Musician Michael DelGuidice is tired of hearing about heroin-related deaths on Long Island, so he’s trying to make a difference.
DelGuidice’s Billy Joel cover band Big Shot is teaming up with the Suffolk County Police Department to raise money through benefit concert July 28 at the Emporium in Patchogue called “Help Stop The Long Island Heroin Epidemic.”
The proceeds, which will come from $35 tickets and refreshments, will go to Suffolk County Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit program helping police fight the selling of illegal opiates.
Suffolk County hit a record high of 825 heroin overdose deaths in 2014, leading all 62 New York counties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
“It’s beyond an epidemic. It has to stop,” DelGuidice, who says his daughter has lost friends to overdoses.
At a news conference Wednesday in Yaphank, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini called Crime Stoppers “an invaluable tool for the Suffolk police department” because of its hotline that offers cash rewards of up to $5,000 for any anonymous information leading to arrest.
Sini said the department also launched a hotline in March that has received more than 800 calls with tips about drug dealing. The combined efforts has enabled police to take more aggressive action against drug dealers, Sini said.
Representatives from the nonprofit, funded entirely by private donations, said Wednesday that this is the first benefit concert Crime Stoppers has held with the police department.
DelGuidice, who himself works in Joel’s band as a guitarist and vocalist, said the concert will feature original content and Billy Joel covers.
Zofolk, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, will open for DelGuidice’s band, which garnered national attention in June when Joel made a surprise visit at their performance at the Paramount Theater in Huntington.
DelGuidice said Joel is constantly doing charity work and would be completely supportive of the benefit concert, but he doesn’t know whether Joel will make another surprise appearance.
The concert starts at 8 p.m. Call Pat Fazio at 631-365-1490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.