musicians participated at the benefit, and Don Henley is the last to sing.
At about 2:01:10 The Byrds (David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Roger McGuinn) reunite to perform “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn”.

Part 3 – Randy sings “Already Gone” and “Take It To the Limit”.

Fred Walecki Benefit Concert

Randy Meisner

Fred Walecki Benefit backstage

Bernie Leadon, Fred Walecki, and Herb Pederson (Desert Rose Band)

Jeff Bridges (The Dude), David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), and John McEnroe (pro tennis player).

David Ivor St. Hubbins is a fictional character in the mockumentary film “This Is Spinal Tap”. In the film, he is the lead singer and co-lead guitarist of the mock rock band Spinal Tap. David is played by actor Michael McKean, who improvised the role through the whole film.
To me, Michael McKean will always be Lenny from the Laverne and Shirley Show.

Randy and Timothy B. Schmit

Chris Hillman, Albert Lee, David Crosby, Ron Wikso, Roger McGuinn, Graham Nash, Michael Monarch, Kurt Griffey, Steve Stewart, Randy Meisner, Rosilee St. Nicholas, Nick St. Nicholas, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Bernie Leadon, Colin Hay
Front: Jeff Bridges, Bonnie Raitt, Stephen Bruton, Nigel Tufnel, Harry Shearer

Roger McGuinn (Byrds), Jock Bartley (Firefall), and Chris Hillman (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers)

Kurt Griffey (WCR) and wife

Fred Walecki Benefit musicians on stage

David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and Nigel Tufnel

David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Timothy B. Schmit, and Nigel Tufnel

Ethan Johns, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens, Albert Lee, Jennifer Condos, Bernie Leadon, and Colin Hay

(Ethan Johns is Glyn Johns’ son.)

Ethan Johns, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens, Ry Cooder, Jennifer Condos, Bernie Leadon, and Jackson Browne

Jeff Pevar, Graham Nash, David Crosby, and James Raymond

Jennifer Condos, Ry Cooder, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, and Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens

Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens

Jeff “The Dude” Bridges

It’s interesting to note that it was just two years earlier in 1998 that The Dude made his infamous remark about hating the Eagles in “The Big Lebowski” movie, and he was on stage with four Eagles at this benefit. I wonder if there was any ribbing going on about that. He wasn’t Glenn Frey’s favorite person, so it’s good Glenn wasn’t at this event.

Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne

Ry Cooder, Jennifer Condos, Bernie Leadon, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne

Freebo, Stephen Bruton, and Bonnie Raitt

Emmylou Harris, Herb Pederson, and Bernie Leadon

Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens

Don Henley, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens, Frank Symes, and Albert Lee

Finale with everyone on stage – “Mercury Blues” and “Stand By Me”

Michael Monarch (Steppenwolf and World Classic Rockers) is playing a guitar solo. Randy is in front and to the left of the keyboard. Bernie Leadon is second from left on the back row.

Bernie is to the right of Randy

Bernie is to the right of Randy

Fred Walecki and Jackson Browne at the microphone

Fred Walecki and Jackson Browne at the microphone

thank you

Show Poster

Fred Walecki Benefit

Fred Walecki Benefit Show Schedule

“A Gathering of the Clan” CD set

Colin Warling of Warling Guitars in Portland, Oregon got Randy’s autograph on July 23, 2000 at Newhall Park in Santa Clarita, CA when the World Classic Rockers were there. This was a couple of weeks prior to the Fred Walecki Benefit. A few years later Colin worked briefly at Westwood Music with Fred Walecki.

The concert was part of Santa Clarita’s “Concerts in the Parks” series. (Spencer Davis and Denny Laine also signed autographs for Colin.)

Fred Walecki Benefit
LA Times (Los Angeles, CA) – June 20, 2000

“Enter Bernie Leadon, an old friend and one of the four original Eagles, and Glyn Johns, the legendary producer who has worked with the Beatles, Eric Clapton, the Eagles, and the Rolling Stones. The idea for a benefit concert was born.”

“Each artist who was approached committed without hesitation: Warren Zevon, Chris Hillman and Randy Meisner joined the list.”

LA Times (Los Angeles, CA) – Aug. 7, 2000
This article was written by Patti Davis (Bernie’s one-time girlfriend and President Reagan’s daughter).

“The store was a place where they and countless other musicians could relax in a warm, supportive atmosphere, mingle with Walecki and other customers and exchange hints about instruments and playing techniques.”

LA Times (Los Angeles, CA) – Aug. 10, 2000

“On opening night, the Byrds treated the audience to ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ and ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’.”

Fred Walecki Benefit Concert

Kenosha News (Kenosha, WI) – Sept. 18, 2000

“The three of us show up, totally spontaneous. We start playing ‘Turn, Turn, Turn,’ and you could hear a pin drop. It was magical.”

Fretboard Journal article excerpt – October 2008
Entire Fretboard Journal article

“…’And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Byrds.’ The trio, backed by Ethan Johns on drums, cranked through beautifully harmonious versions of hits ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and ‘Turn, Turn, Turn.’ The presence of McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby together electrified the crowd, resulting in multiple standing ovations and cries for more.”

Rolling Stone magazine – Aug. 9, 2000

2 thoughts on “Fred Walecki Benefit Concert – Aug. 8-9, 2000

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  1. This was an amazing show that I was privileged to see from the back row. I bought the last two tickets! I have loved Fred since I was 16 and he helped my band after being introduced by Kenny Gradney. Later he helped me find my way in the 12 step programs. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

    1. I’m not surprised that it was an amazing show with all the talent there those two nights. I’m also not surprised that Fred Walecki is such a fabulous person. When I was researching this benefit, EVERYTHING I found indicated how he was loved by so many people, so it’s no wonder that all those people got together to help him. You are very blessed to have been at the show and to know him.

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