MOUNT VERNON — Local musician and songwriter Mike Petee likes the late, great Tom Petty so much, he always tells a little white lie about one of his favorite rockers of all time. It often happens after shows, once he has brought the singer’s music back to life on a stage.
“I tell folks he’s my cousin who spells his name wrong,” Petee said.
Petee will once again reprise the music of Tom Petty during Monday’s Foodstock 2019 concert, where all of the food and money donated benefits Food for the Hungry. The concert will also feature performers starring as Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac fame — followed by legendary rockers from England, The Rolling Stones.
Monday’s concert, the eighth annual Foodstock, will once again be held in the spacious Memorial Theater starting at 7 p.m. Last year’s Foodstock raised $2,500 in monetary donations along with 841 cans of food or other food items. The goal is to exceed the previous year’s total. The entirety of what is raised goes to Food for the Hungry.
The Foodstock performance lineup will be a real treat this year, Petee said, and will have essentially two parts. He will start things out as Tom Petty with a few of his friends performing as his band, the Heartbreakers. Then his wife, Chris Petee, will join him as Stevie Nicks, the Fleetwood Mac siren, to sing famous hits of yesteryear such as the Petty-Nicks duo “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Mike and Chris Petee were once part of a three-member band called Elixir, which is the name of his performance troupe — www.elixirpresents.com.
They will later be joined on stage by Jeff Putnam as Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac’s lead guitarist. He and Chris Petee will perform songs including “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again.”
Putnam plays the guitar fingerstyle for such songs, just like Buckingham. He’s an accomplished musician who, during last year’s Foodstock, portrayed the late great Roy Orbison. With Petee as Petty, and Putnam as Orbison, they were joined last year by Desmond Wall as George Harrison — thus forming three members of the famed supergroup known as the Traveling Wilburys.
The second part of Foodstock 2019 will feature Mike Petee, Putnam and Wall performing as The Rolling Stones, especially from the early years of the 1960s and ‘70s, Petee said. They will bring hits such as “Brown Sugar,” “Jumping Jack Flash” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to the stage. Petee and Wall will sing most of the lead vocals for Stones’ hits. Also part of the 2019 Foodstock tribute show will be Roy Rush of Lexington, who plays lead electric guitar, and drummer Bill Miller, who is from the Bellville area. Miller plays 50 different instruments such as steel guitar but has offered to be drummer this time around for Foodstock.
“We don’t really signify who’s Mick Jagger or anything like that,” Petee said. “But the songs will be a real tribute I can tell you.”
The way Foodstock came about eight years ago is a story unto itself, said Petee, who is originally from Toledo and moved to Knox County in 1989. Petee and a few of his friends love The Beatles and had formed a tribute band, which is still going and has about 75 to 80 Beatles songs in its repertoire. Petee, who is left-handed as is Paul McCartney, plays a Hofner bass just as the legendary Beatle does.
As the lead promoter for “elixir presents,” Petee organizes the Chautauqua series of performances held twice monthly at The Grand Hotel in Mount Vernon. The Chautauqua shows involve solo acts portraying a famous character from history.
Petee and his fellow Beatles tribute group decided eight years ago to extend the Chautauqua offerings by performing as The Beatles during the Dan Emmett Festival. The results went well.
“Then I thought, you know, it would be neat to expand this and do a full Beatles program at the Memorial Theater,” he remembered. And thus Foodstock was born.
There is no set monetary donation or amount of food required for admittance Monday evening to Foodstock 2019. Some people choose to give both a cash donation and some canned food. It’s about what comes from your heart during this season of giving, Petee offered.