The ever-funky Family Stone plays Beaver Creek
Ryan Summerlin July 12, 2012
What used to be Sly & the Family Stone back in the ’60s, is now called The Family Stone. Although singer and songwriter Sly Stone parted ways with the band, The Family Stone is still rocking today.Jerry Martini, saxophonist and leader of the band, has been with the band since the start and has hopes of keeping the music as close to the original hits as possible.The band has been on the cover of Rolling Stone and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Members of the band have had the privilege of playing with iconic artists like Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and more.This is The Family Stone’s first time to play in Beaver Creek and they are looking forward to putting on a happy and energetic show for people of all ages.1. Vail Daily: Who have been some of the band’s main inspirations?Jerry Martini: Mostly James Brown and Ray Charles but Sly was pretty unique in himself. What I am doing right now is keeping the sound of the original band going. When you hear us play and close your eyes, it sounds like the record. We don’t want to change anything. We want to sound just like it did when the hits first came out.2. VD: What are some of the The Family Stone’s most memorable experiences together?JM: Sly and The Family Stone played at the original Woodstock and our Family Stone played at the Woodstock reunion at the same place in New York last year on the anniversary, on Aug. 19, and that was just fantastic. It brought back a lot of memories from the old days. It rained last year, just like it did in 1969, but people didn’t care. 3. VD: What was it like playing at Woodstock?JM: It was a lot more than I had even vaguely imagined because I had never seen half a million people in one place before. We went on at 3 in the morning and they got up out of their sleeping bags and they lit their matches and when they moved it looked like waves of people. It made your hair stand up on your arms. It was wonderful.4. VD: What feedback have you received about The Family Stone’s music?JM: People say it’s family music and dance music that you can wave your arms back and forth to. We just get really great reviews. I’ve never seen a bad review on our band.5. VD: What is The Family Stone’s main focus?JM: To just get as many people to keep the songs alive that Sly, my friend and partner of over 50 years, wrote. His songs are still being used in so many movies and cartoons, like “Shrek.” We want to keep the music alive. We want to keep the torch going. 6. VD: What do you see for the future of the band?JM: I am just going to keep playing until I cannot play anymore. As long as they keep hiring us, we are going to go out. There is talk about us collaborating with Freddie Stone and he is a great songwriter also. He may be bringing us some new Family Stone songs next year.7. VD: How would you describe one of Family Stone’s concerts? What should the people of Beaver Creek expect to see?JM: It is a happy and high-energy event. Most of our songs are high energy. They get people dancing. Its party music but there are never any derogatory things in any of our songs. It is family oriented so you can bring your grandchildren and toddlers and it’s all happy music.Mary Kelley Zeleskey is an intern at the Vail Daily and can be reached at 970-777-3120.