Ex-Healey drummer defends album

Posted by ToxicDoom | Monday, November 03, 2008 |

Jeff Healey's widow wants his fans to ignore a new "unauthorized" DVD and two-CD compilation set but his former drummer Tom Stephen said Monday that the material deserves to be released.

"Jeff Healey Band - Legacy: Volume 1" highlights some of the group's best performances as it was developing into a world-renowned act, said Stephen, who also served as co-manager.

"This is music I participated in with Jeff and (bass player Joe Rockman) and it's a story of a blues-based band that against all odds managed to make some great music," he said in an interview.

"I invite fans and others to judge the project by its merit and the music itself."

Cristie Healey said last week that she was "deeply and sadly disappointed" to learn about the new release and called on fans to boycott it.

She said it was not authorized by Healey's estate and was hastily thrown together "to exploit Jeff's name" following the guitarist's death in March after a long battle with cancer.

But Stephen said the compilation had been in the works for years and that since he owns the material he has a "legal and moral right" to release it.

"This has been done with a lot of affection and a lot of care," Stephen said, adding that he envisions releasing more volumes of archived material from the band's 18-year career.

Healey's CD "Mess of Blues" was released with the estate's blessing in the spring, and other releases approved by the estate are in the works.

A spokesman for the Healey estate said Monday it had no further comment.