CONCERT PREVIEW: Masters of the Telecaster at Sellersville Theater features G.E. Smith, Jim Weider, Jon Herington

G.E. Smith
G.E. Smith SUBMITTED PHOTO
Jon Herington
Jon Herington SUBMITTED PHOTO

IF YOU GO

What: Masters of the Telecaster.

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 2.

Where: Sellersville Theater 1894, 24 W. Temple Ave. at Main Street, Sellersville.

Tickets: $29.50, $45.

Info.: (215) 257-5808, www.st94.com.

“Masters of the Telecaster” is a chance to see three celebrated guitarists on one stage at Sellersville Theater.

Strousburg, Pa. native and Emmy-winning 1985-1995 “Saturday Night Live” music director G.E. Smith, former The Band guitarist Jim Weider, and Jon Herington will compile a set list Feb. 2 and perform it together with a rhythm section of Lincoln Schlepper on bass and drummer Josh Dion.

The Fender Telecaster solid body electric guitar was first introduced in 1950. Smith’s mother gave him one for his 11th birthday. “I’ve had that guitar 55 years,” he said in a phone interview.

Gaining fame from working with Hall & Oates, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and others, Fender issued a G.E. Smith signature model Telecaster in the early 2000s.

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Weider replaced Robbie Robertson after he left The Band; performed with Bob Dylan, Hot Tuna, Keith Richards, Los Lobos, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Levon Helm and more; plus he fronts ProJECT PERCoLAToR and cofounded The Weight, a tribute to The Band.

As for Herington, “He’s a great guitar player. I know he played with Steely Dan for a really long time,” said Smith.

What Smith enjoys most about going on the road with Masters of the Telecaster is “we do all different kinds of music. It keeps it exciting.”

Performing as an ensemble with Weider and Herington, he gets to think up harmony guitar lines. “I appreciate playing guitar like other instruments. I try to think like a horn player, or a keyboard player. For me that’s more fun than playing hot licks,” Smith said.

It’s kind of like reliving playing with the “Saturday Night Live” band, whom Smith called “some of the best musicians in New York. No regular human could’ve afforded that band.”

TV viewers know Smith’s face and unruly, blond ponytailed hairdo fronting the Saturday Night Live Band, but for a decade he also worked hands-on with the show’s musical guests. His least favorite part of that job was planning out how the songs would run to fit in SNL’s allotted time. “Everybody was always good about it. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were on several times. Nirvana was on several times ... Pearl Jam ... Al Green ...,” he said.

From 1979-1985 he backed Daryl Hall and John Oates at the peak of their powers, including Live Aid at the former JFK Stadium (At that concert Smith backed Mick Jagger and Tina Turner, and whoever else didn’t have a band). Smith said he got that job after a visit to Hall’s New York apartment. “I never took my guitar out of the case. We spent the time talking,” said Smith, reckoning it was because they were both Pennsylvanians that liked the same music and same clothes.

“That was the first really big thing I ever did. They had so many big hit records when I was with them,” he said.