A Bay Area "Benefit Bash" for iconic guitarist Harvey Mandel — who is bravely battling an aggressive cancer — is set for this Sunday, May 4, between 5 pm and 11 pm, at Biscuits & Blues, 410 Mason Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $25.
"The Snake" — Mandel's nickname — will be on hand to perform live super jams at 6:30 pm and 9:00 pm with special guests Nick Gravenites, Freddie Roulette, Michael Borbridge, Eugene Huggins, Billy Johnson, and some "surprise" performers. Every guest will receive a souvenir illustration of Mandel by Rosemary Fanti, which Mandel will autograph when he's not onstage blowing people's minds with his guitar playing. A silent auction and raffles will also take place during the celebration, and Biscuits & Blues will be offering a full menu and cocktails (for purchase).
If you can't make the bash, you can still help Mandel by visiting helpharveymandel.com right here.
Mandel performed at Woodstock with Canned Heat, was one of the first guitarists to employ two-handed tapping, and was once considered as a replacement for Mick Taylor in the Rolling Stones. He is also a major presence in the recent blues documentary, Born in Chicago.
I've had a personal connection with Mandel when he agreed to play a solo on my band's cover of "Pride of Man" for a 1994 compilation entitled The Infinite Summer of Love on Germany's Taxim Records. I had known that Mandel had a reputation as "The King of Sustain," but I wasn't prepared for the almost endless note he levitated at the end of his solo. No tricks. No pedals. Just his fingers, a guitar, and an amp. It was like voodoo. Mandel is a true treasure, and his commitment to the guitar and performing while his body goes through a horrific ordeal is inspiring. Please do what you can to help.