March 18th : Livin' Like Kings will play a date in North Beach in San Francisco at The Saloon, 1232 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA This night will be a bittersweet homecoming for me, because Myron (owner of The Saloon) called me to fill in a Friday night. untimely passing of my old friend Johnny Nitro , Myron suddenly found himself with a lot of Friday nights to fill. When I got the call, I was tempted to turn down the gig, but took it anyway. Especially since my own stint as a Doorslammer was cut a bit short, I know that Johnny would have wanted me to "take the gig." Besides, the "Kings" would have been very upset if I didn't! To be honest, I don't know if we will ever get to play another Friday night at The Saloon, but I'm honored that we are playing the Friday on the same weekend of Johnny's Saloon Memorial, which is on Sunday, March 20th.
Johnny (Newton) Nitro was the very first friend I made in San Francisco in 1987, and through my ups and downs and moves all over the Bay Area, the one constant in my life was knowing that Johnny Nitro would be at The Saloon on a Friday and Sunday night. It didn't matter whether or not I could be there, on a Friday or Sunday, I would find myself thinking "oh, Johnny's playing the Saloon tonight..." and that thought would give me comfort. It's really difficult to express what Johnny Nitro meant to me in a paragraph or two - so, I'm singing the blues for Johnny on that night. Actually, I don't ever sing the blues and NOT think of Johnny - he taught me a LOT about the blues and a lot about life.
In the strange coincidence department, at midnight, we'll be ringing in "Hug an Italian Day" - because
1) I'm Italian
2) I'm getting pretty tired of saying goodbye to my friends and I need a hug!
3) As Johnny used to say it'll be "...just like New Year's Eve!"
We'll miss you Johnny, you are, as Burton Winn said "...irreplaceable."
Blue Bear School of Music has established a Memorial Scholarship in Johnny's honor.