"I'm high as a kite, and I didn't drink or do drugs!" enthused a shirtless Wes Geer, right after the fifth Rock to Recovery benefit concert. Geer, the founder, organizer and emcee of R2R, as well as a guitar maestro formerly of Korn and Hed PE, said he hoped the event showed "how beautiful life can be when we all come together for a good cause and stay sober while doing it."
It was just one of the electrifying, emotional and unscripted moments at Rock to Recovery 5, sponsored by All Sober, which united musicians of all ages and genres at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood for a drug- and alcohol-free extravaganza to celebrate the inspirational power of music in recovery and raise money for sobriety and recovery initiatives.
The headliners, metal supergroup Sacred Sons, amped up the audience, with musicians from Train, Ministry, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Madonna's band, Misfits and more powering the event as well. Attendees rocked along and moshed in t-shirts and wristbands reading "Sex
Drugs Rock & Roll" from All Sober, the title sponsor. The online platform and app provides accessible, comprehensive resources for treatment, recovery and sober life, all in one place, emphasizing that sobriety is not only possible, but sustainable and fun as well.
"We couldn't be more thrilled with the success of this year's Rock to Recovery concert," said Flora Nicholas, cofounder and CEO of All Sober. "We're proud to sponsor an event that showcases our vision of music as an outlet for healing, hope and expression. It's inspiring to see so many sober, thriving artists come together to help end the stigma of addiction and raise funds to support recovery."
"Oh my god, I'm so glad I'm sober! It's the best," said comedian Jay Mohr, while accepting the Rock to Recovery Service Award for his contributions to the recovery community; he also performed a stand-up set for the crowd. Three-time Emmy-winning actor Keith David was honored with the Rock to Recovery Icon Award and delivered some heartfelt words while receiving his statuette.
The benefit concert is just one part of what Rock to Recovery does: The organization, started by Geer in 2012, seeks to tap into the therapeutic power of musical expression, working with more than 100 treatment centers to help those struggling with addiction and mental health issues by hosting sessions for writing, playing and performing music.
The spirit of celebration and possibility that infused the evening of the concert produced moments like Geer and other hard rockers from the band HU3M3N teaming for the first time with America's Got Talent singer Lily Meola in a last-minute, stripped-down performance of Meola's song "Daydream."
"I just knew I’d never be OK with missing an opportunity to play with such a talented, beautiful human," wrote Geer on Instagram.
Photos by Chris Loomis, Ann Sunde, Shane Pase, Steady Jenny