I met Richie Supa, former guitarist for Aerosmith, at the12 Step Music Fest in the Fla. Keys last week. He was there to promote the newest on line sober community – intherooms.com.
SoberCircle was suppose to be sponsoring the 4 day “sober Woodstock', but weren't there when we got there. I'm not sure why they weren't, but I'm sure glad intherooms was.
Because they did, I found a old family friend, a great new on-line sober community and an opportunity to interview one of the greatest song writers in history, who also happens to truly be one of the most sincere human beings that I have ever had the honor to meet.
And the fact that the dude can ROCK (!), just added to a perfect day.
Dawn Wilder, her boyfriend/partner Rich, & their company 'No Matter What Productions' have started what will surely be an annual mecca for the recovery community worldwide. The 12 Step Fest brought together people from all the 12 step fellowships, sharing, helping, chillin, and partying on a island oasis. Even the weather was into it – cool, cloudy skies that were a blessing for Florida: no rain, no humidity, no sunburn.
How cool is that?
Dawn & Rich rented the KOA campgrounds in Sugar Loaf Key, Fla.
The whole campground.
When I got there I met Amanda, who was my …liason? Tour guide? I'm not sure, but she did put the woo! in woman! Definitely looked as good, as she was nice. She showed me around the grounds.
The festival had 2 stages, 24 hour AA & NA meeting tents, a 24 hour tent for other fellowships, meetings on the water (!), food tents, and rocking rock & roll artists.
All alfresco – in the open air.
In the evenings, campfires burned in front of bivouacs from different eras, pitched tents nestled between the big RV's and bigger buses/motor homes, as a euphonious mixture of music from the two stages floated through the air, mixed with the laughter of children as they ran happily a muck; no fearful parents demanding they stay close.
The camaraderie there was unbelievable.
A sense of togetherness,
Walking around, I watched as bikers knelt and spoke with children, people offered a seat and a plate of food as you passed by their encampments, and everywhere,
A … brotherhood;
And speaking of family,
I was introduced to Ken Pomerance, one of the founders of intherooms (www.intherooms.com), and it turns out, a family friend.
When we first spoke on the phone, after Dawn told me I had to meet this guy with a new on-line community, he told me my name sounded familiar.
I told him the clubhouses I went to, but that wasn't it. I asked him what his name was.
“Ken Pomerance” He said.
“I know that name!” I told him.
“Have you ever been to Miami Beach?” I asked.
He laughed. 'My dad was Rocky Pomerance, the chief of police there back in the day.” He said excitedly.
“My dad is Leroy Griffith, he owned every strip club on Miami Beach back in the day!” I said excitedly.
“Dude, I know you!” We both said excitedly.
My dad & Ken's dad knew each other, too.
Though they were arguably on opposite ends of the moral spectrum,
They were friends.
My dad donated the first bikes for their new bicycle squad and always had a donation for the Rotary Club. He was even asked to give away the bride – a female Miami Beach officer whose father had passed away.
When I met Ken at the festival, he introduced me to his partner RT.
Another very cool guy.
They told me about their friend, Richie Supa, who used to play with Aerosmith & wrote the hit song 'Amazing.' (A hint – you HAVE to read my interview with him in the next issue of JOURNEY and see how Amazing came about from a 12 step meeting Richie attended!)
“Really? Do you think he'd agreed to an interview for It's all in the JOURNEY?” I asked nonchalantly (as I bounced from foot to foot like a 3 year old that had to go to the bathroom; NOW!).
“Sure.” Ken said, my new best friend. “He's playing Friday night at 5 as a surprise. Be here around 2.”
I agreed, nodding my head like one of those head bobbing Chihuahuas in the rear window of an old Impala.
I left a little while later and drove back to my hotel – it was called 'Sugar Loaf Lodge' but by the fifties furniture, I kept hearing “Motor Inn” in my head – and expected hear Ricky shout “Luuucccy, Ju got sum splaining to do.” from next door.
What I heard instead was, “Hi, you're the guy with the recovery magazine, aren't you?” coming from the balcony next to mine.
John and Carol, were from Virginia. John ran the McShin Recovery Center and his wife was a lobbyist and the board chairman of Faces & Voices of Recovery.
Such a small world.
A very good friend of mine is Pat Taylor, Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery; I interviewed her a few issues back.
We got to talking about recovery, their center, my magazine, Joy's House, and then Carol said, “We're having a party in Washington next Monday to celebrate the enactment of mental health and addiction parity legislation.”
I must have looked confused.
“It's to celebrate the Parity Bill being passed.” She said slowly.
“Ah! I spoke about that with Congressman Ramstad in our interview.” I said sagely.
“He'll be there,” she said. “So will Patrick Kennedy, Edward Kennedy, former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, the president of A&E television, and a few others who have worked to get this bill passed.”
“That's going to be some party.” I said.
“It is. Would you like to come?” She asked, so nonchalant.
“Well, I'd have to check my schedule.” I replied, just as nonchalant (yeah, right.).
Then quickly said, “YES!” before she could change her mind.
I interviewed Richie Supra the next day and after got to watch his show from the front row, in the sponsors seats. Ken & RT were there with me and I think they'll agree it was about the best show we've ever been to. Richie shared during his show, sang some of his classic hits & even sung the song he wrote just for intherooms.com – titled, oddly enough, In the rooms! After the show Richie answered questions, posed for pictures, signed autographs and even huddled with a few fans in obvious prayer. The dude is a class act all the way.
So now I'm getting ready to go to Washington, DC. I'm leaving Saturday morning so I'll have the week-end to do the tourist thing. And on Monday, I'll be partying with people who I never dreamed I'd meet, let alone party with. But if they're anything like Richie; another alcoholic or addict trying to help another alcoholic or addict – I should fit in just fine.