Formed in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, this year marks the groups 21st Anniversary remembering the hero’s and victims of 9/11 while honoring musical legends “Gone Too Soon” with its multi-media stage production.
Co-founder and drummer Peter Hackel lost his sister Paige on American Flight #11.
“Peter and the band came along at a good time in my career, and over the years it has continued to gel and improve on every level” says the groups other co-founder James Montgomery. “The events of 9/11 plus our personal and musical history is the glue which holds us together on and off stage”
After years of performances for organizations such as The American Liver Foundation, Pitching In For Kids with Tim Wakefield & Jason Varitek, The American Heart Association’s Race for a Cure at The Hatch Shell, Boston plus a Boston Music Awards Nomination, the band found itself having to say goodbye to Montgomery as he set out to tour with the legendary Johnny Winter. That prompted the band to reach out to Danny Klein of J. Geils which led to the critically acclaimed follow-up group “Full House…Celebrating The Music of The J Geils Band ”.
Dozens of philanthropic shows later, in 2011 they reunited with James for the 10th Anniversary at the place where it all began…on Oct. 2, 2001 at Scullers in Boston. Since then, the group hasn’t looked back. “James inspired me at a very dark time to create something special” says Hackel. “Just by showing up, babies have been born, marriages forged, charities benefited and much more. Thus, our slogan “Turning Tragedy intoTriumph”. This is just what Paige would have wanted”.
The group now performs as “Soul Of a Legend…Celebrating Those Gone Too Soon” featuring only songs from iconic artists who perished at Paige’s age (45) or younger including; Freddy Mercury, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Elvis, Keith Moon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lynard Synard, John Bonham, Duane Allman, Brian Jones, Terry Kath, Otis Redding, Mama Cass-Elliot, Buddy Holly, Amy Winehouse, Marvin Gaye and others. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joey Molland of Badfinger, Charlie Huhn of Foghat, Ian Mitchell of The Bay City Rollers are just a few who have been featured on stage with SOAL and truth be told, you just never know who’s going to show up at a Soul of A Legend performance!
~James Montgomery, Harmonica, Lead vocals, SOAL co-founder: His history as a Boston Legend and world wide ambassador to the blues says it all.
~Regi Hendrix, Guitar, lead vocals: Regi does the Hendrix family proud honoring his cousin Jimi. Regi also shows us he can do more than what just what the family has handed down by handling tributes to Marvin Gaye and others gone too soon.
~Hirsh Gardner: Lead vocals, percussion: Since his days as the drumming force and vocalist with Boston heroes “New England” with their top 40 hit “Never Wanna Loose Your” Hirsh has circled to globe headlining as well as in support of mega groups such as KISS, AC/DC, Journey and many others.
~John Sullivan, Lead vocals, Guitar: John was recruited at a young age to act as the music director, lead singer and front man for the critically acclaimed group The Choir. After many years of extensive touring, Jon joined forces with SOAL bandmate Peter Hackel to produce the popular group The Race. Jon has stood side by side on the big stage with too many to mention including Joe Cocker, Stephen Tyler, Joe Molland and others. Jon now leads his own group The John Sullivan Band.
~John Vanderpool: Sax, flute, vocals: Since graduating Berklee school of music John has become one of the most sough after horn players in New England. As co-founder of The Heavy Metal Horns, John recorded and toured the world with the likes of Extreme and others.
~Chris Nemitz: Keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals: Self taught Chris started improvising on his family’s piano at age 3 which ultimately led to lessons at the New England Conservatory. Since then, Chris has played, recorded, engineered and produced with bands such as The Candles, Another Planet, Sun Jones & Way up South, Chris is considered one of the most in demand players in the New England area.
~Peter Hackel, Drums, SOAL co-founder: Peter is known as the bands glue on and off stage. After loosing his sister Paige Farley Hackel on 9/11 Peter was inspired to commit most of his musical endeavors to support military, police and first responder much like Paige who at age 45 was “Gone Too Soon”. Peter’s energetic drumming span 7 decades and has included collaborations with Steven Tyler, Charlie Huge (Foghat), Jon Butcher, Danny Klien (J. Geils Band), Ian Mitchell (Bay City Rollers), The Jon Buther Axis and has appeared on stage or in studio with some of these and many more.
~Allyn Dorr, Bass, vocals: Allyn is a seasoned player who has worked non-stop in groups in and around New England including the top Regge band of it’s day Loose Caboose. Allyn’s musical history like others in SOAL dates back decades which can be felt on stage as Allyn holds things down for all else to follow
~Joe Podlesney, Guitar: Joe is the iconic lead guitarist from the Western Mass band, Spirit n’ Flesh and is regarded and respected as one of the best technical players of his generation. Joe continues to record and perform with various groups as well as being the owner of an in demand recording facility.
~Christine Moser, Lead and backing vocals: For many years, Christine has been singing for several hard working bands here in New England and we are thrilled she is taking the time from now being a mom to lend her talents to SOAL.
~Tom Perez, Lead vocals: Tom is a true Rock and Roller given his 50 years of leading bands in the North Shore area of Boston. Most recently Tom fronts the popular band “The Instigators” recording and playing in and around the Boston area.
~Bill Rosenthal, Video technician: A SOAL production is not just about what you “hear” but also about what you “see”. This is where Billy’s many decades as a stage performer and keyboard player turned film score engineer, helps to create the magic which is the multimedia Billy behind SOAL.