Local Scene: Rocker helps others find “Happily Ever After” lives

2013-04-05T00:00:00Z Local Scene: Rocker helps others find “Happily Ever After” livesTom Lounges Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Michael McDermott wholeheartedly believes in “happily ever after” stories. The singer/songwriter/guitarist has battled many personal demons and points to his own life as proof a person can get through the darkest, stormiest days to find a rainbow waiting for them.

McDermott’s “happily ever after” came after discovering newfound success in Europe and marrying his band’s electric violin player, Heather Horton, the mother of his beloved daughter Rain.

“The secret is not giving up and not giving in,” said McDermott, who wants to share that secret loudly on Saturday as he and his band turn up their amplifiers for a 7:30 p.m. all-ages concert at the historic Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso to benefit those seeking help with substance abuse at The Respite House. Tickets for McDermott’s second fundraiser in as many years for the Porter County facility are $25.

“The Respite House is a halfway house for men who suffer from substance abuse. It’s a residential treatment facility that has been going for three years now,” explained Mitchell A. Peters, President of the Board of Directors. “The disease of addiction knows no boundaries. It affects every walk of life. It’s a deadly disease and we are trying to do everything we can to offer help.”

Not funded by any governmental entities, The Respite House operates on residential service fees, grants and private donations. “Events like this concert by Michael are very important to us,” stressed Peters, who would like to see every one of the 364 seats at Memorial Opera House filled on Saturday.

“It’s been fairly well documented that I have had my own ‘go around’ with substances, that I went to jail, and that it is an every day thing for me.” said McDermott, a native of Orland Park who exploded on MTV in 1991 with the hit single, “A Wall I Must Climb,” before his career and personal life detoured for a while into some very dark places.

“My songs reflect what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced,” said McDermott, who has released a dozen albums during his 23 years as a recording artist.

In hindsight, McDermott finds it prophetic that the message of his breakout hit addressed facing challenges and the importance of climbing the walls that one encounters in life. “At the time I wrote it, I’d probably never had more than a couple of beers in my entire life, but I had people tell me that it sounded like I wrote the song right out of rehab,” he reflected. “Maybe it was a sign of things to come with me. It seems the road to recovery was a part of my life before I even knew it.”

Michael McDermott and Mitch Peters discuss more about the event at 12am tonight as guests on Merrillville’s National Public Radio station, 89.1FM – The Lakeshore.

Show info: (219) 548-9137 or www.mohlive.com. The Respite House information: (219) 548-1300 or www.respitehouse.org

BRAS & BANDS WILL BE ROCKIN’

Region musicians will gather to make noise Saturday night at Growler’s Pub (2816 Highway Avenue) in downtown Highland for “The 5th Annual Rock Your Bra Off Spring Music Fest.”

“Five years ago, Joanne Lane and I signed up for the Chicago Avon Walk for Breast Cancer -- a 39-mile, 2-day walk where each walker has to raise $1,800 to participate,” explained concert co-founder Danielle Hedges, wife of Aaron Hedges of regional rock group, The Crawpuppies. “Joanne’s brother is Jack Adams (local singer known for his time with the bands Sgt. Roxx and Monkey Cocktail). We thought by using our connection to area bands, we could raise funds with a live music event. This year’s walk team has 10 members, so we have to collectively raise $18.000.”

MUSIC NOTES:

• Tune in at 6 p.m. to 89.1 FM - The Lakeshore on Tuesday for “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” to hear my interview with international music legend, Boz Scaggs. Call in to win a Boz t-shirt and copy of his new CD, “Memphis.” Stream at: www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at beatboss@aol.com.

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