Chuck Berry

Michael McDonald has outlived all your jokes about yacht rock

Michael McDonald has outlived all your jokes about yacht rock

When Michael McDonald was a teenager he played as a member of one of the countless pick-up bands that famously backed the late Chuck Berry on the road.

“I remember seeing him show up that night — it was like something out of a rock and roll movie,” said the veteran singer and keyboardist, recalling a gig with Berry in the mid-1960s at the basement Castaway club in McDonald’s hometown of Ferguson, Mo. “He comes down the stairs with a guitar in his hand — no case, no cord — and stands there while the club owner peels off hundred-dollar bills. Then he turned and walked right onstage. And he just rocked the house.”

A half-century later, McDonald was the one dropping in to blow...

79°