Veteran rocker rocking it for veterans

At the Hawn Foundation benefit for MindUP that I mentioned in my previous post, “Celebrating Goldie Hawn and MindUP,” I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dave Mason. Mason was a pal of Jimi Hendrix and a rock legend in his own right as founder of the British band Traffic, which released in 1968 Mason’s iconic rock anthem, “Feelin Alright,” famously covered by Joe Cocker and by Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, and most recently the Black Crowes.

On stage—50 years into his career—Mason, who says, “Rock and roll is not an age, it’s an attitude,” is still a hard-driving rocker. In person, he’s a warm, direct, personable guy. He’s also a guy with a cause.

Mason is concerned about soldiers who come back from war, having given some of their best years to their country, only to fall into a life of disappointment, despair, underemployment, and unemployment. “These men and women are highly disciplined, well-trained, hard-working committed people,” he told me at the party. “They need to be given a chance to plug into something rewarding and worthwhile, commensurate with their abilities, and they will thrive. Otherwise, we are ignoring them and we are wasting one of the nation’s resources.”

That’s why Mason is a principal supporter and collaborator in Work Vessels for Veterans, an all-volunteer movement that helps veterans get the tools they need to get started in business, including farming. Mason was most impressed with one veteran in Florida who is running a successful farm and feels many others will find themselves well-suited to the hard work involved in making a farm succeed as well as many other kinds of businesses that involve hard work and a can-do attitude.

Go to Dave’s website and check out the video on the home page where he’s performing his most famous song along with more than a dozen rock legends at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

And if you liked that, check out another classic, “We Just Disagree,” with its famous statement of non-judgment: “There ain’t no good guy. There ain’t no bad guy. There’s only you and me, and we just disagree.”