July 24, 2008
The Rock Against Diabetes Concert is ON!!
Darrin Buchanan - founder and Ron Thal Speak Out…
By Christi Broekemier
For the Founder of Rock Against Diabetes the issue of Diabetes is intensely personal; what Darrin Buchanan has done in one short year is nothing short of amazing to gather some of the greatest musicians in the world; get sponsor’s, and pull together a show to help fight Diabetes, a disease MILLIONS know they have, though many don’t. Darrin is a diabetic and an amputee; he organized a small concert series back in 2007. In one short year the concert has moved from his native country of Canada to the hottest place in the US; Las Vegas. Alone he gathered a gang of Rockin’ Musicians to perform and got TV Personality Evel Dick of Big Brother fame to be the Master Of Ceremonies for the event that just keeps growing daily. Originally scheduled to be held in Las Vegas at the ROX, for the main event on August 23rd they outgrew the venue due to the amazing response; and as of now are in negotiations to move part of the 2 day venue to a larger space. All the proceeds from this two day event will go back to www.RockAgainstDiabetes.org. So that Darrin can help build the organization and help others with Diabetes understand how it can affect their bodies, limbs, and entire system. Darrin and Ron (Bumblefoot) Thal of Guns N’ Roses, and now his own solo project (Abnormal Cd) took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to tell All Access Magazine about the event, their personal feelings about this issue, and why some of those involved became involved.
What is even more amazing is that this grows daily and another show in memory of Dimebag Darrell of Pantera has been added for October 25th, 2008. This proves that when someone is faced with an adverse situation they can run and hide; or show up to the party! Darrin who in one short year has done the unbelievable; he has gathered musicians, sponsors and managed to get the word out so effectively that he has not only become a benefit concert organizer, but an inspiration for all. This concert and future ones are sure to entertain, inspire and is destine to just grow beyond Darrin’s wildest dreams. Please visit rockagainstdiabetes.org and myspace.com/rockagainstdiabetes. The tickets are going fast. The cost of the pre-show tickets are 25.00 for the 22nd of August, 2008, and There is an auction going on for the VIP tickets for the main show, meet and greet August 23rd, 2008. We thank Darrin and Bumblefoot for giving us their time; and wish everyone who may be at risk for diabetes or for those with diabetes to please take care of your health; the cost you pay may be higher than just your insurance premiums!
AAM: The Rock Against Diabetes concert and pre-show are approaching fast, on August 22nd, 2008 and the main show on the 23rd, 2008, in Las Vegas at the ROX CLUB. Darrin why did you start rockagainstdiabetes.org
Darrin: I started the charity initiative and concert series back in 2007 while I was recovering from my first bout of surgery and 2 month hospital stay after my initial diagnosis as a diabetic with some pretty out of control neuropathy. I decided since I was incapable of going back to work, and had a lot of time to sit still with a lap top on my lap, I would use all of the resources I had a music writer and see if I could make a bit of noise to raise awareness about the danger that Diabetes posed. It was a live event last June in Vancouver, and Eric Martin was gracious enough to come up and headline the show, and although it was a break even thing, I learned enough to take it to the next step. That is where we are today.
AAM: Darrin, you had said that you got diabetes from the life you lived in your past, what was that life and how did you end up here?
Darrin: I have always been a reckless kind of guy; smoked way too much, ate horridly, drank SO much pop, and sugared drinks, carried a bit of extra weight, and felt I was indestructible and had no need to see a doctor for anything at all. I ignored all of the tiny warning signs, and after what we can now tell was something like 5 years of hints, it hit me full force. I was actually told if I had not been admitted into the hospital the night I went, I would not have seen the morning.
AAM: Darrin, will you be having others with diabetes there along your side with you? It is a rather large Fraternity and Sorority who have some type of diabetes?
Darrin: I am uncertain of any performers that may be diabetic. I DO know Bret Michaels is in Vegas on the 22nd playing the same night as our Pre Show bash at Rox, so I would be totally honored to meet him. He was the first to really step up and raise awareness in the music industry. His constant reminders in Rock of Love were great. As for people at my side, Evel Dick Donato, our show host lost his dad, a friend’s dad, and just recently a friend’s wife from diabetic complications, so it is very real to him. My wife and daughter will be there and may understand it more than some diabetics do! My dad, brother and father in law are diabetics, so they may not be there in person, but they all support what I am trying to accomplish.
AAM: Besides the music; there is a message that you are devoting your life to giving a voice to diabetics, what do you want to tell the world about diabetes, and all its types and variations of physical symptoms and what can happen if you do not take care of diabetes or get checked for it?
Darrin: Wow, I could go on for hours. I think my entire drive, is to change the lifestyle, and to prevent fully getting the disease, or at least controlling it so that it does not literally take you out at the knees. I have learned it is a deceptive, tricky and deathly little beast. You do not notice some numbness in the extremities, or pain in the joints (diabetic nerve pain) dry skin, slow healing cuts, or even worse, internal issues with your kidneys, pancreas and heart that are really undetectable. I went from a sore ankle, to a callous on my foot to an ulcer that went from sore to gangrene in 3 days. I had an excellent surgeon that tried everything known to save the foot, but wound up having to do a below knee amputation this March to give me my mobility back.
“My message; eat properly, cut out the sugar where possible, exercise and get check -ups. IF you are a diabetic, take...your...meds. Watch your food intake, take your meds.”
AAM: Please tell All Access readers how they can obtain tickets and the cost of the show.
Darrin: We have VIP tickets for the big show on the 23rd. Those come up for auction at www.rockagainstdiabetes.org/auction and also, people can contact me through the site to make an offer on them. They offer 8 hours of music, raffles, prizes, giveaways, autograph sessions and meet and greets with all the artists and more. We also have tickets for the preshow party at Rox on Dean martin Drive on the 22nd, and those tickets are GREAT because the club gave us 100% of the door on those, you get 4 bands. Bumblefoot & an ALL STAR band, Karneval featuring Dario Lorina, Magnetco and the winner of the RORK against diabetes contest. Plus a ton of autographs and meet and greets for $25.00. For more info check out … www.rockagainstdiabetes.org/preshow.htm
AAM: Thus far you have a very impressive line- up of musicians, and you even have Evel Dick (from Big Brother fame) as your MC for the night, how did you approach him?
Darrin: I have always loved Evel Dick, and I wanted a true rock n roll personality, that got what I was trying to do, and really wanted to be there. I sent him a message through My Space, and he emailed me. I had to really work on getting him, as he is SUCH a busy guy and did not want to commit to something, and not be there 100% for me, but after a few conversations, he was there for us. I hope it is a relationship that stands for some time to come. I will have to plan a show on his home turf in LA.
AAM: I am looking at part of the line- up thus far, besides Bumblefoot; you have other amazing musicians and performers like: Constantine Maroulis of American Idol fame and his all star band, Marty Casey now the lead singer of LA Guns, Jeff Berlin, Lez Warner of the cult to name just a few. As Bumblefoot jumped in, did you find others eager to do so as well?
Darrin: It was funny. At first it seemed like everyone wanted to play the gig, but it was going to cost me an arm and a leg to have them play. AS a self funded thing, it was frustrating. I sent a frustrated email to Eddie Trunk and the next thing I know, here is Ron Thal (Guns N Roses guitarist Bumblefoot) calling me saying he wanted to help and put together a band. At first we had a few tentative people wanting in, but as time has gone on, there seems to be a real surge in interest in performing, taking part, promoting... and I DO think without Bumblefoot, or even Eddie Trunk caring enough to say something, the show would not be where it is today. I will always be grateful to all of the bands and musicians that are giving their time to help folks like myself. This entire project is all about the entertainers.
AAM: Bumblefoot (Ron), it is pretty known that most musicians will show up for a great cause, does any public industry come out for the exposure or the cause?
Bumblefoot (Ron): Hmm... Well, anyone that would be considered a public figure already has exposure. So if they give support to any specific cause, I'd like to think the cause is selected for a better reason than getting more exposure. Everybody's so different; I guess whatever someone's motivation is, whether completely selfless or ulterior, it's not the worst thing in the world as long as it's serving a helpful purpose.
AAM: Bumblefoot (Ron), what is your personal interest in this cause, and did you jump right on board as soon as asked, and why when you are just speeding ahead in your life and career?
Bumblefoot (Ron): Couldn't say exactly why, there's just a gut feeling inside that guides you in the right direction. The more I got to see what was going on, the more I liked what I saw and was happy to assist with whatever I could.
AAM: Bumblefoot (Ron), did you have any part in getting your music industry friends to reach out and help Darrin pull this amazing feat off?
Bumblefoot (Ron): Darrin seems to do just fine pulling his feet off. (Bad joke, he has a prosthetic foot.) I asked the people I’m involved with if they'd like to also get involved. Those who were able to did - individuals and companies, Vigier, DiMarzio, Gibson, I'm happy they could be part of it, they were all extremely generous.
AAM: I only listed a few musicians who will be with you that night, can you tell us about the wildly entertaining crew you put together?
Bumblefoot (Ron): Constantine Maroulis will be on vocals - he's an incredible singer and performer, and an all-around great guy; Jeff Berlin, one of the world's greatest bassists, if not THE greatest - guys like Geddy Lee and Jaco have agreed; Lez Warner is a world-class drummer, he's spent time in Africa studying native rhythms, has played with the Cult, Johnny Thunders, Julian Lennon, even Spinal Tap. We have Rafael Moriera and the house band from Rockstar INXS / Supernova jammin' with us too - very versatile talented guys. Most importantly, everyone you'll see on that stage is there because their heart's in the right place, that's what matters most about these guys. Might have some other folks jamming too, we'll see how it goes. Gonna be a fun time...!
AAM: (Bumblefoot/Ron): When people purchase a T-shirt, They are no automatically entered into a contest to receive some great prizes. Can you explain to readers what the incredible main prize is?
Bumblefoot (Ron): Yes, as a fun thing on the side, we're going to draw a random name from the people that bought the R.A.D. / Bumblefoot shirt and give them a Gibson Les Paul BFG guitar and hard case, a 3-hour guitar lesson with me at the NYC Gibson Showroom, a Spectraflex "Bumblefoot" guitar cable, games from Atari, a bunch of signed merchandise from the performers at the Vegas gigs, a bunch of my merchandise, a bunch a’ DiMarzio pickups; it's cool, we're gonna totally hook someone up. If enough shirts are bought we start covering expenses like hotel, flight... really looking forward to this.
AAM: (Bumblefoot/Ron): There are so many great musicians; how are you all figuring out the logistics of whose music to play and at what moment?
Bumblefoot (Ron): Well, I'm expecting it to be one big cluster f**k, haha. We'll figure it out. Emailing ideas for the set list, once that's down we'll see who wants to play which part, then when we meet up we'll maybe give it a quick run-through. It's all about having fun, and there are such amazing players involved, it's gonna be interesting for sure.
AAM: (Bumblefoot/Ron): Do you think that this is a great educational experience for the general population as well as musicians who truly tend to live rather poor lifestyles; especially when they are young, and unknowing?
Bumblefoot (Ron): I don't know if it will be educational, but I'm hoping it will be inspiring, where people start taking a minute to think about what they can do to live healthier and to avoid bringing on the disease. And maybe those who are in a position to help others might be inspired to reach out and do so, in their own way.
AAM: You thus far have several sponsors on Board with you including; Atari Canada, My LVTV, Pikcard, Spectraflex Cables, Warner Music Canada, and Metal Underground dot com. Darrin you are Canadian, do you need more American sponsorship, and have other potential sponsors been approached and by whom?
Darrin: Sponsorship is a strange thing for me. I detest asking people for something. I have never asked for anything free before. It is just not in my nature. I would make a TERRIBLE car salesman. Aside from my relationships with Gordon Mitchell and all the people at Atari, and the product support from Warner Canada, Canada has basically show a lot of disinterest in what I am doing. I think this is due to the fact that our medical system really takes the pressure off diabetics here. If you have diabetes, you get free testing for A1C, Dr and Hospital visits, a good change your meds are fully or at least partially covered. Not such a big deal; an inconvenience. In the States, and other countries, it can be lethal. It can drain your financial resources. A trip to hospital can bankrupt you. There seems to be a lot more financial and product support from the States. Other companies, like Vigier Guitars from France, contributed an amazing Excaliber Bumblefoot model guitar this year, which was SO helpful. It is companies like that, which I will never forget, and Gibson also came to the table. Am I looking for other sponsors? Yes, always. This event is growing, there are ton more shows to come, and the software I am trying to develop is costly. It will be a year round thing. I also understand fully that I need to prove myself to these companies, and others that may want to come on board.
AAM: You have a band search going on, for unsigned or Indie Label bands. Please let us know how the judging and selection will be done?
Darrin: We have a group of 5 judges from various backgrounds (Internet personalities, hi tech startup, musicians, guitar manufacturer and a DJ) that are currently paring down the 45 finalists I came down to, to a top 10. In a week or so, we will have the 10 finalists, and the fans will then be able to come to my site, and vote for their favorite of the 10. With that information in mind, the judges will ultimately choose their #1, keeping in mind the fan response.
AAM: In this unknown band search; do you all think that the 50% of the judge decision will be impartial to any endorsements these bands already have?
Darrin: It will be. There is only a select few of the top 10 that may be affected by the one manufacturer in the judging panel, but that judge only has 20% of the say. It will be done based on the material, fan support and the effort of the band.
AAM: Ron anything you would like to say besides what we spoke about:
Bumblefoot (Ron): Just want to say “Thank You” to you, Christi, All Access Magazine, and their readers for taking an interest in what we're doing. And especially to Darrin - this is all the result of his efforts, he really made it happen, and I'm proud to be part of it.
Story and Interview by Christi Broekemier
Originally posted at