This past Sunday, there was a benefit for my friend Earl Carter, who I met my sophmore year of high school, in 1976. Earl is the bass player for the Riptones, a popular Chicago rockabilly band. In 1986, he was in a really bad automobile accident. He recovered, but lingering injuries led to problems recently. He was hospitalized and of course, like many musicians, had no medical insurance. The Chicago rockabilly community turned out in droves for him, including a reunion of his first band, the Deke Rivers Band.
The turnout was great, particularly given that another marvelous musical event was taking place that night, Riotfest.
It was nice to see other old friends, including Earl's best friend since childhood, Steve Knoebber. Since Earl was not well enough to be there, Steve videotaped a lot of the night's activities. I still can't get used to seeing Steve with no hair-- in my head, I still picture him at 5th period lunch in our senior year of high school.
Kudos to Don and Jen Olsen, who put this thing together. In one of those strange connections that happen all the time in my life, they are regulars at the restaurant who happened to be friends of Earl and fans of the Riptones (the Riptones played their wedding).
Anyone interested in helping Earl out can donate at Paypal (www.paypal.com) at firstname.lastname@example.org.