Rock N Roll Reveille

Rock N Roll Reveille

Episode 9 | Rock N Roll Reveille | Vinny Martell, Peg Pearl and Joey Brennan | 12-30-23 Download

00:57 Download December 30th, 2023

Vinny Martell, lead guitarist of Vanilla Fudge, and U.S. Navy Veteran, has received wide acclaim and worldwide recognition for the musicianship and originality that have etched out his place in the annals of rock history. His riff in the Vanilla Fudge chart topper, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” is ranked the number four heaviest guitar riff of all time by Guitar Magazine. The Vanilla Fudge’s symphonic rock remake of this Supremes’ hit placed them at number six on the Billboard Charts in the U.S.A. and at number two on the charts in England, second only to The Beatles. Martell’s original, “Thoughts,” a B-side to “Take Me for a Little While,” went to number six on Italy’s Rock Charts.

Joey Brennan, drummer for the Pigeons, who became the Vanilla Fudge in the 1960s, toured with some of the legendary artists of that era, including Fleetwood Mac, Ted Nugent, and Aretha Franklin. He also knew Jimi Hendrix.

Like the altered state described in Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” Brennan stumbled through life as a heroin addict for five years and overdosed around 1976 or 1977. While the exact date may be cloudy, Brennan’s memory of his near-death, out-of-body experience is hauntingly clear to this day.

“A nurse told me I had flat-lined and that I should thank the doctor that saved my life,” he said. “I remember being outside of myself. I was in a tunnel and I wasn’t going up to any great light; I was going down to a very dark area. I know that will freak out a lot of people, but I was fully aware. Now, as I look back, I realize that it was God who saved me.”

Brennan entered a recovery program and subsequently came to Christ in 1980 at the Maranatha Church of the Nazarene in Paramus, New Jersey. He credits Rev. Charlie Rizzo and being part of the pastor’s Emmaus Road Band as major influences in his turnaround. Today, he is thankful that Maranatha Church of the Nazarene is the host site for his C.A.R.E. (Christian Addiction, Recovery, and Education) Ministry after several years at other locations in Bergen County.

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