Sunday, August 2, 2020

Tompkins Square Park Police Riot Rally 2020

In early 1988, Tompkins Square Park had visibly become a tent city for homeless people and their dogs. As the summer months approached and the numbers of the displaced multiplied, the local community was divided about whether or not city agencies should evict the squatters and their encampments. In late June or early July, the New York City Parks Department responded by initiating a 1 a.m. curfew. A protest on July 31 led to several clashes between protesters and police. The following week, on August 6, a reported 400 police officers charged the activists and squatters, inflicting harm on neighborhood residents and bystanders as well, leading to hours of bloody violence that ended at 6 a.m. the next morning. Much of the violence was captured on video by Clayton Patterson and others with cameras. Over 100 complaints of police brutality were lodged. The New York Times confirmed the New York Police Department was responsible for inciting the riot.

Chris Flash, editor of The Shadow, a local anarchist newspaper, and his team of volunteers annually host a political rally and concert as a bookmark that the community must never again tolerate a police riot against the underclass. This year's event, however, held on August 1, had to be more low-key than in previous years due to COVID-era restrictions on assembly and social distancing. This year, there was no stage or public address system. Many of the music acts that normally would have played as full bands were reduced to solo performances. Even the type of music was softer, with almost no hardcore punk, hard rock or metal bands on the roster. A last minute decision, due to the threat of an impending storm on Sunday, saw that after the Saturday speakers and performers ended about 5:45 p.m., the event continued with many of the music acts and speakers that were originally scheduled for Sunday. Hence, the two-day event was reduced to one day. Up to 100 people gathered for the event, most of whom socially-distanced and wore masks.
Stephen Witt
Rew Starr
Ronnie Wheeler
Spike Polite
Gass Wilde
Magic Forest
Pinc Louds
Val Kinzler
The Rotten Crew
Scotty Skitzo

Friday, July 31, 2020

Alternative Staging for Live Music

Richard Thompson at Woodbridge High School
Looking from the stage onto the field at Woodbridge High School, folk music's Richard Thompson noted that the area covered was about the size of the Wembley Arena in his native London, England. There were far fewer people, he noted, thanks to the New Jersey venue's creative seating arrangement. White paint on the grass outlined squares measured six-feet apart, marking where households could place their lawn chairs while maintaining a reasonably safe social distance from other groupings in the audience. Several of the music artists originally booked for the summer series cancelled their tours, yet Woodbridge Arts has featured free concerts up to five nights each week all summer.

photo courtesy of Woodbridge Arts
Drive-in concerts, where passengers are restricted to stay within a designated distance from their car, are increasing throughout the country. Having cars occupy nearly half of the real estate means that most fans will be much further away from the stage than desired. Perhaps this is what led to the controversy over the recent Chainsmokers concert in Southampton, NY, where fan-generated videos showed unmasked members of the audience crowding closely by the stage in spite of the state's coronavirus mandates.

Ghostwood Country Club at Marshall Stack
Eli Bridges at Marshall Stack
Several restaurants are experimenting within state-mandated protocols, having musicians perform in the restaurant to audiences seated at tables outdoors, or in some cases bringing the musicians outdoors along with the seated audience. In New York's Lower East Side, Marshall Stack has featured Strange Majik, Cancion Franklin, Ghostwood Country Club, and Eli Bridges. Anyway Café's roster has included Argentina's gypsy-flamenco guitarist Gabriel Hermida, Contemporary Adults, Kat Minogue, and Kristina Camins. A few blocks away, Nomad similarly hosts various ensembles several nights each week. David's Cafe features Piers Lawrence on Saturdays.
Gabriel Hermida at the Anyway Cafe
Contemporary Adults at the Anyway Cafe
Kat Minogue at the Anyway Cafe
Ondine Appel w. Sebastian Noelle at Nomad
Piers Lawrence at David's Cafe
Washington Square Park draws many different types of entertainers, from musicians to painters to "living statues." Camila Aldet sings while tap dancing. Booming from the area by the fountain you may hear a keyboardist introduce himself as "My name is Lee and I play r&b."
Camila Aldet at Washington Square Park
Lee in Washington Square Park
A living statue performs in Washington Square Park
Acro Yoga in Washington Square Park

Tompkins Square Park perhaps hosts the most performers on weekday evenings and most of the afternoon on weekends, with as many as three groups performing in various areas. These musicians include the perennial Eric Paulin Band, Pinc Louds, Proud Yuma, the East Village Social Distancing All-Stars, the Underground Horns, Magic Forest, and Scott Stenten. This weekend, Chris Flash will stage his annual commemorative Tompkins Square Park Police Riot concert, this year with minimal staging and amplification, featuring Gass Wilde, Rew Starr, and several other local musicians.

Live streams saturate the internet. Many of these invite the viewers into the homes of the performers, with the artists using from one to three cameras. The concert series originating from the Bowery Electric, however, stages the bands on a professional stage and offers the most advanced production, utilizing eight cameras.

Major concert promoters continue struggling to strategize how to resurrect concert productions on a major scale. It may take years for that sort of concert industry to regain its footing. In the meantime, however, alternative staging is reinventing the way live music can be presented.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Music Is Alive in Tompkins Square Park

Weather permitting, the best live music is no longer in the now-shuttered theaters and nightclubs but in public spaces including parks and subway stations. Many of the bands have changeable personnel and erratic performance schedules, but when they do play they summon a magnetic pull that stops passersby on the move. For the most part, audiences are observing a moderation of social distancing.

Tompkins Square Park has emerged among the focal points, attracting busking musicians regularly. Here is your guide to the regular performers in Tompkins Square Park.

The Eric Paulin Band

1. The Eric Paulin Band

Drummer Eric Paulin is a native of New York City who started playing drums in 1964 and jazz in 1974. Usually a quartet but at times as large as a septet, the Eric Paulin Band is the granddaddy of the bands in Tompkins Square Park, celebrating its 10th anniversary there this month. Averaging about five nights per week, the Eric Paulin Band performs its interpretations of jazz standards largely from the 1960s.

Pinc Louds

2. Pinc Louds

With musicians from Puerto Rico, Chile and Israel who bonded in Bushwick, newcomers Pinc Louds draws the biggest crowds. Led by Claudi Love's falsetto croons and kalimba playing, the indie-rock band draws on pop, jazz and Latin music but is unmistakably unique in its alternative performance. Pinc Louds tends to perform mostly on Saturdays from early afternoon until sunset.

Proud Yuma

3. Proud Yuma

Founded by New Yorker Daniel Odria, Proud Yuma is a collective of young musicians that plays salsa. New to Tompkins Square Park, the band is drawing audiences that are tapping their toes and swaying their hips. It will not be long before they get some Caribbean dancing going on. For the past week, some variation of the band has been playing in the park almost nightly.

 East Village Social Distancing All-Stars

4. East Village Social Distancing All-Stars

While not performing as regularly as the previously mentioned bands, the East Village Social Distancing All-Stars will draw attention when it lands in the park. Led by Smidge Malone on trumpet and vocals, with additional musicians on banjo, percussion and various brass instruments depending on the occasion and the musicians' availabilities, the band can get a little bit wild and gritty, punking a Louis Armstrong number, for instance.

Magic Forest

5. Magic Forest

Led by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Richards and flautist Max Isaacson, and augmented by percussionist Ron Bongo and an occasional second guitarist, Magic Forest is not yet drawing crowds. Richards says the band is rehearsing more than performing, yet the whimsical folk-style original songs and covers impress the passing listeners. Magic Forest can be heard most Sundays from about noon to 3 p.m.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Bowery Electric Transforms into a Live Stream Venue


"Hey, guitar guy, move your guitar case away from the monitor, please," nudges Ehud Lazin, the multi-tasker running Hennessey's live stream at the Bowery Electric. It is five minutes before the band performs live to home viewers via the pay-per-view Veeps website. Lazin is joking with the somewhat tense musicians, helping them ease into the moment. The guitarist obediently moves his case out of camera range. "Let's be professional," explains Lazin.

Indeed, this is to be a very professional production. Hennessey will perform a 50-minute set on the venue's small stage, but instead of playing to a roomful of cheering fans, the indie-rock quartet will play to eight cameras and a socially-distanced sheltering-at-home audience. This writer is the only privileged person in the room who is not a member of the production.

At street level, all three doors to the Bowery Electric are locked. There are no signs outside indicating that live music is about to resume under the sidewalk. The downtown venue showcased multiple bands nightly on two floors until the raging COVID-19 pandemic grinded all social gathering to a sudden halt in mid-March. The club owners, including rocker Jesse Malin, temporarily refit the venue's purpose to a new age. Rather than keep the music club completely dormant, the owners began probing into the new live stream concert market. Thus was born the Bowery Electric Presents: Live Premiere Sessions, with Malin asking Lazin to bring his multi-camera set-up and take the helm.

Ehud Lazin

Lazin remains calm and in control. The 45-year-old videographer and photographer has been active for 16 years, filming projects including City Winery's One on One Sessions, Jesse Malin's The Fine Art of Social Distancing live streams, and Joseph Arthur's Come to Where I'm From podcasts. Lazin now rocks back and forth in his chair at a table in the mezzanine, staring at two large screens, his itchy fingers on a digital mixer, ready to cut, reframe and edit in real time everything that the virtual home audience will see. Out of view in an enclosed back room, Mark Lewis is engineering the vocals and instruments so that listeners at home hear a clean, clear, and balanced sound. This production is indeed professional, light years more advanced than the more prevalent DIY live stream from home.

Mark Lewis

The five-second countdown begins and at exactly 7:30 p.m. the musicians, wearing masks over their mouths and noses, begin playing the opening music. After a few bars of intro, lead singer Leah Hennessey, herself a film editor, actress, playwright, and creator of the underground web series Zhe Zhe, steps onto the stage, the glitter in her hair and eye shadow accentuated by the production's bright lights. This is a single release show, celebrating the release of Hennessey's dance punk cover of the Waterboys' "We Will Not Be Lovers." Prior to the performance, Hennessey explained to this writer that her stepfather, the New York Dolls' David Johansen, aka Buster Poindexter, challenged her about the wisdom of releasing a cover song as a single. She defended the choice by responding that her band worked diligently on the song and developed an arrangement that was uniquely theirs.

Hennessey tonight consists of vocalist Leah Hennessey, guitarist Malachy O'Neal, guitarist/synthesizer player Noah Chevan, and synthesizer player E.J. O'Hara, who programs the bass and drum parts. Although all the musicians had backed Hennessey at different times in the past, tonight is the first time they all play together. Hennessey herself is a fireball on stage, a flaming, energetic front person who is magnetic to watch and pleasant to hear. She also proved herself as a prolific writer, especially during this self-isolation period, when she wrote a song each week. Many of the songs selected for this performance were from Hennessey's forthcoming EP, but the evening also saw the debut of new song called "Death Wish."

The Bowery Electric Presents: Live Premiere Sessions launched less than a month ago with Murphy's Law. The venue books one or two bands each week, and each live stream can be replayed on Veeps for about a week. Local band Eck's Men will be next, performing on Monday, July 20. The live stream schedule is posted at

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Renaissance of Live Music in New York City

The Eric Paulin Band
The Eric Paulin Band

The live music industry as we knew it may never be the same.

A few national and international touring artists are scheduling tours in Europe, but except for a handful of artists performing drive-in concerts, no one is scheduling tours within the United States. Venues and musicians cannot cover their costs with concerts capped at proposed capacities of 25 or 50 percent, and besides, would attendees really maintain social distancing? Entertainers cannot travel very far anyway, with various states enforcing quarantines on people entering from other states. The only concert dates booked for 2021 are the ones postponed from 2020, not because they will be happening, but because concert promoters and venues have invested the ticket revenue and are in no hurry to return the purchase price to the fans. With no national or international bands touring, one can only hope to see local talent step forth.

Pinc Louds

Innovation is the mother of necessity, that is the old saying. Live stream and archival performances now saturate the internet, some charging a fee, some encouraging donations to a virtual tip jar. These concerts on your computer screen can draw more viewers than an actual concert, and yet the customer knows that while music in one's living room is convenient, it is ultimately an inferior experience to attending a live show. Venues are holding fundraisers to pay rent and support their staff, but if isolation continues for another year or more how long can fundraisers float these boats?

The East Village Social Distancing All-Stars

Summer has arrived, and spontaneous live concerts are popping up in various New York City locations.

The Underground Horns

In recent weeks, Tompkins Square Park has become a music hub, where revelers enjoy at least one locally-based band almost every evening. The New York City Parks Department is not issuing permits, but nonetheless bands and solo musicians are performing and drawing small audiences. The most consistent of these bands, the Eric Paulin Band, performs jazz almost every night near the Temperance Fountain; on July 1, Paulin celebrated his 10th anniversary of playing in the park. Pinc Louds, an indie-rock quartet from Bushwick, brings its own battery-powered amplifiers and draws the largest crowds, performing up to four sets in the park's former band shell area usually on a Saturday afternoon and evening. Two brass bands, the East Village Social Distancing All-Stars and the Underground Horns, perform in other parts of the park on an irregular schedule when they are not playing outside neighborhood restaurants. Impromptu ensembles also materialize when musicians meet for the first time and jam together. Among the solo performers, jazz guitarist Scott Stenten is the most unusual in that he plays a custom-made double-neck acoustic guitar, for the most part simultaneously playing the upper  guitar with his left hand while playing the lower guitar with his right hand.

Random musicians meet and improvise music

Music is starting to fill the New York air again. Buskers, mostly solo performers, have returned to many parks and subway platforms. Marshall Stack has had Strange Majik, Cancion Franklin and other musicians inside the windows performing to an audience outside on the sidewalk. The 11th Street Community Garden has drawn local musicians including Three of  a Pear for loose jam sessions. For those willing to risk the outdoors, live music is having a small renaissance in New York City.

Scott Stenten

Friday, May 22, 2020

Musicians Disclose Harrowing COVID-19 Experiences

Ivan Neville

Ivan Neville, vocalist and keyboardist in Dumpstaphunk and a descendant of perhaps the most famous family in New Orleans music, is the latest musician to announce that he suffered from a bout with the novel coronavirus. In an interview with on May 20, Neville revealed that he suspects that he contracted COVID-19 when he participated in the all-star Love Rocks NYC charity concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on March 12. Although some safety precautions were enforced, whereby ticket holders were not admitted and attendance was limited to about 200 guests of the performers, Jackson Browne, Paul Shaffer and Larry Campbell were among the musicians who reported falling sick from COVID-19 upon returning home after performing at the concert.

"I woke up one night burning up," said Neville, who is recovering now with his partner and their six-year-old son, all of whom tested positive with the virus. "The screen on the thermometer turned red before the number came up. It was 103. I got a cold facecloth and laid in bed thinking, 'If I die now, I can't even have a funeral.' I was absolutely scared." Neville also was diagnosed with pneumonia, and experienced high fever, low oxygen, and difficulty breathing, so he was placed on oxygen tanks. After two frightening months under a blanket, Neville can now breathe on his own and is performing weekly live steams called Ivan Neville's Piano Sessions. "I truly believe that singing for an hour once a week or so has helped to get my lungs in better shape," he said, "which I really needed."

Broadway star Nick Cordero was hospitalized on March 31 due to the coronavirus and within two days was placed on a ventilator. According to his wife, fitness trainer Amanda Kloots, who posts Cordero's progress daily on social media, Cordero was put into a medically-induced coma to help his breathing; he has since regained consciousness. The actor/singer, who appeared in Broadway's Waitress, Bullets Over Broadway, and Rock of Ages, also went into septic shock, had two "mini strokes," and had a temporary pacemaker placed. Last month, doctors amputated Cordero's right leg after blood thinners used to help with clotting caused other problems, Kloots posted. She also wrote that his lungs have been "severely damaged" by the virus and resemble those of a 50-year smoker. She remains positive and continually solicits prayers for her husband, who remains hospitalized in Los Angeles, California.

Will Carroll, drummer in thrash metal band Death Angel, seemed to have caught COVID-19 while on a concert tour in Europe with Exodus and Testament. Several members of all the bands and their crew and families are recovering now. He felt sick on the flight back to the United States and stayed in bed for five days before being hospitalized. He entered the hospital with a temperature of 102.6 degrees. In the intensive care unit, doctors told their critically-ill patient that his best chance for survival was to be connected to a ventilator, which required him to be chemically paralyzed until doctors deemed him fit enough to come off of it. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Carroll’s heart failed during the first few days because the medication needed to keep him on a ventilator was so taxing on his body. On March 30, Carroll received a standing ovation by his hospital bed just for opening his eyes. "I was in a coma I was for 12 days," Carroll said in a statement. "I know I'm strong and resilient but not that strong. During my coma the doctors told me they had to pump my lungs of all fluid, which was the equivalent of five pounds of beer; they thought I was a goner for sure." Carroll now is recuperating at home.

Christopher Cross
Multi-Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Christopher Cross posted on social media on April 16 that he was suffering from a temporary paralysis as a result of the effects of the Covid-19 virus, leaving him "unable to walk." but that his doctors "have assured me that I will recover." In an April 30 update, Cross recanted, writing that "I was not paralyzed by COVID; the virus induced a very rare syndrome called Guillain-BarrĂ©… a disorder in which the immune system attacks nerve cells in your peripheral nervous system. [It] resulted in a paralysis of my legs, part of my face, and a numbness in my fingertips. It has been a terribly difficult situation, but I've been fortunate to have excellent medical care and I'm slowly making progress. I'm working with a physical therapist to build strength in my muscles and eventually walk." Recent photographs on his social media show a significantly thinner Cross sitting in a wheelchair.

Pop singer P!nk called into The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 8 to speak publicly for the first time about being diagnosed with COVID-19 along with her three-year-old-son. "It was terrifying at one point," P!nk said of watching her son suffer with numerous symptoms. "Then I got sick." She described her symptoms as fatigue, chills, nausea and severe breathing problems that required the use of a nebulizer. P!nk's husband, Carey Hart, said later on The Jason Ellis Show, a satellite radio program, that the infant endured a fever in the 102-103 range for a "solid two, going on three weeks straight." The couple tried to bathing the child "four or five times a day" in attempt to "break his temperature." Carey also revealed that his wife "got it pretty bad." He added, "She has asthma. It totally attacked her lungs and her chest. She was having a hard time breathing." By April, P!nk and the child rebounded and tested negative with COVID-19. She then donated $1 million to relief efforts.

Marianne Faithfulla singer/songwriter/actress best known for her 1964 hit "As Tears Go By," co-written by her then-boyfriend Mick Jagger, this week went home after three weeks of battling the coronavirus in a hospital in London, England. For a time, the singer reportedly struggled to speak. "I want to thank the doctors and nurses who were so good and basically saved my life! Thank you all again for all your care, love, thoughts, prayers and wishes. All my love, Marianne." Faithfull also posted a note to her fans: "I would like to say to all the people who cared for me and thought of me, who sent me love, people I know, people I have never met, thank you for helping me to get better."

Eric Goulden, better known in the music world as Wreckless Eric, was among the first generation of British punk rock with his 1977 song "Whole Wide World." Now living in upstate New York with his wife, singer/songwriter Amy Rigby, Eric wrote on May 20 in his blog "I had a heart attack and spent the weekend before my birthday in intensive care." Eric was already on the recovery side of COVID-19 when he was riding in a car that his wife was driving. "My head had turned into a hot, fuzzy mush, my rib cage was squeezing itself inwards, I had a fairly excruciating pain each side of my chest and my arms had turned into nonsense. It became imperative that we get to the hospital." Eric did not report if the doctors drew a clear connection between his COVID-19 and his heart attack.

Other pop and rock artists continue to recover from the coronavirus, including Sara Bareilles, John Taylor of Duran Duran, David Bryan of Bon JoviOteil Burbridge of Dead & Company and the Aquarium Rescue UnitGary Holt of Slayer and Exodus, Chucky Billy and Steve Di Giorgio of Testament, Natalie Horner of Cascada, Brandon Hoover of Crown the Empire, and Charlotte Lawrence. Opera singer Placido Domingo, gospel singer Sandi Patty, rhythm & blues artist Kenneth Edmonds (a.k.a. Babyface), hip hop artists Mwana FA, DJ Webstar, Scarface, Slim Thug, and YNW Melly, Broadway performers Laura Bell Bundy, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Aaron Tveit, and country singers Sturgill Simpson, Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and Kalie Shorr tested positive for COVID-19. Idris Elba, the Golden Globe-winning actor who is also a musician, tested positive but was asymptomatic. Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien posted on social media that he had been home for days with flu-like symptoms and that he "most probably" had the coronavirus, but chose not to test so that the scarce tests would be reserved for the "vulnerable in our community."

In the past two months, numerous music artists have died from complications caused by COVID-19. The rockers included John Prine, Dave Greenfield of the Stranglers, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Steve Farmer of the Amboy Dukes, Cristina, and New York club circuit regulars Alan Merrill, Sal "Cappi" Capozucca, and Pepo Gonlet. In other music genres, jazz artists Ellis Marsalis Jr., Wallace Roney, Mike Longo, Giuseppi Logan, Lee Konitz, Henry Grimes, and Bucky Pizzarelli, country artists Joe Diffie and Jan Howard, rappers Ty and Fred the Godson, New Orleans bounce music's DJ Black N Mild, African funk-fusion artist Manu Dibango, and Somali music icon Ahmed Ismail Hussein also contracted the illness and died.

All photographs by Everynight Charley Crespo.

Click on the links below to view Everynight Charley Crespo's earlier COVID-19 reports:

More Musicians Infected with COVID-19

Saturday, May 16, 2020

More Musicians Infected with COVID-19

The live entertainment industry collapsed more than 75 days ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet musicians continue succumbing to COVID-19.

Sal Cappi of the Rousers

This past week, Sal "Cappi" Capozucca, drummer of local New York band the Rousers, became COVID's most recent musician casualty. Cappi reportedly contracted the virus in March, was turned away twice from a hospital, and ultimately was admitted on his third attempt. On his second day of hospitalization, he was placed on a ventilator, and passed away on May 13.

John Prine

Other rock musicians around the world also passed in recent weeks due to COVID-19. Dave Greenfield, keyboardist in the Stranglers, contacted the coronavirus while hospitalized for heart problems; he died at age of 71 on May 3. Singer/songwriter John Prine was hospitalized on March 26, intubated two days later, and died at age 73 on April 7; his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, is recuperating from the disease. Steve Farmer, original rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist for the Amboy Dukes, which featured a young Ted Nugent on lead guitar, passed away on April 7 at age 71; Farmer and Nugent co-wrote and recorded the Amboy Dukes' one hit song "Journey To The Center of The Mind" in 1968. New wave pop singer Cristina, born Cristina Monet Palaci, died at age 61 on April 1; she was best known for her 1980s dance-pop songs "Disco Clone" and "Things Fall Apart."

British rapper Ty died on May 7 in London, England; he was 47. Bronx rapper Fred the Godson was hospitalized in early April with the coronavirus; he died on April 23 at age 41.

The coronavirus affected the jazz world recently as well. Giuseppi Logan, a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist who was among the pioneers in free jazz, died on April 17; he was 84. Saxophonist Lee Konitz, who worked with Miles Davis on the 1949 and 1950 sessions for the album Birth of the Cool, died April 15; he was 92. Bassist Henry Grimes, who worked with Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins, died on April 15 at age 84. Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli died on April 1 at age 94.

Ahmed Ismail Hussein, the icon of Somali music, died from the coronavirus on April 8 in London, England, a week before what would have been his 92nd birthday. Performing since the 1950s, he was known as the “King of Oud” for playing the guitarlike Middle Eastern instrument.

In prior weeks, COVID-19 played a role in the deaths of Grammy Award-winning country artists Joe Diffie and Jan Howard, rockers Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Alan Merrill, jazz artists Ellis Marsalis Jr., Wallace Roney, and Mike Longo, African funk-fusion artist Manu Dibango, and New Orleans bounce music's DJ Black N Mild.

Sturgill Simpson

Several well-known musicians revealed their coronavirus status in recent weeks. Christopher Cross, Sturgill Simpson, first wave punk rocker Wreckless Eric, Nick Cordero, John Taylor of Duran Duran, Kenneth Edmonds (a.k.a. Babyface), Will Carroll of thrash metal band Death Angel, Tanzanian rapper Mwana FA, and Natalie Horner of Cascada announced their recovery from COVID-19, sometimes with harrowing stories. Previously, pop and rock artists announcing their struggles with the disease included Jackson Browne, Larry Campbell, Marianne Faithfull, P!nk, Sara Bareilles, Charlotte Lawrence, David Bryan of Bon Jovi, Chucky Billy of Testament, and Brandon Hoover of Crown the Empire. Opera singer Placido Domingo, gospel singer Sandi Patty, hip hop artists DJ Webstar, Scarface, Slim Thug, and YNW Melly, Broadway performers Laura Bell Bundy, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Aaron Tveit, and country singers Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and Kalie Shorr tested positive for COVID-19. Idris Elba, the Golden Globe-winning actor who is also a musician, tested positive but was asymptomatic. Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien posted on social media that he had been home for days with flu-like symptoms and that he "most probably" had the coronavirus, but chose not to test so that the scarce tests would be reserved for the "vulnerable in our community."

All photographs by Everynight Charley Crespo.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Heroic Music Community Supports COVID-19 Relief Efforts

Donation: $1,000,000
In the past month, hundreds of music artists have cancelled tours and/or postponed the release of new music and merchandise. Nevertheless, tens of musicians have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by donating millions in cash and services for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Pink and her three-year-old son displayed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. They sheltered-at-home and two weeks later tested negative. In the aftermath, the Grammy Award-winning pop singer donated $1 million to coronavirus-related relief funds, with $500,000 going to both the Temple University Hospital Fund in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the COVID-19 response fund run by the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles in California. The Temple University donation honored the singer’s mother, who worked in the hospital’s cardiomyopathy and heart transplant center for 18 years. P!nk is originally from Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Rihanna's nonprofit organization, the Clara Lionel Foundation, announced on March 21 that it donated $5 million to various COVID-19 rapid response efforts supporting underserved communities from the U.S. to Malawi. The organization is donating the funds to Direct Relief, Partners In Health, Feeding America, the International Rescue Committee, World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and other organizations. In addition to that $5 million, Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation and Jay-Z's Shawn Carter Foundation teamed to donate a combined $2 million in grants to support undocumented workers, the children of frontline health workers and first responders, and incarcerated, elderly and homeless populations in New York City and Los Angeles. The recipient organization of that donation was not named.

James Taylor
Donation: $1,000,000
James Taylor and his wife Kim donated $1 million to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was born. The contribution to the hospital’s Emergency Response Fund supports the hospital's ongoing efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic. The donation is earmarked in-house testing for COVID-19, establishing a coronavirus hotline for patients, allowing spaces in the hospital to be quickly transformed to accommodate COVID patients, expanding telemedicine capabilities, and purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Bruno Mars, now a Las Vegas headliner, donated $1 million to the MGM Resorts Foundation to support MGM employees impacted economically by the coronavirus.

Dolly Parton announced on April 1 that she pledged a $1 million donation to towards COVID-19 research at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

Billy Joel
Donation: $500,000
Elton John and his Elton John Foundation launched a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help communities that could be impacted catastrophically by the pandemic. John posted on social media that "our new COVID-19 emergency fund will help frontline partners to prepare for, and respond to, the pandemic and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalized communities."

Billy Joel and his wife Alexis announced on March 31 that their foundation, the Joel Foundation, would be making "a series of donations" to aid coronavirus relief efforts. The first contribution was $500,000 to BStrong to buy personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. Of that donation, 75 percent will go to New York and Long Island hospitals, and the remaining 25 percent will go to hospitals in other parts of New York State.

Donation : $350,000
Metallica's charitable foundation, All Within My Hands, announced four grants totaling $350,000 that will be dedicated to organizations assisting with relief efforts during the pandemic. The organization is donating the funds to Crew Nation, Direct Relief, Feeding America, and the United States Bartenders' Guild's National Charity Foundation. In addition, Metallica will continue fundraising through the #MetallicaMondays streaming series; each Monday at 8PM ET, the band will broadcast via social media a full concert from the Metallica video archives. These broadcasts so far have generated another $15,000 to support those impacted by COVID-19.

Shawn Mendes
Donation $175,000
Shawn Mendes and his Shawn Mendes Foundation donated $175,000 to the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada. The SickKids Foundation website reported that the donation "enabled the purchase of needed equipment and supplies for COVID-19 preparedness."

Fall Out Boy
Donation: $100,000
Fall Out Boy announced on April 3 a $100,000 donation to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to unite the funds raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the region.
After bars had to close indefinitely in Nashville, Tennessee, country singer Dierks Bentley announced he was giving the 90 hourly employees of his bar, Whiskey Row Nashville, $1,000 to "help in the short run as our community and country try get a handle on the situation."

Suga of pop group BTS donated between $82,000 and  $83,000 US to Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association, an organization based in his hometown of Daegu, South Korea.

From his living room, Better Than Ezra vocalist/guitarist Kevin Griffin livestreamed a solo acoustic performance on social media to benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. MusiCares is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping musicians. To date, the March 19 performance raised more than $41,000.

Justin Bieber pledged via social media on February 13 to donate 200,000 RNB (approximately $29,000) to the Beijing Chunmiao Charity Foundation, a children's charity in China, to help with the coronavirus relief efforts. Bieber also joined Demi Lovato, Olivia O'Brien, Britney Spears and Britney's younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears in accepting the #Doyourpartchallenge to deliver food and necessities to needy individuals while also supporting local restaurants and businesses.

Assisting locals affected by recent tornadoes or unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kip Moore recently paid in advance a $5,000 tab at the Wild Cow restaurant in East Nashville, Tennessee. Also, Eat Well Nashville announced it was teaming with Kip Moore and the West Nashville Dream Center to provide over 3,000 meals to area children who stopped receiving free daily meals due to school closures.

Singer-songwriter Milck (born Connie K. Lim) is livestreaming a weekly concert and conversation series called Milck Mondays to benefit Feeding America. She has raised $3,160 so far.

Many additional artists contributed amounts that were unspecified.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has given money and three months of health insurance coverage to the employees of Grimey’s New & Preloved Music, a record store in Nashville, Tennessee. She has also given several fans $3,000 stimulus checks.

Cardi B
Cardi B’s coronavirus remix, created by DJ iMarkkeyz, has gone viral, and the rapper and the DJ said they both will donate the revenue from the track, although they did not specify where the funds would go.

Ciara and her husband, quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, donated one million meals to the food insecure via Food Lifeline's Seattle-based food banks.

Miley Cyrus partnered with brand Emi Jay for a "Care Together" campaign to support Feeding America. All proceeds from shoppers purchasing hair ties from the brand and using the code "BrightMinded" will benefit the organization. Cyrus and her musician boyfriend Cody Simpson also delivered 120 tacos on April 4 to healthcare workers at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California.

Florida Georgia Line (Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley) provided financial assistance to employees of FGL House, their temporarily-closed restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.

G-Eazy and his Endless Summer Fund teamed with Larkin Street Youth Services to provide a month's worth of meals to local at-risk youth in San Francisco, California.

Lady Gaga and her cosmetics company, Haus Laboratories, announced on March 16 a plan to donate 20 percent of its online profits from the previous week to the L.A. Regional Food Bank and Food Bank for New York City.

David Longstreth
Selena Gomez announced on social media on March 30 that she donated to the non-profit Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. "They are low on masks and ventilators," she posted, adding "They’ve taken such good care of me so it’s my turn to show my gratitude." In 2017, Gomez had a kidney transplant at the hospital following her lupus diagnosis, and in 2018 she reportedly checked herself into a mental health treatment center at the facility due to a struggle with anxiety and depression.

Lecrae partnered with Love Beyond Walls to assemble portable handwashing stations in Atlanta, Georgia. The sinks were filled with water, loaded on trucks, and distributed to key locations frequented by the homeless in the Atlanta Metro Area.

Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors recorded a cover of John Lennon's "Isolation," with all proceeds through April 3 going toward MusiCares' COVID-19 relief fund for musicians and music industry workers.

John Mayer
Ricky Martin and his nonprofit organization, Project Hope, will purchase face masks, isolation gowns, protective coveralls and gloves. The recipient organization was not named.

John Mayer made a "generous" donation to the non-profit Livingston HealthCare hospital in Livingston, Montana, according to a spokesperson for Livingston HealthCare Foundation, the hospital’s fundraising sector. The donation will be used to purchase ventilators. Mayer lives part time in Park County, Montana.

The National
The National created a fundraiser to benefit 12 concert crew members who became unemployed when the rock band canceled an international tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. The band announced it "will direct all profits from merch sales through our webstore, new Cherry Tree fan club enrollments, and sales from the Cherry Tree members-only store to support our crew members."

British pop star Rita Ora partnered with the United Nations to design merch to benefit the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Donations support the World Health Organization’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley teamed with Belmont University and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to open The Store, a grocery store in Nashville that charges nothing to individuals and families experiencing food insecurities and financial hardship. The Store was scheduled to open in mid-April, but opened in March to respond to the needs of those impacted by recent tornadoes and the COVID-19 pandemic. He announced on March 17 that The Store would deliver to elderly neighbors in Edgehill and Berry Hill.

Justin Timberlake announced on social media on March 15 that he is donating to the Mid-South Food Bank in his native Memphis, Tennessee. The food bank assembles and delivers nonperishable food to families in need.

Kanye West
Kanye West donated to donated to We Women Empowered in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, and to the Dream Center in Los Angeles, California. Both organizations provide meals to the elderly, families and children affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Lil Nas X offered via social media on March 12 to help fans with their bills during the pandemic. "hey guys drop ur cashapp," he posted. "gonna send some of u some money to go get some food then stay inside."

See Everynight Charley Crespo's earlier COVID-19 reports:
COVID-19 Continues to Spread among Musicians
COVID-19 Takes the Lives of Local Musicians.

All photographs by Everynight Charley Crespo.