The event: The ASCAP Pop Music Awards on Wednesday honored St. Vincent, the Doobie Brothers and rock icons Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, while recognizing this year’s top pop songwriters and publishers. ASCAP is the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
The scene: In the ballroom of the Loews Hollywood Hotel following a poolside dinner, ASCAP president Paul Williams told the by-invitation only audience of music creators, “You are the true innovators.” Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities stepped onto the stage to sing “Safe and Sound,” after which songwriter Maureen “MoZella” McDonald performed her Miley Cyrus hit, “Wrecking Ball.”
The musical salutes: Guitarists Richie Sambora and Orianthi paired up for a tribute to the Doobie Brothers, who soon joined in for “Black Water” and “What a Fool Believes.” Soon afterward, against a backdrop of the famous KISS logo, “American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis performed a medley of the groundbreaking band’s hits.
The remarks: In accepting the Voice of Music Award, Michael McDonald said, “There’s nothing better than to get an award with my brothers” (the legendary Doobies).
St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, the Vanguard Award winner, acknowledged the “innovators, writers, creators and people who ultimately make the world a better place with their art” and thanked her team, noting that, “It’s a great American myth that one person is the sole progenitor of a dream.”
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl introduced Simmons and Stanley, recipients of ASCAP’s highest honor, the Founders Award, (previously given to Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Aerosmith, among others). “Everybody remembers their first KISS record,” Grohl said, recalling how as “a skinny young boy with shaggy brown hair on a yellow yard sale bicycle” he brought home a copy of the album “Destroyer” and soon became “a member of the infamous KISS army.”
The crowd: Among others attending were Doobie Brothers McDonald, Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee; Max Martin, named Songwriter of the Year; Toby Gad, whose hit “All of Me” took Song of the Year honors; songwriters Desmond Child, Joel Little and Ingrid Michaelson; actress Katherine McNamara; and noted voice coach Eric Vetro.
Quote of note Before dinner, Simmons talked of the secret of the band’s four-plus decades of success. “Forty-one years ago, we decided to put together the band we never saw onstage - audio visual - because there are some people who are listening with their eyes,” he said, remembering thinking, “So let’s give them bang for the buck, let’s give them bombast, and over years and decades, through different generations, they keep coming back, and the kids keep coming back. And for the little 5-year-old kid who’s seeing KISS for the very first time: Woe be to the next band that he’s going to see, because they’re going to have to live up to KISS.”
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