By Tricia Witkower
Before speaking with Mickey Thomas on the phone, I was already familiar with much of his catalogue of music with Starship (and it’s previous iteration, Jefferson Starship). Given that, I knew his voice was silky smooth. What I didn’t know, but was delighted to find out, is he has a southern drawl as sweet as the peaches his home state boasts. Mickey is hosting a charity golf tournament, Rocking for the Kids Charity Golf Tournament, this Saturday, December 16. Presented by Q102.3 Classic Rock, this tournament is being held at Indian Springs Golf Club for the golf, with the dinner, awards ceremony, and live music entertainment at Big Rock Pub. All proceeds directly benefit the Family YMCA of the Desert childcare services and provide financial assistance to families in need. Joining Mickey Thomas to give golfers A-list entertainment Saturday night are Hendrix’s Gypsys, consisting of legendary drummer Alvin Taylor, Riki Hendrix (Jimi’s cousin), and Princeton Arnold (a Jimi Hendrix sound-alike). I caught up with Mickey and spoke to him about golf, the desert, and of course, his southern accent.
CVW: What was the driving force behind getting involved in a charity golf tournament to help kids in the community?
MT: “You know…Todd Marker from Q102.3 first approached me about the opportunity to do this. Then when I found out Family YMCA of the Desert was involved, I was even more interested. I’ve lived here in Palm Desert for over twelve years. This gives me an opportunity to give something back to a very worthy cause and to help kids.
CVW: I hear you’ll be playing with Hendrix’s Gypsys. Tell me more about that. Do you know any of them?
MT: “I’ve heard of them but never personally met them, so I’m excited to on Saturday. They are going to be the house band and I will be MCing. I’m going to have the opportunity to sit in and do 2 or 3 songs with them, though. I’ll probably sing “Jane,” maybe some later Starship, I haven’t decided yet.”
CVW: Maybe you’ll sing my personal favorite, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now?” That’s on my running playlist and when no one’s watching, I sometimes dance to it, too.
MT: (Chuckles) “It is an inspirational song and would surely fit the event as well! It’s a great site too – Big Rock Pub is really cool. Maybe it’ll warm up a little bit.”
CVW: If you think it needs to warm up, that proves you’re a true desert dweller now!
MT: “I know! When it’s 72° I need a jacket!”
CVW: Talk to me more about the golf tournament on December 16.
MT: “I’m going to be set up so we have the most interaction. I think they’ll set me up on a par 3 and I’ll be perched there for most of the golf tournament. That way I’ll be able to say hi to everyone who comes through, there will be a photo opportunity, and I’ll hit a ball with each foursome.”
CVW: Do you golf?
MT: “I do golf! A little bit. Not as much as I’d like to. I haven’t played in about 9 months or so. Sometime before the event I’d better dust off the sticks and hit some balls so I don’t make a fool of myself!”
CVW: I detect a southern accent. Are you from the South?
MT: “Yes! I am originally from Georgia, but I’ve been on the West Coast for 40 years. I think I’ve lost my accent a little, but when I go back to Georgia it comes back.”
CVW: What brought you to Palm Desert?
MT: “Twelve years ago, I was living in Lake Tahoe which was beautiful. My wife Rachel and I decided the time had come that we wanted to live in a warmer climate. We owned property in Florida so we considered going there, but it was so far away. We have kids here on the West Coast and roots here. My wife went on a scouting expedition and when she came to the desert, she fell in love immediately. She got back to Tahoe and told me I would love it. So we flew together and she was right, I did love it. We rented a place in Rancho Mirage for two years before we purchased our home in Palm Desert. I was tired of snow and ice – both literally and figuratively. I had an ex-wife living up the street in Tahoe, so it was a good time to move somewhere new. We’re really happy we landed here! We love it and plan to stay here. We opened a new business. Todd Marker helped us with grand opening and that’s when the seeds were planted for hosting this golf tournament.
CVW: What was your new business you opened?
MT: “It’s called Bowl of Heaven. We make frozen acai bowls, smoothies, juices. Everything is very healthy and tasty and made with the finest organic ingredients. It’s located on Gerald Ford and Cook right next Roc’s Firehouse. If you like acai bowls, it’s the best one you’ll find down here. Wife Rachel and I started the first one in Rancho Santa Margarita. Head and shoulders above others, fine craftsmanship.”
CVW: What do you love about this community?
MT: “Lots, even aside from the weather. Even in the summer, I don’t mind the heat. The summers are the busiest time for me because I’m away a lot touring. It’s always fun to come back here. I love the culture here. I love the history. I love the connection with the entertainment business. I love the restaurants and the people. There’s a lot to offer here. It’s not that crowded. I love that there’s no traffic here!”
Join Mickey this Saturday at Indian Springs Golf Club and Big Rock Pub for the Rocking for the Kids Charity Golf Tournament! The cost is $150 per player and includes a round of golf, tri-tip lunch, on-course drinks, an awards dinner and auction hosted by Big Rock Pub, and live entertainment in a private show by Mickey Thomas and Hendrix’s Gypsys. All proceeds go to the Family YMCA of the Desert, which serves over 3,800 kids each day throughout the Valley. There is a 12 pm shotgun start and you can register by phone through the YMCA: (760) 341-9622. See you there!