Sunday, May 24, 2020 9 p.m. on FOX 11 PALM SPRINGS Benefitting the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission
By Noe Gutierrez
Along with paving the way for others, a pioneer also settles in a region in order for that area to be utilized and developed by others. CV104.3 radio host, musician and concert promoter jimi ‘FITZ’ Fitzgerald experienced homelessness at a young age and DOES look back. He looks back because his past experiences have brought him here, a place and footing where he is grateful to give back. The recipient of the ‘Pioneer Award’ at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music Awards continues his altruistic ways during these difficult times with his “Best of jimi FITZ and Friends” music special benefitting the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission (cvrm.com) in Indio, California.
Along with The Gulf California Broadcast Company, KDFX, FOX 11 Palm Springs, Vicky’s of Santa Fe, CV 104.3 and Wendy Jayne Productions, FITZ is proud to announce the one hour special that will air on FOX 11 Sunday, May 24th at 9 p.m. and will be hosted by News Channel 3 meteorologist Patrick Evans and FITZ himself. It will also be streamed worldwide at kesq.com/livestream-events/. You are asked to go to the CVRM website to access the links: cvrm.com
The show will feature a variety of songs by well-known Coachella Valley musicians performing at past McCallum Theatre ‘FITZ and Friends’ events. The list of performers includes: FAULTS OF ANDREAS, KAL DAVID AND LAURI BONO, JOHN CAREY, WILL DONATO, jimi FITZ, KEVIN HENRY, JOHN STANLEY KING, RONNIE KING, STEVE MADAIO, BARRY MINNIEFIELD, JIMMY PALMER, PENNY UNNIVERSITY, SERGIO VILLEGAS and WENDY JANE.
Along with his wife Wendy, CEO of Wendy Jane Productions, Inc., FITZ has continued to take the lead with highly successful events like the Wedbush Garden Jam Music Festival, held at the famed Indian Wells Tennis Garden and headlined in 2019 by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and “The Legend,” Buddy Guy and, in what would have been its 20th year, FITZ’S Jazz Café at the McCallum, a series that has brought some of the best and brightest stars from the world of Jazz to the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California. Despite the pandemic, FITZ is fulfilling his destiny in bringing world-class entertainment to the desert regardless of the circumstances.
CV Weekly spoke with FITZ, Patrick Evans and a majority of the performers this past week to ask about the benefit, their performance and what they are currently up to during this trying time.
jimi ‘FITZ’ Fitzgerald
CVW: Thank you for doing this FITZ, you really are the best example of helping your fellow human. How did you come to the idea of helping the CVRM?
FITZ: “I wanted to do something of note that would have an impact and be able to help. There’s no one who hasn’t been affected by this in some shape or form. If you have a roof over your head and food in the pantry, you’re in a lot better shape than people on the streets who don’t have money to go buy food or have shelter. The show is all about raising money and awareness for the CVRM. They are so stretched with resources and need help more than ever. The need for food has increased ten-fold in the last couple of months. I’m thrilled to help rally the community to come together. Anything you can donate is appreciated.”
CVW: I attended both of these shows and they sounded and looked astonishing. I think it’s great that you’re pulling them from the vault to share with everyone, not to mention for a great cause.
FITZ: “I’ve had this great footage from my McCallum Theatre concerts the past couple of years. I’ve been waiting to figure out how I was going to put it out there and thought this would be an excellent time to really help the CVRM spread some awareness as to what they do. This gives the public an opportunity to see their favorite performers on that big McCallum Theatre stage with great production.”
CVW: How are you and Wendy coping with this unexpected downtime and what are our desert performers to do?
FITZ: “We cook a lot, we read, doing some songwriting and stay in contact with friends. We are blessed to have a handful of clients that have been on the radio that we’re working with and still promoting and trying to figure out what we’re going to do moving forward. Wendy Jane and I exercise, swim, walk, run and do a little yoga. We also engage in a lot of sleep as well and eating clean. I do feel bad for the entertainment out here. We don’t have the answer but every day is a new day!”
“FITZ and I are really looking forward to presenting this music both on television and as it Livestreams because the music and the musicians speak for themselves but it’s important to help use those voices to raise money for the CVRM which is helping more people than ever during this pandemic.”
RONNIE KING & JOHN STANLEY KING
“Some years ago jimi FITZ sat with me in Newport Beach and said ‘I want to make records again’. I was a big fan of his hit Audio/Video when I was in high school. After making several records, look what it’s turned into. FITZ has pulled so many artists from the desert together for the event and it looked and sounded amazing! Playing the grand piano for me is always a highlight. Great going FITZ!”
“This will be a great local presentation. It includes great video production, the sound is great and the local talent is always spot-on.”
“First let me say that it’s always a pleasure to work with FITZ and Wendy Jane, we’re like family and I respect and appreciate their work in the valley. My performance was very special because it was one of the last shows I got to do with our brother Steve Madaio. Steve and I played a song by Carlos Santana called “Europa”. I knew it was his favorite song and mine as well. We both got caught up in the moment as we played, not in competition but in love for the music and our brothers on stage.”
“I have moved to Georgia to be around family. It’s been great and I’m continuing writing music and producing. My latest project I just finished was writing and producing a solo album for Ronnie Moss, one of the singers in The Spinners. I also just finished two songs for The Spinners for their upcoming album. I’m still in remission from cancer and under doctor’s orders to stay inside.”
“I’m looking forward to the CVRM show. All the great talent that lives in the desert on one show in a wonderful setting. Can’t wait to see it!”
“Our seasonal shows in the desert are all on hold and I doubt the venues will open before the season ends. We had some nice shows booked for our summer tours, but they all are postponed. So I’m hoping that we can do our Canada dates and our shows in New England in September. If all goes well we will start our shows at Vicky’s of Santa Fe in October.”
“Being a part of FITZ and Friends was fabulous from beginning to end. It’s rare that we get to perform with some of our favorite musicians here in the valley. It was all for one and one for all, just a total joy! The sold out audience loved it and we loved them. FITZ always has a vision and this was a great one! We all need to do what we can to be of service and the CVRM does such great work. It was brilliant of FITZ and Wendy Jane to work out using this incredible night of music to benefit them!”
“As far as musical endeavors, Kal and I have been using this down time writing for a new album we are hoping to record next spring. For now, we’ve been performing a few benefits for people who are really struggling during this difficult time.”
“I have known and worked with FITZ for over 20 years. For the upcoming television presentation in particular, FITZ gathered some of the best musicians I have known in my 40 years in the industry. FITZ produced a spectacular show at the McCallum Theatre with a full house in attendance and the artists received multiple standing ovations. I highly recommend all CV Weekly readers tune in on May 24th to enjoy and support this charitable contribution to our community with the great Patrick Evans as emcee.”
“I’m looking forward to this wonderful online event and celebrating the CVRM Once again Jimi ‘FITZ’ Fitzgerald, aka the ‘Voice of Desert Lifestyle’ has assembled a talented group of musical artists and entertainers, joining together for a common goal of bringing peace and comfort through music. I’m honored to be part of this special event broadcast.”
“I am celebrating the achievement of a Billboard #1 Radio Single on the prestigious Billboard Charts and a brand new radio single for 2020 entering the Top Ten Billboard Charts and NEW CD 2020 Release! Every day is a gift for this cancer survivor and lover of life. Tune in May 24th for a compelling and entertaining show featuring the very BEST of our beautiful valley!”
“This event is for a good cause and times are tougher now. I’m so happy to be of service to our people. FITZ is a great guy and it’s my pleasure to help.”
“Since the corona virus, music just stopped everywhere, so I’m in the studio working on some new music.”
JIMMY PALMER (FAULTS OF ANDREAS)
“People are going to have to tune in and see what kind of magic jimi FITZ has in store for us again. Looking back, I’m so proud and honored that the birth of our band Faults of Andreas came from the jimi FITZ and Friends show.”
Please go to cvrm.org for more information
TV: FOX 11 Sunday, May 24th at 9 p.m.