Fans and Friends Unite to Help Boston Rock Legend Charlie Chesterman
Former Scruffy The Cat frontman battles cancer; members of the band to reunite for first time in two decades.
Cambridge, MA - Tuesday, May 24, 2011
A sprawling all star musical lineup, including The Upper Crust, The Raging Teens, Barrence Whitfield, and a rare reunion of members of Scruffy The Cat, will play a daytime benefit show at TT the Bear's on Sunday, June 12 from noon until 5:30pm to raise money for Charlie Chesterman's costly battle with cancer. Chesterman, the former frontman of seminal 80's band Scruffy The Cat, was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and has been undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatments. "I'm really grateful to have all these great musicians come together in order to help me and my family. It's a thrill and also an honor. I'm kinda blown away," he said recently.
Scruffy The Cat was at the forefront of a nascent roots-rock movement during the second half of the 1980's, touring relentlessly while releasing two full-length albums and two EPs on Relativity Records. In 1987, the video for their song "My Baby, She's Alright" was repeatedly played on MTV and the band was profiled in Newsweek magazine while also appearing in a fashion spread in Rolling Stone. At the upcoming benefit show, former Scruffy members Stephen Fredette (guitar), Randall Gibson (drums), Burns Stanfield (keyboards), and possibly Stona Fitch (banjo) are expected to play onstage together, with Chesterman, for the first time since disbanding in 1990.
June 12's benefit will kick off promptly at 12:30 pm with a set by The Upper Crust. This will be followed by a parade of artists performing Chesterman songs, often backed by a core "house band." As of press time, the order of performance had not been established, but confirmed artists include The Raging Teens, Roy Sludge Trio featuring Duke Levine, Ray Mason Band, The Weisstronauts, Barrence Whitfield, Dave Herlihy of O Positive, Brian & David Charles, Chaz & the Motorbikes (Chesterman's most recent band), the reunited Scruffy The Cat, as well as the distinct possibility of some last-minute luminaries taking the stage.
Jim Haggerty, bassist in the house band and a key architect in organizing the concert, recently remarked, "The thing I love most about the Boston music community is that we all rally together for each other. This benefit for Charlie's family is no exception. I have had so many people contacting me asking what they can do to help, and I'm so proud to be part of a such a caring and talented group of people."
Rights to Charlie Chesterman's six solo albums, three of which were on Rykodisc/Slow River Records, have recently reverted back to Chesterman and his family. This is great news for fans, as the albums had never been available as digital downloads and are all due for a June 1 release on iTunes and other online outlets. In addition, Chesterman and his long-time producer Pete Weiss are sifting through a considerable stash of archival tapes, preparing to make a collection of rarities, both live and studio recordings, available online as well. Some new recordings are in the very early stages of planning, and efforts are being made to obtain the rights to the Scruffy The Cat catalog, which has long been unavailable in any format.Tickets for the June 12 show are $20, and are available in advance through Ticketweb or at the TT's box office. Items donated by TT the Bear's Place, Q Division Studio, Rounder Records, Harpoon Brewery, deCordova Museum, Newbury Comics and others will be raffled off. All proceeds will go to a fund set upfor Chesterman and his family.
Checks can be made out to "Friends of Charlie Chesterman" and mailed to the below address.
Friends of Charlie Chesterman
C/O Michael and Amy Charles
48 Beaumont Street, Unit 1
Boston, MA 02124