Listening Local Sal

Former Falmouth resident Sal Catalano has reunited with his former bandmates in The Greeting Committee to play a benefit concert for Wellstrong.

The Greeting Committee will be reuniting after some 40 years on Saturday at the Lillie Auditorium in Woods Hole. The band will be performing the Pete Townshend album, “All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes,” in its entirety. All proceeds will benefit Wellstrong, a community and fitness center for people recovering from substance abuse disorder.

Singer/guitarist and Falmouth native Sal Catalano relocated to Los Angeles years ago to pursue a career in screenwriting and acting but wanted to return home for a concert he hopes can help support recovery efforts in his hometown. 

“A friend of mine lost their son to a drug overdose,” he said, “and I saw addiction affecting so many people.”

Sal said the band chose this particular album because while it’s not Townshend’s most well-known album, he and his bandmates have a particular fondness for it. “Over the years,” Sal said, “we’d text each other quotes from it arbitrarily.” He said it’s also considered by many to be Townshend’s “recovery” album, as it’s the first music he wrote after becoming sober. 

Sal grew up in Falmouth and studied guitar at the Falmouth Conservatory. During the tail end of high school in the early 1980s he was working at The Regatta restaurant. A conversation with his coworkers led to the formation of The Greeting Committee.

“We were part of this little punk and new wave subculture that included probably only a hundred or so people on the Cape,” Sal recalled.

They put together a set of cover songs by bands like The Clash, The Cure and The Jam, and started booking do-it-yourself shows wherever they could. “We actually used to play at The MBL club,” Sal said, “which is right near the Lillie Auditorium where we are playing this concert.”

Sal moved to Boston and the band played mainstays of the era like The Rathskeller and The Channel on and off until 1994, when he relocated to the West Coast.

Beginning last spring Sal flew into town a couple times for practices and even ran the Falmouth Road Race. “There are some pretty complex arrangements on the album,” he explained of the work the band members had cut out for themselves, “but it’s really great seeing everyone back together again. I gotta say I’m pretty excited about this.”

While it would be a challenge, Sal said, he would love to perform this concert in LA: “After all the work we’ve put in it would probably only take a week or so of rehearsals.” 

He said he hopes this show can help people in recovery, people who "aren't quite there yet," and those who don’t have much knowledge of the problems their friends, family and neighbors may be suffering from.

“I honestly was that guy not that long ago. I was like, ‘Put 'em in jail for six months where they can’t do drugs and when they come out they’ll be off it,’ but that’s just not the case. So I’ve had to educate myself and that’s really what this show’s about,” he said.

Tickets for the show at the Lillie Auditorium are $20. For more information and tickets go to refusenoriver.com; for more information on Wellstrong, visit wellstrong.org.

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