Eighth annual benefit concert continues tradition of paying tribute to Berklee College of Music alum and accomplished bassist, athlete and photographer Wes Wehmiller
Brendon Small’s Galaktikon, the critically acclaimed side-project of Brendon Small – the creative mastermind behind the smash-hit animated [adult swim] TV show Metalocalypse and the band Dethklok – will become the first metal act to headline an all-star lineup for WesFest 8: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music at The Roxy in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The show marks the live debut of the project, and the event is sponsored by Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Epiphone Guitars, and Studio Instument Rentals (S.I.R.).
The scholarship fund honors Wes Wehmiller (1971-2005), a Berklee graduate (’92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January 2005. Established by his family and friends, the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series and related fundraising drive has raised more than $150,000 over the past seven years. This year, the goal is to raise $25,000.
Before Metalocalypse and Dethklok’s runaway success, Brendon Small, a Berklee alum (‘97), began his career in animation as the co-creator, writer, voice actor, composer and musician for the TV show Home Movies. Small has also lent his voice to a number of other shows including The Venture Bros., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, Reno 911!, and Frisky Dingo. He then reprised his co-creator/writer/voice actor/director/producer/music-composer role for Metalocalypse, which premiered in August 2006 and just completed its fourth season on [adult swim]. But in April of 2012, Small branched out to write and produce Brendon Small’s Galaktikon, a self-described “High Stakes Intergalactic Extreme Rock Album.” The long-awaited side project was inspired not just by modern metal, but also by Queen, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer.
Brendon Small himself had this to say: “I’m excited to get this album up on its feet in a live scenario with some of the best musicians on this planet.”
The live band required to pull off the multi-layered music of Brendon Small’s Galaktikon will contain four guitarists, including L.A.-based guitarist and former Musicians Institute Guitar Program Director Jude Gold (Jefferson Starship, Billy Sheehan), Mike Keneally (Dethklok, Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani), Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor, Carly Simon), and Small himself. Additional band members include keyboardist/guitarist Walter Ino; bassist Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Steve Vai, The Aristocrats); drummer Tim Yeung (Morbid Angel); and vocalists Ben Thomas (Zappa Plays Zappa), Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride), Ali Handal (Neil Young, Paul Williams) and Jude Crossen.
“We’re beyond psyched to have Brendon Small’s Galaktikonmaking its debut at WesFest 8,” says event co-producer and Galaktikon bassist Beller. “For seven years we’ve been growing the WesFest community with every event, especially in Southern California. But this year, thanks to Brendon’s involvement, we’ve got a greater chance to reach more folks around the country than ever before.”
The event will feature three additional acts: Los Angeles funk/R&B bassist Derek Frank (Jonatha Brooke, Brian Auger); the WesFest All-Stars, featuring the music of previous WesFest performers and singer/songwriters Janet Robin (Lindsey Buckingham), Ali Handal, and Colin Keenan, along with a special group assembled by Zappa Plays Zappa drummer Joe Travers; and Danny Mo and the Exciters, featuring Wehmiller’s Berklee bass professor and close friend Danny Morris, as well as 2012 Wehmiller Scholarship award winner Jed Lingat and legendary drummer John “JR” Robinson.
From 1997 through 2001, Wes Wehmiller toured worldwide with the multi-platinum pop band Duran Duran, and appeared on many TV shows with them as well, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, VH-1’s Storytellers, and Hard Rock Live. He performed with Missing Persons and several other L.A. based bands, and his work appears on numerous recordings produced in the L.A. area and in Vancouver. He gained endorsement deals with SWR bass amplification systems and La Bella Strings.
WesFest 8 advance tickets are available through March 1 for $35 per pair of tickets or $20 per single ticket. Tickets are $30 each at the door. Ticket orders and donations will be accepted via check or credit card. Complete ordering instructions and procedures can be found online at: http://weswehmiller.net/wesfest/wesfest-8.
For any questions about ordering tickets or donating to the fundraising drive, please contact Peter Gordon at 818.380.3041 or [email protected]. For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, and more information on the WesFest concert series, as well as new details about WesFest 8 as they become available, please visit the official Wes Wehmiller Tribute Website at www.wesfest.com.