Watch Darius Rucker Team Up With KISS’ Tommy Thayer at Benefit Concert
Darius Rucker‘s 2017 Darius and Friends benefit concert featured plenty of country — but also, some rock. During the event, which took place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Monday night (June 5), Rucker collaborated with KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer.
Readers can press play above to see a clip of Rucker and Thayer performing KISS’ “Calling Dr. Love.” Released as a single in 1977, the song became a Top 20 hit for KISS in the U.S.; Thayer did not play on the original version of “Calling Dr. Love,” as he did not officially join KISS until 2002 (though he played on a few albums prior to that).
In addition to Rucker himself and Thayer, Rucker’s 2017 Darius and Friends concert — a benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — featured performances from Dan + Shay, Michael Ray, Ronnie Milsap, Luke Combs, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn and John Oates; the eighth annual event was held at the Ryman for the first time. Rucker was originally inspired to support St. Jude, which provides free health care to children battling cancer and other diseases of the blood, after touring the hospital several years ago.
“They do such amazing work at St. Jude,” Rucker tells The Boot. “I always tell the story of going there years ago — probably almost a decade ago now — with Dierks [Bentley]: Dierks and I were on tour together with Brad [Paisley], and he and I went to the hospital together. I was just so moved by everybody; I was moved by the doctors, the administrators, and the kids, of course, who were all running around trying to get better but being as happy as they can be.
“I found out, just talking to everybody, how nobody ever gets a bill, and how much it costs a day to run the hospital and stuff like that,” Rucker adds. “I just felt like I wanted to do something on a regular basis that could help.”
Throughout the years, Rucker’s Darius and Friends shows have raised more than $1.2 million for St. Jude. This year’s concert, as well as an accompanying auction and golf tournament, raised $402,000.
“Getting people to come play my Darius and Friends show is so easy, because it’s for St. Jude,” Rucker admits. “That’s a great thing. That’s one of the reasons I love being a part of the country music family.”
See Photos From the 2017 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Event