"I guess we could all move out of the country," I joked to Clyde Stubblefield while discussing the US's problematic health care system. "Maybe we should move to Canada!" he agreed, with a big, husky laugh.
The funky drummer is no stranger to the struggle of paying for medical care as a musician. His battle with chronic kidney disease has been supported by the Madison community via the Clyde Stubblefield Medical Fund. Now he's pleased to be returning the favor, leading the Benefit for Charlie Brooks at the King Club on Sunday, August 12.
Brooks -- a Madison teacher, mentor, and soul magnate -- suffers from Hepatitis C and was diagnosed on February 13, 2007 with colon cancer. He is now is two months into a 14-month regimen of weekly injections of Peginterferon, which leave him sick for three to four days. Out of work since February, his with struggles with disability insurance has caused considerable financial hardship. This lack of medical insurance is a burden the benefit concert intends to alleviate. "The goal is to raise enough so he can be very well taken care of," says Jody Hannan, Stubblefield's wife.
Stubblefield and Brooks go back 30 years when Brooks was still working with Motown, performing with groups like The Temptations and The Supremes. Stubblefield reminisced on playing shows "back when the bars closed at 12:30 a.m., even 11:45 p.m.!" They'd hang out at house parties with "none of the bad business that goes on nowadays, just a good time." This camaraderie between the two men is underscored by their mutual respect.
The issue of health care costs is a matter Stubblefield is looking to tackle for all Madison-based musicians and artists in their time of need. Stubblefield and Hannan are preparing to hold similar concerts a couple of times a month to donate money to people who do not have insurance. Their hope is to get a least 12 bands to sign on to play three or four group gigs on a rotation at either the King Club or High Noon Saloon. Each venue has been approached and shown interest in the housing such events.
These benefit concerts are projected to begin next summer at the latest.
In the meantime, the public is invited to come out on Sunday to fight the good fight set to a smorgasbord of music by The Clyde Stubblefield Band, Adam Isaac and The People, and DJ Chuck Money along with entertainment by Taxi Dancers, and a "Fabulous Funky Auction." All proceeds will benefit the Charlie Brooks Get-Well Fund.
Brooks says he shall be in attendance and has plans to perform a few songs until he can't physically do it anymore. "Life has been like a roller coaster lately with a lot of downs and few ups," he writes in a email this week.
With luck, the benefit concert on Sunday will be an "up" Brooks keeps ascending.