I always go through the tortures or the damned before I do an interview. I knew today's interview would be easy because I would be with Ned, who knew the information he wanted Tom Fay, the lead singer of the Rhythm Kings, to talk about and is a take charge guy anyway.
The last interview I did I did in the lobby of Atria because it's the most quiet place around, so I chose that for our interview today.
Ned with Tom and Ned's friend KC
The point of the interview was to get information to publicize a fund-raiser Tom and Ned are working on, to raise money for a Sacramento animal organization. Tom has been doing an annual fund raiser for about 7 years, now. Each year it's a different organization and with the glut of animals needing care this year because of the fires in No. California, this seemed the ideal charity for 2017.
Tom wrote the Santa Rhumba, which I embedded yesterday. I heard that he wrote it in his sleep, got up one morning with it all in his head, wrote it down and recorded it. So my main interest was in finding out how he dream-wrote it (especially since I dream-wrote my pig entry the other day!)
Tom had lots and lots to say about lots and lots of musicians I'd never heard of (not being into the local rock scene) and I hoped he wouldn't be disappointed when I only was able to write a one-paragraph thing about the concert.
However, as he talked, I realized that what I had here was a real human interest story and I hoped that my editor would let me handle it like that (after I wrote to her, she agreed with me)
It starts with the Santa Rhumba and the CD that came out of it, a compilation of music by a bunch of local bands that was a fund-raiser for AIDS. Lawsuit was part of that CD and recorded their "Grassy Knoel." Tom and Ned didn't really know each other, though both of their bands played at the CD release concert.
Anyway, the song took on a life of its own and everyone loved it. Ned was still at the radio station at the time and made sure it got played (along with "Grassy Knoel") during the Christmas season. Since 1994 it has been played on college radio stations, NPR affiliates, and local radio stations, as well as being available on iTunes.
Six weeks before Christmas in 2014, Tom had a stroke. A bad stroke. He nearly died. And he left the hospital with a feeding tube because he could not swallow and a walker. The doctors figured this was as good as he would ever get. That year was the bleakest Christmas he had ever known but he was watching TV and the host of the show said he had just heard this really cool song by the Rhythm Kings and it was #12 on the Sirius Radio top 100 countdown of alternative Christmas hits.
Tom contacted the host and said "that's my band." The guy was very excited and said "you have to get better and perform that song on our show next year!" So Tom began to fight.
His wife Cottie (who was the bartender at a club where Tom had performed) is absolutely adorable and is obviously the reason why Tom is alive today. They discovered that the fluid he was being fed was mostly sugar and salt and researched to find an organic liquid called Liquid Hope and slowly he began to get better.
In May of 2015 he was able to swallow again and he worked so he was able to throw away his walker and sure enough in December of 2015, he performed "The Santa Rhumba" on "Good Day." He contacted Ned's friend KC about playing with him and KC brought Ned, who sang backup and became kind of Tom's helper. Now Ned and Tom are working together to put on this year's charity event.