August 22 & September 27
Musicians and artists from around Pittsburgh and the country are teaming up to present a series of benefit events to support a local rock hero in his time of need.
Sound Cat Records owner Karl Hendricks, who purchased the Bloomfield institution in 2012 after working at Paul’s CDs for more than a decade, and who is nationally known as the singer-guitarist at the helm of The Karl Hendricks Trio, was diagnosed with oral cancer in early 2014. Known for his contributions to music both on and off stage, Hendricks—a Port Vue, PA native and father of two girls—has released music on the renowned Chapel Hill, NC-based record label MERGE, as well as on his own imprint, and is also author of the fiction chapbook, Stan Getz Isn’t Coming Back. With a career that spans 20 years and nine-plus albums, The Karl Hendricks Trio has also toured significantly in the US. The band’s current lineup also includes Jake Leger on drums and Corey Layman on bass.
To assist with his family’s mounting medical bills, and to provide support throughout the long recovery process ahead, the local and national indie rock scene has responded with both an online donation campaign as well as a series of benefit events open to the public.
In early July, longtime Hendricks friend Jon Solomon launched a Giveforward donation page, which to date has raised $34,329 to ease Hendricks’ medical bills and lost wages. Accepting donations through October 3rd, the site has received more than 400 contributions coming in from around the region and country. Hendricks’ lasting impact on the local and national music scene is reflected in the many donor comments being added daily, as well as by a moving letter posted by Solomon, who runs the Princeton, NJ-based independent record label Comedy Minus One (formerly My Pal God Records), which released The Karl Hendricks Trio’s The Adult Section in 2012.
Responding quickly and with an outpouring of support from local venues and artists, longtime Hendricks friends Dan Allen and Jason Baldinger rallied to organize two benefit events in Pittsburgh. Highlighting Hendricks’ work in both rock music and contemporary writing, the events feature music performances and literary readings by local and national figures who have personal and artistic connections to him.
The series of four benefit events kicks off in Pittsburgh on Friday, August 22nd, at Brillobox, with a night organized by Allen, a local music aficionado, who says that enthusiasm and support for the event was instant, with details coming together in less than one week.
Joining local musicians to raise awareness for Hendricks’ diagnosis are members of the acclaimed indie rock band Silkworm, who are bringing their latest music projects to town. Active from 1987 to 2005, Silkworm released 10 albums, including records on legendary labels Touch and Go and Matador. The 2013 documentary, Couldn’t You Wait? The Story of Silkworm, which chronicles the band’s evolution, features interviews with noteworthy music figures such as Jeff Tweedy, Steve Albini, Stephen Malkmus, Gerard Cosloy and Clint Conley. Friday’s show marks a rare appearance of all surviving members of Silkworm together on a bill.
Songwriter Joel RL Phelps—former Silkworm singer/guitarist and leader of the Downer Trio—will play with his newest project, DAMA/LIBRA, which also features G. Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Asva, Sunn O)))). Performing solo will be guitarists Andy Cohen and Tim Midyett, who in addition to being Silkworm bandmates, also head up the Chicago-based band, Bottomless Pit. In 2013, the band released its third full-length album, Shade Perennial, on Solomon’s Comedy Minus One.
Underscoring Hendricks’ deep role in supporting the local music scene will be performances by Pittsburgh bands The Gotobeds, whose debut LP is coming soon on 12XU, and Carousel, who will wrap up the night of rock before they head out on a US tour. All of the musicians are donating their performances to the cause. Opening the show and making their debut will be Corey Layman‘s new band, Line Forms.
Pittsburgh-based visual artist Mike Budai has created a limited-edition poster that will be available for purchase at the concert, with all proceeds supporting Hendricks.
Friday’s event is expected to sell out, so be sure to arrive early. Doors open at 8 p.m. The first band starts at 9 p.m.
On Saturday, September 27th, ModernFormations will host a second benefit organized by Hendricks’ fellow Sound Cat employees Jason Baldinger and Red Bob Jungkunz. Spotlighting Hendricks’ fiction writing, the event will feature readings by Jason Baldinger, Kris Collins, Jerome Crooks, Lori Jakiela, Jeff Martin, Dave Newman, Bobby Pajich and Scott Silsbe.
Jerome Crooks of Speed and Briscoe Press will reprint Hendricks’ chapbook, Stan Getz isn’t Coming Back, in a limited run of 100 copies especially for the reading. Kris Collins of Low Ghost Press/Coleridge Street Press will debut a new anthology of work by Pittsburgh writers, Good Noise! Poetry, Music & Pittsburgh, which is forthcoming on Thrasher Press. All proceeds from the sales of the two books will go to the Hendricks family.
Benefits for Karl Hendricks will also take place at Little Rock Bar in Columbus, OH, on Saturday, August 23rd, and at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA, on Friday, October 3rd.