Local rocker, friar team up to help Detroit, suburbs

Famed rocker Dick Wagner pens anthem for Motor City, wants to raise money for Brother Al's mission in Metro Detroit

DETROIT - It is an unlikely pairing, a rocker and a friar, but that's who is teaming up to help some of metro Detroit's less fortunate.

Dick Wagner, a rock guitarist, composer and producer who has worked with renowned artists including Alice Cooper, Lou, Reed, Aerosmith and Kiss, wrote an anthem for Detroit.

It's called Motor City Music and Wagner said it pays tribute to the music of Detroit including Bob Seger, Steve Wonder, Mitch Ryder and Motown.  Wagner is a Detroit native.

Watch: Motor City Music video

However, Wagner, 70, didn't just want to record a single, he wanted to use the song to help give back to the city he loves. 

"I just don't like hearing b.s. about Detroit as being this hopeless city of crazy people and drug addicts and burn-out buildings," said Wagner.  "Detroit is full of people with heart and pride and they love this city.  I love this city too."

Wagner recorded Motor City Music at Harmonie Park Studios in Detroit.   He is long-time friends with owners Brian and Mark Pastoria.

"When Dick called me and said, 'I've got this great song that I just wrote and it's about Detroit music and I want to record it and do a single, but I don't want to do it to just make a record and put a record out. I want to tie it to a charity,'  and so, we thought that hooking him up with Brother Al, because he was a musician, because he was in Detroit, and he was on the streets that it was just a natural tie-in, " said Brian Pastoria.

Brother Al Mascia is a Franciscan friar.  He created the Song and Spirit Careavan, a mobile ministry that travels across metro Detroit helping those in need.

Local 4 first introduced you to Brother Al last year when he was doing his bicycle cart ministries.  

Brian and Mark Pastoria have been helping out Brother Al for a long time, including lending him the kitchen of their U Detroit Cafe to prepare and store food.    They saw Wagner's idea as an opportunity to help Brother Al keep his mobile ministries going.

Pastoria introduced Wagner to Brother Al and the relationship to help others was formed.   

"For me, if I can take this music and have it have some meaning, and raising money for him, then that's my purpose," said Wagner.

Brother Al thinks it's wonderful.

"You never know what the, your, the next angel in your life is going to look like and the fact that this angel came in the form of a rock star, I think, is pretty cool," said Brother Al.

With the Song and Spirit Careavan, Brother Al goes to wherever he is needed providing snack packs, gloves, pajama packs and lending an ear to listen to those who are hurting.  He hopes to take it to places others might miss and connect with people who have fallen through the cracks of the system.

"We hope to do patrols with the careavan and drive around and look for those more solitary individuals, those who may be in, in a state of crisis at night, who for whatever reason didn't make it into a shelter or for whatever reason are,, it could be due to mental illness, it could be due to addictions, whatever, could benefit from having a warm place to step into momentarily and and engage with human beings who might be able to help them avoid something terrible happening to them," said Brother Al.

Pastoria is proud to know Brother Al and to be a part of his ministry.

"Brother Al's commitment to the less fortunate, whether it's in downtown Detroit or in Ferndale or Warren or wherever, there's, there's so many people in need," said Pastoria.

Wagner wants the proceeds from Motor City Music to help pay to keep Brother Al's ministries moving around metro Detroit.

"I'm hoping that it makes it easier for him to get the goods that he needs to hand out to people," said Wagner.

Brother Al is grateful to Wagner for what he is providing.   He was at Harmonie Park Studios when the Motor City Music video was filmed.  Several other musicians donated their talents and time to the song and Brother Al.  They include Jim McCarty, Ray Goodman, Prakash John, Johnny Bee Badanjek, Jimmie Bones, Robert Wagner, Ty Stone, Muruga and Gary Jones.

Pat Lewis, a famed Motown background vocalist was also part of the recording.

"God bless you, Dick Wagner," said Brother Al.

Motor City Music is available digitally including on iTunes, cdbaby.com, and Amazon.com. 

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