Johnny Heffernan Tribute Concert
CONTINENTAL - Sept. 14, 2002

A year after the death of Bullys guitarist and songwriter Johnny Heff in the WTC terrorist attack, a tribute concert organized by lead guitarist Walt Stack was presented at the Continental. Trigger had a beautiful memorial plaque made for the occasion, positioned on the wall near a similar plaque honoring Joey Ramone.

Johnny's spirit inspired all the musicians to deliver their best, as always. Superthrive kicked off the night, lead singer Matt tearing through his songs with amazing fervor. Next up, after some words from lead growler Pat remembering our departed friend and hero, Gaggle of Cocks hit us with their unique hard sound. Original bassist Freddy stepped aside to let their former stand-in bass player Paulie ("Beertruck", visiting from L.A.) play a couple of numbers with them. Candy Ass rocked the house next - their new bass player is great, and rounds out the vocals with great harmonies. By the time The Toilet Boys took the stage, the place was jammed with excited rock fans, and Miss Guy and the boys hit us with their rock and fire in memory of our slain firefighting buddy (ironic, huh?).

When Johnny's own Bullys got up to top off the night, the set was kicked off by a rare treat. After an introduction by Joey, the evening's DJ Bobby Lundo clicked an iBook icon and the house was filled with the voice of Johnny Heff himself doing one of his characteristic rants, this one on "The Five Stages of Drunkness." You can hear other monologues on under "The World According To Johnny." It was of course a bit sad and eerie, but those feelings were overpowered by the laughter and cheers provoked by Johnny's wit and attitude. The Bullys played one of the best sets ever, and they were joined by long-time bassist Beertruck for several numbers. His joy at playing with his old band was bursting like never before (exploding as though he's been wound up like a spring after nearly a year in the City of Angels!).

Johnny would be proud and thrilled to see his old friends rocking in his honor, inspired by his spirit and music. And it was wonderful to see Johnny's wife and sister smiling, and grateful to their extended family. As Joey closed the show, he announced the end of the "Second Annual Johnny Heff Tribute". I'd love to see one of these every year, as I'm sure many others would.

text: Robert Lund - photos: A. McManus