Ducati All Stars Concert
Rock legends pimp for Italian Motorcycles
Attitude. Rebellion. Soul. Volume. These are just a few of the commonalities between motorcycles and rock ‘n’ roll. This connection was fully on display at a Ducati-sponsored concert last weekend at the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, California.
Several legendary rockers joined together for a night of music, selected because of their affinity for Ducati motorcycles. Billed as “Ducati All Stars,” the eight-piece ensemble cranked out a set of classic rock cover songs in front of Ducati supporters and the general public at the famous rock venue.
Jason Bonham: Son of drumming god John Bonham and drummer for Led Zeppelin 2008, Jason’s ride is a Ducati Hypermotard S.
Steve Jones: Guitarist for the prototypical punk band Sex Pistols, Jonesey rides a Hypermotard S and a GT1000.
Donovan Leitch, Jr.: Vocalist for Camp Freddy, the erstwhile actor is also the son of legendary ’60s psychedelic folkster Donovan Leitch, author of “Sunshine Superman,” “The Hurdy Gurdy Man” and “Mellow Yellow.”
Mark McGrath: Singer for the band Sugar Ray, famous for the pop hit “Fly,” McGrath owns a Ducati GT1000. People magazine’s “Sexiest Rocker of 1998” and a sometime TV personality.
Billy Morrison: After gaining prominence playing guitar with’80s rockers The Cult, Morrison now gigs with Camp Freddy and Circus Diablo when he’s not riding his Ducati Sport 1000S.
Frankie Perez: The energetic singer from Scars on Broadway, Perez rides a Ducati Streetfighter S.
Steve Stevens: Stevens vaulted himself to legend status via his guitar work on Billy Idol’s biggest hits in the ’80s, most of which he co-wrote.
Chris Wyse: Morrison’s former bandmate as bassist in The Cult.
The unusual part of this rock show was that the band rode to the gig on motorcycles. Mark McGrath and Jason Bonham were riding borrowed press bikes, but the rest of the lineup rumbled up to the gig on their own Ducatis.
A full house at the Roxy awaited the band, and a tricked out Desmosedici provided an appropriate backdrop for the rumbling and bombast up front.
"Going into the evening, I wasn't expecting a big turnout for an event that wasn't receiving heaps of billing, said MO’s Pete “King of the Shootouts” Brissette. “But, wow, was I wrong! I was stunned at the line at the door, and what was essentially standing room only inside the fabled Roxy.
"...a tricked out Desmosedici provided an appropriate backdrop for the rumbling and bombast up front."
Classic rock hits were served up by the revolving cast of musicians, from Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” to Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” sung by the appropriately spikey-haired Morrison, accompanied on guitar by Stevens and Jones.
Between a pair of songs, Morrison yelled to the crowd, “Forget about Harley-Davidsons – get yourself an Italian bike!”
McGrath impressed for his version of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever,” belting out an edgier side than most are familiar with from him. McGrath also nailed a version of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak,” supported ably on guitar by the ex-Pistols’ Jones. Bonham proved his DNA by hammering out a cooking version of Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” including a requisite pounding drum solo. The show closed with a simmering version of The Who’s anthem “Baba O’Riley” (aka “Teenage Wasteland”).
"...Morrison yelled to the crowd, 'Forget about Harley-Davidsons – get yourself an Italian bike!'"
“Although the eclectic mix of seasoned rockers was impressive,” Pete commented after the show, “what I think impressed me more was their mutual love of motorcycling. The icing on the cake was that the veteran rockers are real riders, not weekend warriors looking to ride the latest profile-boosting wave of trends."
Earlier in the evening, Pete asked me the premise behind such a party. I replied that it was probably to help make Ducati appear fashionable set inside the glitz of Hollywood.
“The show actually wasn't a way to make us look fashionable,” explained Ducati’s John Paolo Canton afterward, “but more of a ‘thank you’ to dealers, media, industry and race team partners, and other friends of the company.
“We are small enough that we couldn't make Ducati what it is today without all of this help, Canton continued. “From Oakley to GE Finance to Ducati Owners Club presidents, we wanted to give everyone a little back for all the help they give us throughout the year. More so now than ever we all need to remember we do it for the love of bikes.”
It sounds –literally – good to us. Let’s do it again next month!
Make sure to check out our extensive photo gallery for more cool photos from the show!