Tony Sell has long been a muscian – playing the guitar since he was a youngster growing up in Albany.
Over the years, he has been a member of several bands, released a couple of albums and eventually moved away from the night life of playing small venues.
Sell got out of playing in a band to raise a family, but now he is back and playing for his family by donating his earnings to a fund dedicated to his late wife, Kathy, who recently passed away from lung cancer.
“I played with a band in the early 90s and I toured with them for two years. They had one record released during the time I first started and we released another one while I was with them,” Sell said. “My wife was with me during that time. We weren’t married at the time, just dating, but she was always my biggest critic. She would tell me what worked and what wouldn’t and so I grew to listen to her.”
Sell and his band, Blind Peace, will be performing at the Learning Center Saturday night at 6:00 p.m.
A two-man acoustic band, Blaze Valley from Somerset, will open the show Saturday night and the event is free to the public.
Sell stepped away from the music scene in 1999 and got into nursing and raising his family. He said he was getting back into music when his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“She saw what the cost of treatment was and saw how most of the cancer drugs didn’t work. She got into a group in Nashville, TN., through Sarah Cannon that does drug development … drug trials and stuff like that,” Sell said. “Then we got to talking about ways to raise money just to donate to that cause. Kathy wanted to leave something behind that people would remember her by. We developed this concept of this band because I played music and loved to play and she was a music lover and big supporter of me and music.”
Sell agreed to give anything he made from the band to a fund in Kathy’s name.
“She always struggled with trying to find peace in the fact that she was dying and one day she came up with a term, I don’t know what brought it up, but she actually phrased it as blind peace.”
Sell said it was almost an instant thought that “Blind Peace” should be the name of his band.
“She passed away this past August and that’s a difficult ordeal as it is, but I guess part of the way for my son and me to cope is to go ahead with this,” Sell said. “I always told her if I was going to do this I was going to do it right. I have professional musicians that will allow us to do it right and play the right places.”
Sell said he hopes his band will generate some awareness about the disease and get some money so he can donate in her name and hopefully help someone in need.
“Through music it’s usually a good time and hopefully have a little fun,” Sell said. “Production of everything to make it professional is costly and to pay the right people to do it is costly, so I can’t ask the other people to donate their time. With my job, I don’t do it for the money any way … I just love to play music and I love the whole thought of keeping Kathy’s memory alive.”
With the band, Sell said it is split up to where everybody gets an equal share for every performance.
“Anything that will come to me, will go straight to an account in her name,” Sell said. “Eventually it will go to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center Drug Development Unit for Lung Cancer.”
The event Saturday night is mainly centered around making a concert music video, however, Sell said if anybody would like to donate in honor of Kathy, they will be able to do so.
Saturday night’s concert will also be the venue of obtaining a live recording of each song in order for the band to make a CD from the concert.
“We will edit the video down and do a video press kit in order to present it for opening acts and festivals,” Sell said. “Hopefully we can get some bigger shows that pay good money in order to make nice donations.”
Sell said he hopes for a big crowd Saturday night.
“I want to get as many people in there as I can to jump and scream and look like they are having a good time,” Sell said. “I would love to fill the place up. To me, especially for what it is for, for people to come out and donate their time is huge to me. That means more than dollars. If this works out right, we will generate the income I’m looking for there.”
Sell said he has been back in Albany for some time now, but to do a show in his home town means a lot to him.
“For me right now, there is so much cancer around here. It seems like it has exploded in the last five to 10 years. To be back home, kind of where it all started, it warms me up. I really don’t know how to describe it. I’m pretty proud to be able to do something like this and any support I get is very appreciated,” Sell said.
Blind Peace’s performance will be all original songs put together by a collective effort from the band.
“We will play a couple of songs written by the bass player and three or four written by just me and all of the rest of them I’ve had some dealings in the writing in some form,” Sell said. “It’s rock n’ roll for sure. When I use to do it for money it took all the fun out of it. Now, for me, it’s totally fun. I get to express my feelings and it helps me keep in touch with her.”