Pink Lemon-Aide serves up a final round

Organizers are mixing the Pink Lemon-Aide with some different ingredients this year.

The annual cancer benefit concert will offer several different bands this year, including a reunion of hard rock / hair metal act Lazarus.

Some of the changes were out of necessity, said Kirk Tenney of Wet Lemon, one of the founders of the event. G-Force disbanded, so Keith Burke is playing with his new band KB and the Pain Killas. Haymaker lead singer Daniel Butch had a conflict, so that band was unable to perform.

But they also wanted to do something different for their fourth — and what is being billed as their final — year.

“You want to go out on top,” Tenney said. “You never want to be on the backside of the bell curve.”

The Fillbillys are another band that’s been involved since the beginning, but lead singer Jimmi Migliozzi said one of the committee members suggested a reunion of Lazarus, the band Migliozzi fronted from 1987 until 1994 and released two CDs / cassettes — “Miss B. Haven” and “Bombz Away” – as well as a couple of demo compilations.

“We were trying to brainstorm, bring something new to the table for this being our final year,” Migliozzi said. “I thought it was a great idea, getting some of those people out to support a different genre (of music).”

Lazarus had several different lineups over the years, and Saturday’s concert will feature Migliozzi on lead vocals, Doug Owen and Mick Rispoli on guitar, Garry Palcisco on bass and Butch Likens on drums.

Except for a short-lived reunion in 2000-01, the only other time the band has played live was a set at the Youngstown Music Awards in 2014.

Along with headlining the Mahoning Valley Rib Burn-Off at Eastwood Mall in Niles several times, Migliozzi said one of his favorite memories of his Lazarus days were the months the band spent touring in support of “Bombz Away” in 1994.

“That was the absolute best and worst all in one,” he said. “We were broker than we’ve ever been, but the experience we gained and the closeness as a band. We all lost a lot of weight. It was the tightest the band ever was, both musically and as far as relationships go, but at the same time we were broke and far from home.”

Migliozzi said rehearsals for Saturday’s gig have gone well.

“It’s been really cool,” he said. “Since we haven’t played that stuff for as long as it’s been, I worried about remembering everything. But we hit that first note, and it’s like riding a bike. It all comes back to you.”

Other acts performing Saturday include Broken Reins, Acoustic Jones and Trilogy.

Tenney said they raised about $36,000 total from the first three years for cancer charities, and the goal this year is to make at least $14,000 so they can pass $50,000 total.

In addition to raising money, organizers also have tried to raise awareness. Tenney was diagnosed with prostate cancer the summer before the second Lemon-Aide event and talked openly about his experiences.

“I hope we’ve made it acceptable for people to talk about their illnesses and their health concerns,” Tenney said.

COMMENTS