The Mother Hips (photo: Carolyn McCoy)
Words by Carolyn McCoy
We all know and understand that it’s the fans that support the bands. Fans give the bands reason to show up and play their songs, as without them, the bands would be playing to the cobwebs and dust bunnies in any given venue. But often it’s more of a symbiotic relationship, where the bands give back to their fans in kind. In the case of The Mother Hips, they have given back greatly to one fan in particular. In October of 2017, Gregory Walsh, a hardcore Hips fan, passed away, leaving a young child with special needs, Declan, to walk this earth without his dad. The Mother Hips found their hearts exploding and they banded together to rock out and raise funds for Declan’s care.
“We didn’t know Greg Walsh, but it turns out many of our friends and fans did,” says the Mother Hips’ Greg Loiacono. “We have come know him through all of the wonderful stories we have heard. Apparently, he had single-handedly, turned a lot of people on to our music. Joe Poletto (Blue Rose Music label owner) suggested to Tim and I that we create a fund for Declan Walsh by doing a benefit at the Mysitc Theatre. It seems now it has become a tradition.”
In the second annual benefit event, held at Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre, the Mother Hips, along with Jackie Greene and the Coffis Brothers, hosted a sold-out night filled with love and music to continue to support Declan Walsh and his family.
The night opened with Santa Cruz rockers the Coffis Bothers and the Mountain Men, an amazing, hard-driving, Tom-Petty-esque band that solidly pounded us with songs like “Better Days” and “Whiskey Song.” Jackie Greene’s set opened with his solo piano version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and took requests from the audience, like “Uphill Mountain” and “Ball & Chain” instead of following a set list. Tim Bluhm & Jackie Greene, playing as the Skinny Singers, continued the evening with a short acoustic set that included “Spider Legs” and “Baby’s Got A Mustache.”
Lastly, the Mother Hips took to the stage for a foot-stomping and rollicking ride with a packed set of rocking and rolling tunes. “Esmeralda,” the fun-filled “Smoke,” and “Didn’t Pay the Bill” were among many of the beloved Mother Hips songs played with an incredible encore ending with “Last Days” and “Mother Hips.”
It’s amazing to see a big band like the Mother Hips have such a deep relationship with their fans. States Tim Bluhm in the press release about the night’s magic: “Our fans have been there for us in so many ways, and we feel it’s important to be there for them as well. It’s how we’ve always operated, and I think that shows in our relationship with them.”