Hey! Ho! Let’s go, ho, ho! A CBGB holiday tribute
*Editor’s note: In the print version of this article, “Brenner Children’s Hospital” appears as “Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.” It has been updated to the correct spelling online.
By: Katei Cranford
Who says punks are good-for-nothings?
Armed with the holiday spirit, a group of Winstoners will combine goodwill and a love for punk rock to host a charity concert on Dec. 14 and 15 at Monstercade, celebrating the 45th anniversary of CBGB and raising funds for the Child Life Program at Brenner Children’s Hospital.
“Getting together some of the best local musicians for a great cause is holiday spirit to me,” said organizer Rory Sloane, Winston party maker and co-host of the Apartment 5B Podcast.
“I’m looking to bring our community a bit closer, with some great music, good times, and a little something different,” Sloane said. Funds raised will go specifically to Brenner’s Child Life services, which specialize in easing the transition into hospital life for the patient and their whole family. “It’s a really great program,” he noted.
Sloane’s charitable inspiration came from a Build-a-Bear visit a few years ago. “I was able to make a bear and bring it to Brenner’s,” Sloane explained, “and to see the smile on this boy’s face when I gave it to him, brought this huge smile to mine.”
“So, with this show, I guess I’m trying to just do more,” he said.
A native of Long Island, Sloane saw an opportunity to celebrate the milestone for what most consider the birthplace of punk, and spread a few more smiles, by hosting a CBGB-themed benefit show for the hospital.
“I’ve been a huge fan of music and pop culture my whole life,” Sloane said. “With David Byrne starting to again do solo-performances and the Beastie Boys releasing their book, it just started to make sense with timing.”
Bands responded via a roll call of acts known to play the club. Unfortunately, Talking Heads won’t be playing, but there will be a Beastie Boys set on the first night.
“It’s really cool that Monstercade is having this benefit show for the Brenner’s program,” said Fortezza, who’ll cover the Cramps. “It’s really exciting to be playing an all-time favorite band, and plus it’s for a good cause.”
The opportunity is personal for Rick Randall (from Alternative Champs, and part of the second night’s Television set.) “The folks at Brenner’s took great care of my daughter, years ago, when she experienced some complications just after her birth,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to give a little back in such a creative way.”
“Plus it’s been really fun exploring this music on a deeper level with my fellow musician friends,” Randall noted of his Television bandmates: Eddie Garcia (from 1970s Film Stock,) Andy Mabe (from Finks!), and Tim Nolan (from Hot Goat & the Bed Spreads.)
“It’s sort of a book club for punk nerds,” he said of tribute shows.
Teresa Blackburn, (also from Finks!) who’ll play as part of the B-52s act, likewise praises the hospital.
“This time last year my coworker’s daughter was at Brenner’s battling Leukemia,” Blackburn said. “It was amazing seeing all of the support she received.”
“This year, she’s doing great and loved getting to play in the snow,” Blackburn added regarding the girl’s progress, “and I love being able to give back by playing in one of my favorite quirky party bands.”
From Athens weirdos to classic punkers, the event, naturally, will feature a cover from CBGB’s kings: the Ramones. “We’re covering our heroes,” said Scott Andree Bowen (from Drat the Luck) regarding their chosen band slot.
“Regretfully, we won’t be playing ‘Merry Christmas, I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight,’” he admitted.
Pushing past regrets, Sloane is excited to raffle-off two sets of gift bags, valued around $200, each night at midnight. The bags feature donations from Winston businesses and artists, with notable contents including a denim jacket hand-painted by Caleb Williams, a tasting tour for eight at Raylen Vineyards, and a Jagermeister trunk stuffed with surprises like a Joey Ramone Funko pop doll or the new Beastie Boys Book.
Sloane touted the “gracious donations” from Tattoo Revival, Raylen Vineyards, and Hoots Beer Company, for helping him arrange the event.
“It’s all for a good cause, and making you feel like you’re at 315 Bowery in New York—just in Winston-Salem,” he insisted.
With that, the bill rounds out to feature cover acts from the Misfits, Suicide, and Violent Femmes.
“I can’t wait to see everyone there, it’s gonna be one for the books,” Sloane said.
The CBGB tribute to support the Child Life Program at Brenner Children’s Hospital will takeover Monstercade (204 W. Acadia Ave) Friday and Saturday night in Winston-Salem.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who wishes all you punks a happy holidays and hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands playing NC the following week, 5-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.