June 19, 2024

Beauty Arts

The Arts Authority

Durham man’s big-name musician friends turn up for benefit concert

Durham man’s big-name musician friends turn up for benefit concert

What do Tom Constanten of the Grateful Useless, John Popper of Blues Traveler, Chris Barron of the Spin Health professionals, Jon Fishman of Phish and Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers all have in popular?

Other than all currently being talented and profitable musicians, they’re all helpful with a person from Durham named Greg Martens. And they all occur to Maine to enjoy his demonstrates, when he asks.

“He’s got a person of the major hearts I have ever encountered, normally thinking about other individuals. When he asks me to do a demonstrate, I know I’ll be dealt with like royalty,” reported Neville, 74, from his house in Slidell, Louisiana.

Neville states he appreciates that when Martens asks him to play a demonstrate, it’s to support other individuals. For almost 20 a long time, Martens has been organizing concert events in Maine, commonly just one major a single every single calendar year, to elevate cash for hunger avoidance courses in the condition. The most current shows in his Go Huge For Hunger sequence are happening Thursday and Friday in Portland, at Portland Dwelling of Tunes and Bayside Bowl. The headliners for each reveals incorporate Neville, Constanten, drummer Wally Ingram of Timbuk 3, multi-instrumentalist Oteil Burbridge of Useless & Company and the Allman Brothers, guitarist Steve Kimock and bassist Rob Derhak of moe., who lives in Falmouth. Several dozen regional acts will engage in each present as very well.

Martens, 59, grew up in Camden and left Maine in the mid-1980s to adhere to the Grateful Useless all around the country. He sold T-shirts from his pickup truck and turned welcoming with the band associates. In the early ’90s, he put in a number of yrs marketing products for another jam band, Blues Traveler.

Oteil Burbridge, formerly of the Allman Brothers and currently with Useless & Corporation, will perform at Greg Martens’ Go Significant For Starvation exhibits in Portland. Photograph by Jay Blakesberg

These a long time assisted him start out a community of mates in the tunes business that continued to improve after Martens came back to Maine all over 1995 and began booking demonstrates for the Stone Coast Brewing Co., a common Portland tunes venue at the time. Other than doing the job with bands about the several years, pals of Martens say the principal motive he is equipped to get so quite a few properly-recognized musicians to perform his reward exhibits is his gregarious persona and the actuality that he’s not intimidated by celebs.

“He has a magnetic persona and a incredibly easygoing way. Musicians dislike it when any person will get all supporter-y and functions intimidated, but Greg is not like that. He has all these musician pals, and he just acts typical close to them,” explained Doug Luther, a Brownfield-based mostly recording engineer who has recognized Martens for a lot more than 40 decades.

A Loved ones AFFAIR

Martens’ profit reveals are an outgrowth of the lobster cookouts he started off throwing for touring musician close friends immediately after he moved back to Maine in the mid-90s. When musicians he realized – or mates of musicians he understood – would play Portland, Martens would throw a lobster bake. Martens said he cherished doing the job for jam bands, especially, mainly because of the feeling of family among the the supporters and everyone involved with placing on the reveals. So, of course, right after he still left the street, he required to hold in touch with people he thought of relatives.

“At a Grateful Lifeless clearly show or Blues Traveler exhibit, you see the same folks each night. A Rolling Stones show is fantastic, but you really do not see the exact individuals,” said Martens. “I truly favored that perception of community.”

Martens stated he became passionate about music in large school, in Camden, at first since he imagined it was a way to fulfill girls. But he took up drums and shortly recognized the women were being only fascinated in the guitar players, he reported. He first noticed the Grateful Useless in 1979, at the Cumberland County Civic Centre in Portland, but wasn’t nevertheless considering a lifetime on the road. As a substitute, he went to college at Boston College and the College of Maine, obtaining a degree in company administration.

Greg Martens, holding a poster advertising his impending Go Huge For Hunger displays, that includes popular musical close friends he’s built around the decades. Derek Davis/Team Photographer

It wasn’t until eventually the mid-1980s that he made a decision to comply with his heart and go on the highway, subsequent the Grateful Dead, offering T-shirts. His father assisted him change a pickup truck’s bed into a sleeping compartment, with a drawer underneath the bed for his T-shirts. He begun selling T-shirts with types by the mentioned Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher at Dead displays.

At some place, a consultant of the band arrived to his booth to notify him that customers of the band genuinely like the shirts and required their very own, such as Bob Weir and Mickey Hart. He was explained to he could provide his shirts “anytime and anyplace” that the Grateful Lifeless was participating in.

He mentioned advertising T-shirts and goods was difficult operate – he’d have to jostle for posture with dozens of other sellers at 6 a.m. the working day of a present – but it also paid off. He claimed he built $100,000 some decades, marketing goods for bands and at concert events.

Close to 1992, he bought an possibility to go on tour with Blues Traveler, then an up-and-coming jam band. On tour, he satisfied musicians in other bands, such as the Allman Brothers, Soul Asylum and Lemonheads. He resolved to arrive again to Maine about the time Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia died, in 1995.

In Maine, he offered Stone Coastline beer to retail shops and booked reveals there. He continued to throw functions for musician mates also. Then in the early 2000s, he read a information tale about starvation charges in Maine increasing and assumed he might use his musical connections to assistance. All-around 2004, he started off arranging profit exhibits, ordinarily close to his March 3 birthday. So it was a bash for him, for his close friends and for a great cause.

Guitarist Steve Kimock, who has performed with various members of the Grateful Useless apart from forming his individual bands, will perform at Greg Martens’ Go Significant For Hunger shows in Portland. Image courtesy of Big Pink Barn Productions

For about eight several years, Martens donated dollars from his profit shows to the Excellent Shepherd Foods Lender, primarily based in Auburn. He states with sponsors and matching donations, those people shows lifted extra than $250,000. For the last 8 yrs, the exhibits have benefitted Complete Plates Comprehensive Likely, an corporation dedicated to ending childhood food stuff insecurity in Maine, and have lifted about $90,000, Martens reported.

Justin Strasburger, executive director of Complete Plates Whole Potential, mentioned he thinks the fundraisers have been prosperous for the reason that Martens knows how to construct relationships and make the most of his possibilities.

“He’s kind of like Forrest Gump. He’s been in all these configurations and experienced all these activities, but he’s taken the time to get to know persons and establish interactions,” claimed Strasburger. “So when he asks for a thing, it does not sense transactional.”

The musicians who have performed Martens’ shows say they take pleasure in how nicely and personally he requires treatment of them, supplying them considerably superior remedy than they could possibly get at other displays in a put the dimensions of Portland. He pays for them to convey their households if they want, and he’s even bought a different aircraft seat for a musician’s guitar. He tends to make positive their foodstuff, lodge and transportation are initially-fee and will make absolutely sure they have pleasurable.

“When he asks me to do a clearly show, I don’t even do my usual three-second hesitation, mainly because I know I’ll be taken care of, ” stated Constanten, 78, who was the Grateful Dead’s keyboardist in the late 1960s and now lives in the vicinity of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “He took me to a Red Sox recreation at the time, and we had a amazing time.”

Section of using treatment of the headlining musicians, Martens claimed, is to make guaranteed he pays them effectively. Certainly, they like Martens, but they need to make a dwelling too.

Martens established Go Significant For Hunger as the umbrella team for his fundraising exhibits in 2016, but before that, he held his profit concerts under a wide variety of names.

Just one of the even bigger demonstrates Martens arranged was in 2013, timed for his 50th birthday, at Port Metropolis Songs Hall and The Huge Straightforward in Portland. He named that display the F.O.G. (Close friends of Greg) Festival, and it featured Barron of Spin Physicians and Popper of Blues Traveler. At the time, Popper termed Martens “a massive, beautiful man with a major, beautiful individuality.”

Martens himself played percussion in various bands and these days sings and raps at reveals he puts on. He’ll be accomplishing at each exhibits this week.

“(Blues musician) Taj Mahal after explained to me I was one particular of the finest rappers he ever saw,” reported Martens. “I informed him I ought to be the only a single he ever saw.”

Neville claims he enjoys taking part in Martens’ shows for the reason that Martens brings collectively talented musicians who also share a laid-back style and enjoy of music and community.

“You get to jam, and it feels really specific. Every person respects each and every other, and everybody’s coronary heart is huge open,” reported Neville. “His exhibits are some of the most musically pleasing types I have ever completed.”


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