LaBamba will be ‘home for the holidays,’ again, at Stone Pony’s Holiday Hurrah

labamba holiday hurrah preview 2023

Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg will perform with his big band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, on Dec. 9.

At last year’s edition of his annual Holiday Hurrah concert at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg sang an upbeat version of “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” with his daughter Jade, with some of the lyrics changed to reflect the fact that while he now lives in California, he still considers the Jersey Shore his real home.

“That’s one of our anthems that we’re going to keep in every year,” says LaBamba, who will present this year’s Holiday Hurrah — with his hard-swinging big band and guests such as Willie Nile (making his Holiday Hurrah debut), Bobby Bandiera and Glen Burtnik — at the Pony on Dec. 9. “It kind of tells the story. When we started (doing the song), it was, “Thirteen years ago, we packed our bags, we moved to Hollywood,’ and then a year later, it was ’14 years ago …’ Now we’re up to 15.”


Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg (center, with trombone) and his Holiday Hurrah big band.

He starts to recite the revised song’s lyrics, with a laugh: “We moved to Hollywood, that was a long, long time ago/And from California we’ll be traveling back to the Jersey Shore/And we’re rocking out the Pony/Feeling toasty, warm and cozy.’ It works really well. It’s a little personal message that we do.”

The show will also include “Christmas at the Pony” (see video below), LaBamba’s celebratory ode to both the holiday season and the club itself.

“How could we not do it?” he says. “We’re at the Pony.”

LaBamba — a trombonist and singer who is well known to New Jersey rock fans as a former member of Southside Johnny’s Asbury Jukes and the Max Weinberg 7, a Bruce Springsteen sideman, and the leader of his own LaBamba & the Hubcaps — will co-host the show with dynamic trumpeter and singer Mark Pender, who has been by his side for many of his musical endeavors over the years.

In addition to Nile, Burtnik and Bandiera, some of the show’s 20-plus other participants will include Joe Vadala, formerly of LaBamba & the Hubcaps and now of the cover band Best of The Eagles, on guitar and vocals; Max Weinberg 7 members Jerry Vivino, on saxophone, and James Wormworth, on drums; former Asbury Juke Frank Elmo on saxophone; Joe Bellia of The Weeklings on drums; and Tom “Bones” Malone, who has played with everybody from Frank Zappa to Aretha Franklin and The Blues Brothers, on trumpet.


That’s not a typo. Malone will indeed play trumpet, though he is best known as a trombonist. “He plays just about every instrument in the orchestra,” says LaBamba. “That’s pretty incredible, to begin with. And he can just sit down and sight read every chart in front of him, for any instrument.”

Many years ago, said LaBamba, Malone “moved out of the city (New York) at some point while he was doing the Letterman show and moved to Randolph, and I was living in Mendham. So we only lived about five minutes away from each other — and never knew that. And he moved out here pretty recently, and he’s in walkable distance. You think about how huge L.A. is: It’s funny that he landed so close to me. So we’ve been hanging out a little bit, going to dinner and breakfast.” (Malone has also been playing at the big band shows LaBamba has been presenting occasionally at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill in Los Angeles.)

In addition to Jade, another one of LaBamba’s five children, his son Reed, will join the show’s large cast.

“He’s never been to The Stone Pony before,” says LaBamba. “He’s a music major at UCLA, and he’s in his final year. He plays percussion, guitar, bass, keys. He sings, write songs. So he’s going to join us and play a little percussion and sing a little bit, some backgrounds.”

Asked if anything stands out for him from last year’s Holiday Hurrah, LaBamba mentioned Burtnik’s mellow solo version of the standard, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” “That kind of broke up the intensity of the show and brought it down to a nice place for a minute,” he said.

As far as this year’s show, he said, referring to current events, “we’re going to lean a little bit into things that have to do with what’s going on, and try to make people feel good. A little peace: Sending a nice message out there.”

LaBamba’s Holiday Hurrah takes place at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Visit or

New, unwrapped toys will be collected for the Asbury Park Toy Drive, and canned or dry food will be collected for the Fulfill foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean counties.


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