I love doing radio. Being a radio host seems to give one “license” to be a little “goofier” from time to time … and to say things one might not, otherwise, get away with too easily. But the main reason I love doing radio has nothing what-so-ever to do with me. It has everything to do with the people I meet along the way, while doing the show.
I don’t think any show I’ve done thus far could emphasize my point better than the show I did recently with The Jersey Shore Roustabouts. The band is a very popular Rock-a-billy & 50’s/60’s style band out of New Jersey and a group of guys that …. over the last year …I’ve come to know and whom I call … friends.
I had done an earlier show with them last year, and pretty much knew what to expect this time around. I knew that the time would go by quickly. I knew that I would be playing some great music, including all their new songs from their latest CD … Rock ‘N’ Roll Reboot, and I knew that there would be a lot of clowning around and laughter. What I didn’t know was that it would be the last interview that I, or anyone else for that matter, would be doing with their beloved brother and keyboard extraordinaire, Warren Otto … aka … The Rebel.
The show was on May 18, 2013. Warren’s birthday was the following week …. Thursday, on May 23. The following evening …Friday, May 24 … the Rebel died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. I got the call that same evening … and I will never forget the pain in lead vocalist, Carlos Colon’s voice.
I spent the entire Memorial Day weekend reading the wonderful tributes on Warren Otto’s Facebook page, the wonderful tribute to The Rebel on The Jersey Shore Roustabouts page … and replaying the show we had all done together … just to hear “The Rebel” sing the two songs he had written and vocalized …. “Rock-A-Billy Hide Away” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel ” … and to hear his voice, the bantering back and forth … the camaraderie and laughter … and solidarity of this close-knit group of “brothers” … before it all changed.
To say that this show has impacted my life is an understatement. This show made it possible to meet six wonderful men, who instantly treated me as if I were family … one of whom … will be sorely missed. It made it possible for me to meet a man who left such an imprint of his remarkable character, kindness, generosity, and humor, on everyone he met. I am blessed that he walked through my life, albeit briefly. I only knew the Rebel for a little over a year … he will … forever … be in my heart.
This is why I do my show …. why anyone should do a radio show … to meet and share time with some remarkable people. And sometimes, if one is really … really lucky …. to meet someone as incredible … as Warren Otto …. aka … The Rebel.
** References to above:
Warren’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/warren.otto.7?fref=ts
The Jersey Shore Roustabouts: http://www.thejerseyshoreroustabouts.com
*** There is a special event in honor of Warren Otto on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at the Lanes at Sea Girt. The Roustabouts will be rocking out and all proceeds will go to the love of Warren’s life, Bonnie Otto. To purchase tickets, or to donate tickets, if unable to attend, go to http://thejerseyshoreroustabouts.com/store.cfm