Chicago, IL – A venerable who’s who of the Chicago music scene came out on Friday night to help support the man, who in most cases gave them their head start, that has long supported them and helped give them a voice when other music television stations wouldn’t play their videos or music.
Co-hosted by 101.1 FM WKQX and Charity Bomb, Strange 90’s was the benefit put on for local Chicago music icon and legend Jerry Bryant of JBTV, which has been the longest running music television program in America for 35 years and counting. Jerry’s show has always been about showcasing musical talent, and in some cases with bands such as Kill Hannah and Plain White T’s, it was where they got their start. In 2018 Jerry was diagnosed with stage 4 colonrectal cancer and had surgery to remove the tumors from his colon and lungs. While the surgery was successful, he still needs a couple of other surgeries and of course, there are the months-long chemo treatments.
Like many of the artists he showcases on his JBTV program, he had no insurance aside from Medicare, to help cover the costs of his surgeries and his chemotherapy treatments. So, when several of the artists he has helped give their start and support over the years heard the news, they knew that they had to pitch in to help.
They got to Chicago any way they could. Plane, car, and for a couple of local musicians by train. They wanted to be there to support the man who has always been there for them. Performing 90’s cover songs, and some select original material to a sold-out Metro Chicago, helping raise money to subsidize the medical costs. I asked Marty Casey of Lovehammers about being here for this event and his words were echoed throughout the evening by other artists I spoke with, “I wouldn’t want to be any place else tonight.”
While it was difficult at times to keep up with the interchanging artists and musicians who came out to perform either a 3 song set, or just one song, those who were in attendance included Kontrolled Kaos, Marina City, Jimmy Gnecco of Ours, Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s, Matt Walker of Morrissey, Local H members Scott Lucas and Ryan Harding (who traded in his drumkit for a guitar this night), Lizzy Plapinger, one half of MS MR and also known as LPX for her solo work, did an absolute splendid rendition of Fiona Apple’s “Fast As You Can”, Andrew W.K. was also in attendance and performed his hit “Party Hard”, Marty Casey from Lovehammers, Kill Hannah was also back on the Metro stage performing “Kennedy” to the delight of the capacity crowd, Walt Flakus from Stabbing Westward, and of course Naked Raygun rounded out the evening that included an encore of Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes” joined by several other members from various bands on stage. But the biggest ovation of the evening came when the man himself, Jerry Bryant, made a surprise appearance on stage. Looking as good as ever and to the chants of “Jerry!, Jerry!, Jerry!” and “Fuck cancer!”, Jerry spoke about how important it was to keep a very positive mindset, and that he wasn’t going to just lie down and let this beat him.
Along with a 50/50 raffle, there were also items that were donated by various bands and artists for auction, both who were in attendance and those who were unable to make it, included items from Fall Out Boy who donated a 3 day pass to the 2019 Burnbury Music Festival where they will be playing, there was a vintage Naked Raygun t-shirt taken off the back of a fan and auctioned off on the spot that raised $700, a Metro swag bag that also included a VIP table to any show, there were a pair of tickets to a 1975 concert that raised $300, a Smashing Pumpkins autographed poster, there was also a Naked Raygun signed poster that went for $1,100. Then there was the pièce de résistance – an “anatomically correct”, due to a drawing done by Layne Staley, signed wheelchair from Alice in Chains dubbed the “Angry Chair”. A gift to JBTV for being one of the very first shows to play their music.
Overall, the evening was a rousing success. With over $34,000 raised to help mitigate the rising medical costs for a local music icon, exceeding the expectations for the evening. Fuck cancer indeed.
Rock on Jerry – you got this!
Partial Artist and Cover Setlist:
Marina City – No Diggity (Blackstreet)
Marty Casey – Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots)
Jimmy Gnecco – Walking In My Shoes (Depeche Mode)
Lizzy Plapinger – Hand In My Pocket (Alanis Morissette)
Tom Higgenson – Buddy Holly (Weezer)
Local H – Nearly Lost You (Screaming Trees)