Mill Valley's Tim Hockenberry Rocks 'America's Got Talent' Audition

Veteran local musician draws rave reviews from judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel on NBC show.

It was mid-February at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Longtime Mill Valley musician Tim Hockenberry, along with family and friends, had waited for nearly three hours while performers in an almost comically diverse array of mediums did their thing in front of a trio of celebrity judges in the hopes of landing a slot on NBC’s popular America’s Got Talent show.

When Hockenberry finally got the call to go on stage, his longtime friend was a bit uneasy.

“I was so nervous,” Lautzker said. “The judges and the crowd had been sitting there for three hours. I felt like it was really stacked against him.”

But then Hockenberry jumped on stage, played the opening piano notes to Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” and proceeded to turn the crowd – and judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel – into immediate fans.

“What a breath of fresh air you are,” Stern said when Hockenberry finished. “It was moving and you’re different and I love you.”

Osbourne and Mandel agreed.

“You are a phenomenal talent,” Mandel said. “Sir, your life is about to change. You are being born her tonight on America’s Got Talent as a star.”

As the crowd chanted, “One more song,” Mandel said, “They’re going to hear one more song…in Las Vegas,” referring to the show’s post-audition intermediate round in Las Vegas.

“The crowd went completely nuts after his performance,” Lautzker said. “I still get chills when I think about it.”

Hockenberry isn’t able to speak publicly about his participation in the show yet. But the veteran local musician, who just returned from nearly three months on the road as the lead singer for theMickey Hart Band and regularly performs at a variety of local venues like and the , shared some thoughts about his entry into the show in his pre-audition video, which aired on May 15.

He mentioned his struggles with alcoholism, the recent birth of his daughter Sonia Rae with his girlfriend Bronwyn and his long struggles in the music business.

“I wanted to do something before I turned 50, and I’ve got about three months,” Hockenberry said with a laugh in the interview. “I’m not so much nervous as I am scared. This is maybe my last chance.”

Hockenberry earned a slot in the Vegas shows in the hopes of advancing to the show’s season of live shows.

Stay tuned!

Jim Welte
May 25, 2012

MIll Valley Patch