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Rock For A Cause Benefit For 180 Turning Lives Around
Touch III
Their caring staff provides immediate and long-term support in assisting clients with the trauma they've experienced while supporting them in obtaining services and making decisions that will turn their lives around. - Dale Lakata
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] Touch III
Dale Lakata
Dale Lakata of Wordz Presents Touch III - A Benefit for 180 Turning Lives Around at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ

A group of the Jersey Shore area's veteran female musicians will put their talent to good use during a benefit show for an organization which mainly helps women in need. Mimi Cross, Blue Scream, Wordz (formerly The Magic Words) and Minds Of Society will all perform during the Touch III " Rock for a Cause benefit on May 5 at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ. The show will benefit 180 Turning Lives Around, which is based locally in Hazlet.

“The reason we wanted to focus on 180 Turning Lives Around for the Touch shows was because I had heard that they were in dire need and we as women wanted to help support a place which supports victimized women and their children,” said Dale Lakata, lead vocalist and guitarist of Wordz.

Lakata will present the show through her own Red Letter Publicity. 180 Turning Lives Around is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Monmouth County. The group has been saving individuals for almost 30 years, Lakata said.

“Their caring staff provides immediate and long-term support in assisting clients with the trauma they've experienced while supporting them in obtaining services and making decisions that will turn their lives around,” she said.

The first of the Touch benefits was also held at The Saint in 1999. It moved one year later to The Brighton Bar, in nearby Long Branch.

Jeff Lakata of Wordz and Mad Cow
Jeff Lakata of Wordz and Mad Cow will be performing at Torch III

“We donated over $800 raised to 180 Turning Lives Around (then known as The Women's Center of Monmouth County),” Lakata said. “There's been a prevalence at all these Touch benefits of female led acts or solo performers.”

Lakata said that she started Red Letter Publicity in order to help promote her projects and favorite causes. Aside from Touch III, Lakata has put benefits together for Clean Ocean Action and played at benefits for the New Jersey Environmental Fundraising and The Surfer's Environmental Alliance. She said she is looking to take part in more benefit shows for organizations such as AmeriCares and The National Cancer Institute in the near future.

“(Playing benefits) is a way I can give a bit back of what I do - sing, play guitar and write songs, which I hope will move someone while raising awareness for a good cause,” Lakata said.

Dale Lakata founded The Magic Words in 1995. After taking a break from the scene, Lakata returned with Wordz. The new band includes bass player, John Dowbachuk, guitarist Jeff Lakata, who is also Dale’s husband, and drummer Gary Chiocchi.

“Jeff is doing only a few more shows with us and is moving on to concentrate on his own project, Mad Cow, a cover band,” Dale Lakata said. “We currently are auditioning lead guitarists.”

"Wordz is a four-piece rock project with elements of Latin, jazz, pop and blues interlaced in our sound,” Lakata said.

Tia Bocker of Blue Scream
Tia Bocker of Blue Scream

“The name change came when my last guitarist and co-writer of two new songs 'Tell It to the Clowns' and 'Hydrogen,' Ken Goodman, suggested a modernization of the name,” Lakata said. “Wordz seemed simpler and more what we'd become today, so I agreed and we became Wordz. Not only did my name change because of my marriage, but our band's name changed.”

The band will soon release its new album ,“Hope Road.”

The first Touch benefit featured Shades of Violet, Mimi Cross, Rachel, Crash Happy, Terry Little, Kristie Lee and Wordz. A year later at the Brighton Bar, Wordz was joined by Allie Moss (of Secret Agent Abe), Terry Little, Rosemary's Baby, Rockin Robin Rox, Dawne Allynne and Lorri Tomlinson. Planet Janet had been scheduled to play, but had to cancel.

"I put the latest show together with the help of Tia Bocker of Blue Scream, whose band will also be appearing,” Lakata said. “The other acts: Mimi Cross and Minds of Society are good acts that I'd known. Mimi came on board when Juice (Terry Little's project) had to back out because of a conflict.”

Tickets for the show are $8. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the first band will play at 8:30 p.m. The Saint is located at 601 Main Street, in Asbury Park. The club's web site can be found at www.thesaintnj.com and its hotline is (732) 775-9144.

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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