I'm not sure I've told this story here.
I met Mister Rogers on my 30th birthday: September 4, 2001. The World Trade Center fell exactly one week later. I was just about to release a new CD,"Crash Site," but -- inspired in no small part by his ethos -- I repaired to the studio to record a benefit CD instead. I sent him a copy prior to the September 25th release, and invited him to come to the show. He didn't make it, but when I got home, there was a message on my answering machine from him saying that he'd tried to reach me at the Mercury Lounge, but I was already on stage.
Seven years later, I'm at it again. And once again, Mister Rogers is the inspiration.
I just sent a dozen emails to some of New York City's finest singer/songwriters and bands. It read (in part)
I first met Mister Rogers in 2001. It's a long story. In short, he encouraged me to make the world the better place any way I knew how. Now, I don't have a ton of skills: I sing, I write, and I make records. Which is why I'm emailing you now.
I'm gathering a group of NYC singer/songwriters and rock bands to put together a holiday benefit CD. My pal, Wes Verhoeve, will release the album on his Family Records imprint. "A Family Records Holiday" will collect a dozen holiday songs, and culminate with a cover of "Do They Know It's Christmas."
Which is where you come in. We want you to record your favorite holiday song -- or write and record a new one -- and then donate the recording to this cause. Then, on September 22-23, we'll gather at Travis Harrison's Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn to record our own version of "Do They Know It's Christmas." We'll shoot and edit a video, and perform together at a righteous release party in December under the guidance of Mr. Verhoeve plus the assistance of our pal, Hot Rocks' Jenny Piston.
The entire project will benefit New York Cares.
Until this morning, I had two weekends free between now and the New York City Marathon (November 4). Now I have one: the one before I get married. Which is just fine with me.
Like I just said to Wes: It feels good to do good.