The Shawn Lane Memorial Benefit Concert

New Daisy Theatre

Beale Street - Memphis TN

Sunday August 28th, 2005

What an incredible honor it was to play at the Shawn Lane Memorial Benefit Concert! My love and thanks to the Lane family who treated me like one of the family. The lineup of artists was amazing, and though I feel that most of them dwarfed me in talent, they had nothing but compliments for me. Thats the spirit, after all, Shawn Lane dwarfed all of us!

The historic entertainment district of Beale street was certainly impressive. Bars that were open until 5am! That I could smoke in!!! I passed B.B. King's Cafe that catered to catfish the way B.B. liked it. On the street were jazz bands performing, and of course there were lots of shops with Elvis memorabilia. After all, this is Memphis.

After all, my own mother dogged me because I couldn't make enough time to go to Graceland. Not that I don't have respect for the King, just couldn't fit it into the "schedule".

Besides, as Elwood would have said, "I'm on a mission from god!"

Within a few short hours I would be playing here, in tribute to Shawn Lane. I was filled with excitement and there was a magic in the air. It was the same feeling I got as I drove into Tennessee with Shawn's CD playing as lightning lit the skies over Memphis. I knew then that this would be a weekend I would remember for the rest of my life.

I got into town and met Barry Bays, Sean Rickman, and Tommy Priakos at Strings N' Things, where a rehearsal room had been rented. All of these guys had the honor of playing with Shawn, and it was and great honor for me to meet them. Tommy is the most wonderfully warm person, Barry was emotional with stories and lore about Shawn, and I would have the great priveledge of having Sean Rickman perform two songs with me, most importantly "Song for Shawn".

But I still needed to meet Ted May and check into the motel, so off I went. As I was unloading my gear onto a motel cart a car behind me honked, the person inside flipping me the finger! It was Ted. My old partner in crime... bandmate... long time friend... awesome bassist with credits flowing from an endless scroll...

Scared the shit out of me!!!

We got our stuff up to the motel room, greeted each other (we hadn't seen each other since last NAMM), and did silly Spinal Tap impersonations before having dinner at "The Rondevues", world famous for their pork ribs. Damn good eatin'!

We then went back to Strings N' Things, but everyone had gone out for dinner. Imagine that! So me and Teddy made good use of the time and jammed until everyone got back. Rehearsal that night ended up being a jam between some really awesome players. We got the chance to meet and talk to the Lane family and take some pictures. There was magic already...

Then back to the motel... but not for long...

Ted wanted to have a beer. What a good idea. Across from the motel was a bar n' grill called "Huey's". As Ted was being served his Corona and me my Foster's, I noticed an abundance of ashtrays. Embarrased to be from California, I asked if I could smoke. An ashtray slid my direction. I proceeded to light a Camel to have with my Foster's, and started bitching about yuppie fucking California assholes who legislate what should be dictated by competition... blah, blah, blah...

Luckily I remembered that I was on a 'mission from god', turned to Ted, made my salute, and we toasted the memory of Shawn.

We were there until 2:30, the bar didn't close 'till 3am, and they told us the bars on Beale were open until 5am. We had a show the next day, those who made it to Beale St that night will never have to prove their courage in any other way!

Soundcheck. A buzz like a beehive with competent people! What a pleasant surprise! The New Daisy is a really cool club, a theater format with a balcony, and a really cool stage. William Floyd was one of the better sound engineers that I've worked with. He took the time to get the sequenced show I brought and worried about running and sounding good and made it sound awesome in the club. I was getting compliments on it from the other artists before I even went up to play guitar over it.

I plugged into a Mesa Dual Rectifier and we jammed a song. Everything was running and sounding good. What a relief. One less thing to worry about. A very special thanks also to Paul the stage manager. This was one of the few shows I've played that have gone on schedule, smooth and without a hitch. Nothing to do from there but ride the feeling! There definitely was emotion in the air. The thoughts and memories of those who knew Shawn were everywhere. This was really going to be special.

And too soon it would be my turn to take the stage. I started to warm up, check my checklist, get myself in tune with the vibe. Ted couldn't even find me. But soon it was our time, and me and Ted took the stage along with Sean Rickman. It was good to be on stage again! I looked over at Ted, and from the expression on his face, you could tell that he wasn't bummed to be here, wasn't doing this as a personal favor to me, he was having fun. And I was honored to have him and Sean Rickman playing my songs! Special thanks to Sean for helping make these such memorable moments.

The three of us ended my set with "Song for Shawn". As the song ended I noticed an audience member gesturing to his heart. Mitzi Lane gave me a big tearful hug as I left the stage and thanked me. Warmth and sorrow filled me at the same time. I will never forget this...

And the other artists? Gawd where do I start? So many were so awesome, and all of them so cool and level headed. Full of compliments for me and my music though, as I said, most I think dwarf me.

John Roth went on right after us. This guy jams!

Stan Lassiter was amazing, his hands were a blur.

Then Jason Macedo. I spoke with Jason just today, for a good long time. Technically he is brilliant, but most importantly he hasn't lost feeling within his technical skills. A Floyd Rose junkie just like me, his phrasings are highlighted with emotional feeling and style. That means most to me. Jason was certainly impressive, and a VERY cool guy.

Andy Timmons, what can I say. Not just a great guitarist, he is full of energy. Energetic, entertaining, and awesome! Andy, if you're out there, YOU OWE ME A CD!

Craig Erickson - smooth! Style... just what I like. Not all flash but meaning, phrasing, feeling, expression. Awesome.

And Black Oak Arkansas with frontman Jim Dandy to close the show. What a performance. Jim is an incredible performer. Couldn't understand half of what he was saying, but it was still all good! For those who don't know Shawn played with Black Oak Arkansas when he was 14 years old.

And to all the others who I didn't get a chance to see, it was a magical evening. Diane (Shawn's mom) and Mitzi (Shawn's sister) took the stage for kind words and a salute to Shawn, and emotion once again overflowed at the club. The night ended as Mitzi said "Shawn has left the building".

I would once again like to thank the Lane family for letting me be a part of the benefit. But I got so much more. They were so warm and wonderful to me. A very very special thanks!

And a very Special thanks to Theodocious Monstrosioso (Ted May) for coming down from St. Louis to play bass. I know that he enjoyed the gig and had a special feeling about it as well.

From the first time I was given the opportunity to listen to Shawn's music and watch video performances of him I was amazed. I mean jaw to the floor amazed... A true master, and with his passing a truly great loss.

The Lane family is still trying to put a marker on Shawn's grave worthy of his memory. They are also incurring legal costs to retain rights to Shawn's music. Even with the Benefit proceeds these goals have not yet been met.

PLEASE Visit Shawn Lane's site at

Jon R. Paget

Jon's contribution to the "Shawn Lane Remembered Vol II" CD, "Song for Shawn", is available at Lion Music.

Jon Paget's Homepage

©Wednesday's Child Music