An ex-Vegas musician crafts a rock opera—for a cause

Photo: Corlene Byrd

A former Las Vegas music scene mainstay who previously played with The Killers and The Lazystars is prepping for what could be his biggest concert yet.

Drummer Brian Havens, who now lives in Salt Lake City, has written the music for a two-hour stage production set to debut Sunday, October 13 in Riverside, California. Havens describes it as a “Cirque-like, Broadway-feel stage show that’ll be played by a 10-piece band.” And most importantly, he explains, the concert is being held to raise money for a Vietnam memorial at Riverside National Cemetery—and increase awareness and provide aid for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.

“I moved to Salt Lake not really knowing why, and then I started to really embrace my songwriting,” Havens says. “About 95 percent of this has been written in the past three months.”

The project actually stems back to 2008, when Havens’ mother, Janet Franco, an “alternative wellness” radio host, asked her son to craft a song to honor the POW/MIA advocacy group Rolling Thunder. Havens responded with “You Will Always Be Remembered,” part of Sunday’s program. “Then I thought, what if I put together a show with a Cirque feel, a touch of Vegas, about what happens to veterans who get PTSD?” Franco explains.

Havens says he can’t wait to see his creation come to life. “I’ve been to practice, and it’s nothing short of magical.”

Franco says Sunday’s show, which will be preceded by a motorcycle tour through nearby states including Nevada, will also feature a wellness expo. For more information on the show and how to donate to the effort, visit foreverdreamsforveterans.com.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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