Rock ’n’ roll keyboard sensation Joe Delia and his band Thieves—which includes his wife, PJ Delia, Johnny Blood, James Benard, Patrick Jones and Michael Vinas—are ready to raise the roof off Riverhead’s Suffolk Theater (and play host to a surprise list of 2014 Best of the Best musical winners who have been invited to sit in) at the Dan’s Best of the Best concert on Friday, November 14.
Delia is always geared up to get a crowd rocking, whether touring with the likes of Chuck Berry and Stevie Wonder, taking the stage on The Ed Sullivan Show for the Muppets’ first appearance, or sitting down for this Best of the Best version of the Proust Questionnaire.
Best moment you’ve had on stage: So many wonderful moments—Keith [Richards] coming up and asking to play, Bruce [Springsteen] dropping in on one of my Killer Joe gigs. But one of the best was the first time I played “Under the Montauk Moon” live and looked out and saw the audience singing along with me. There is no feeling like knowing people love your music and words so much that they can sing them to you.
Best concert you’ve ever been to: Ray Charles. Once in the ’70s, and again when PJ took me for my birthday, shortly before he passed. A moving experience both times.
Best way to unwind after a gig: Ah! PJ dared me to tell the truth on this one. Let’s just say, I like to get alone with my wife.
Best advice you’ve ever gotten: “Always show up on time and bring a pencil”—well-known studio musician booker Artie Kaplan.
Best Muppet: My favorite Muppet is Animal. He was created after the character I was—the “Rock n Roll Monster”—on The Ed Sullivan Show in the ’60s.
Your best quality: I am enthusiastic. I throw myself into projects and give my best.
Your idea of happiness: The moments when everything is going well and those you care about are smiling along. That can be anywhere from on a stage in front of thousands of people to a couple’s walk on the beach.
What you consider your greatest achievement: Wow! I hope I have a few more ahead of me. I’m working on so many things!
Historical figure do you most identify with: Mahatma Gandhi. I want to emulate him.
Living person do you most admire: Bob Dylan, the voice of a generation.
Your heroes in real life: PJ and Jake, my wife and son. Both have had some heavy obstacles put in their way that they’ve gotten over.
Trait you most deplore in yourself: Impatience.
Trait do you most deplore in others: I cannot stand dishonesty—to others or oneself.
The word or phrase you most overuse: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
Your state of mind right now: Mostly, I’m serene.
Your most treasured possession: My Steinway M baby grand. Not the only piano I have, but the most beautiful of the beauties.
Where you would like to live if not on the East End: Why would you want to live anywhere else? We have it all here.
Quality you most like in a person: I like kindness. It’s the most attractive trait a person can have.
Best song title you’ve ever heard: “Fire in My Belly (Rock and Roll til the Day I Die)”
Your motto: “Easy does it.”
The 2014 Dan’s Best of the Best Concert is Friday, November 14, at Suffolk Theater in Riverhead at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, visit suffolktheater.com.