Here we go on into September, looking for ways to shed these pandemic blues. If we keep working together to get through this for the good of all, there will soon be some light at the end of the tunnel and then, hopefully, we get out of the whole dang tunnel completely.
For now, let's take a moment to commemorate Micky Shomidie, a Springfield-based, nationally touring musician and promoter who's been down a rough road and back. First, he lost a grown son in a tragic accident on the Sangamon River about two-and-a-half years ago. Then last year Micky was diagnosed with throat cancer and went through lots of radiation and chemo to finally knock back the big C, only to get in a bad car accident that forced him to need neck surgery soon. But if you know him, you know he, "has survived the good, the bad and the ugly," as he explained, just as he has throughout his career in music from age 14 to his upcoming 62nd birthday in September. For now, he's planning on retiring from the biz, with a long and satisfying run behind him of traveling the country playing in bands, putting out records and opening for some big-name acts along the way. As he put it in a text message to me, "I would not change a thing," and he added, "I want to thank all the fans and peers and venue owners who've supported me over the years." As a "parting gift," next spring he's releasing a live recording of one his most popular and enduring bands, Nasty Nasty.
Two other area musicians and longtime participants in the Springfield scene have taken on cancer crap and made it through. Reggie Britton, a creative force, singer-songwriter and drummer for Black Magic Johnson and a longtime Hired Hand with me, plus the original drummer for Oysters Rockefeller, took a year or so to knock off his lymphoma case and just had a good gig last Monday on Labor Day at Trails End in Curran to celebrate his return to live music.
Nat Radwine found out in March 2019 he had a form of leukemia and after a year or more of treatments, he's doing much better and holding off the beast. As co-owner of the early to mid-80s version of Crow's Mill School (with his brother David), he brought all kinds of great live music to play the coolest stage in town. Nat also drums with The Emerald Underground, the area's premier Celtic Fusion band, plus has had a hand in promoting some awesome national music acts in our community over the years.
Another stalwart of the local music scene, entertainment agent and booking master Mikey Austin, is fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer. This Saturday morning, Sept. 12, starting at 1854 Pub in Pawnee at 11, folks will be making a benefit ride for Mike, a Pawnee hometown boy. In the evening at 7, come hang around the Pawnee square, when JukeRox, a cover party band managed by Mikey's Entertainment and featuring his son Eric on drums, adds the finishing touches to Mikey Austin Day in Pawnee. There's a Facebook event spot for more information and friends have started a GoFundMe page to help out with expenses incurred while our guy fights the cancer crud.
I'm sure there are others going through health issues, and as we know, we've already lost too many musicians and related folks, so our best goes out to all. Please check our Live Music listings for all the other live music happening this week