Four-time Grammy winner Pat Benatar and guitarist Neil Giraldo will return to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine on Sept. 15 for Jack's 7th Show.
During 93.1 Jack FM's festival, the duo will share the stage with two other headlining acts — Joe Walsh and MC Hammer — as well as Toto, Gin Blossoms and Missing Persons.
"We're trying to grab a couple [songs] from every record and trying to put a new song in there and a couple of surprises I can't tell," Giraldo said in a phone interview.
While serving as producer, arranger, co-writer and lead guitarist for the iconic female rock vocalist, Giraldo helped build the "Benatar sound" from the ground up.
Together, the couple co-wrote multiplatinum albums and Top 40 hits, including "Love is a Battlefield," "Hit Me with Your Best Shot," "Heartbreaker," "Promises In The Dark" and "We Belong."
In 1981, Benatar and Giraldo became the first female and first guitarist, respectively, to appear on MTV when the video for "You Better Run" aired on the channel.
"The moment we hit the stage, we were already a couple," Giraldo said. "We were creators from the very beginning. We created this together. So, it's always been this way. We don't know it any other way."
After 33 years of marriage, Benatar and Giraldo still hit the road every summer.
In July, the couple embarked on a U.S. tour with Journey, which will make its final stop Oct. 13 at Cruzan Amphitheatre in Florida.
"The dynamic is great," Giraldo said of touring with the rock group. "We're all experienced, we've all been around a long time, we're all friends, and it's easy."
While on tour, Giraldo records the couple's performances each night.
In months to come, they will compile their best performances into a live record they hope to release in April or May, Giraldo said.
The duo will release a second Christmas-themed record in September or October 2013, Giraldo added.
On the album, Benatar will sing two songs Giraldo wrote for her, while the remainder of the tracks will be performed by various guest musicians, he explained.
"It ain't going to be no 'Frosty the Snowman,'" he joked. "It's dark, it's uplifting, it's sad, it's glad, it's funny — you know, all of the emotions. I want to grab everything. It's just not going to be a typical Christmas record."
In the meantime, the duo is collaborating on more new material for Benatar to sing.
Giraldo offered some insight into the couple's current songwriting process:
"I start writing right away," he recalled. "It could be a title, it could be verse, it could be a chorus, it could be a melody. When Patricia wakes — which is usually later — I run into her and I have a guitar or piano and I start playing something. She says, 'Get away from me. I don't want to do this now.'
"I play a little bit and go 'OK, just think about it.' And then maybe two hours goes by and she goes, 'All right, I remember what you did. I added something.'
"So I go, 'Oh, good, let me hear it.' She'd give me a few lines and I'd take them and write some more and I'd hand it back off to her. And that's kind of how we do it."
The couple is not only writing songs. Benatar is working on a novel and Giraldo is working on an autobiography and coffee table book.
"Both of us love words," Giraldo said. "When you write songs, you try to write a chapter. So, words are addictive. When you start rolling with the words, you go, 'Oh this is interesting.' And then if you like stories, then you can put the two together."
In between projects, the pair enjoys managing their vitamin company, spending time with their two daughters and doing charity work with Children's Lifesaving Foundation, Spyder Sports Camp and Promises 2 Kids (Child Abuse Prevention Foundation).
"I believe music is a strong thing that we do, " Giraldo said. "It's a way we deliver and make people feel good. But there are other sides of us that nobody really knows about, and I want to pursue those, because I believe I can help people on other levels to a huge extent."
The Jack FM radio event will donate $1 from every ticket sold to Talk About Curing Autism.
If You Go
What: Jack's 7th Show: Joe Walsh, Pat Benatar and MC Hammer
When: 4:45 p.m. Sept.15.
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 8808 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine
Cost: $56 to $96