Raleigh musicians gather to support Tom Cushman | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Raleigh musicians gather to support Tom Cushman 

A little help from his friends

click to enlarge Tom Cushman, in 6 String Drag
  • Tom Cushman, in 6 String Drag

When 11 local bands gather at Raleigh bar White Collar Crime on Sunday, anyone can walk through the door for free. There's no cover. But don't expect many attendees to shirk the suggested donation of $10: The diverse mix of bands—from the snarling miscreants of Rocket Cottage and the riff lords of The Trousers to the tawdry trash talk of The Infamous Sugar and the elegant tunes of Caitlin Cary—share the bill to support Tom Cushman.

Cushman, who's played bass in Ass, The Chickens and Table since moving to Raleigh from South Carolina with fellow musician Kenny Roby 18 years ago, first went to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia in July. Two weeks later, he was admitted to intensive care and shuffled between WakeMed in Raleigh and various University of North Carolina hospitals. Doctors drained fluid from his lungs, administered multiple CT scans and performed a tracheotomy while Cushman was zonked on a morphine drip. Almost a month later, he was able to move into his sister's house in Raleigh, though he was temporarily re-admitted to the hospital last week. Cushman, 41, still can't return to his job as a bartender at the comedy club Goodnight's. And according to his sister, Kate, the bills for those July visits alone already surpass $70,000. Like 46 million other Americans, this veteran of the first Gulf War doesn't have health insurance. The bills, one imagines, might be as frightening as his bout with pneumonia itself.

"I've known Tom for 15 years. He's always been a part of my Raleigh reality," says Caitlin Cary, who, aside from her time in Tres Chicas and Whiskeytown and her tenure as a solo artist, lends her talents to causes—a sick friend like Alejandro Escovedo, the movement to prohibit dog tethering, Barack Obama's presidential campaign—each year. "He's a champion friend, a music maker, a writer and a mainstay. I figure everyone feels fondly about him, and everyone who knows him would sing a song to entertain and/ or support him in a down time."

While an important goal of the benefit is to raise money for Cushman, Cary realizes that even a packed house won't extricate Cushman from debt. But this kind of event shows the sick that friends and strangers want to help, she hopes: "We know we'll only be a drop in the bucket as far as money goes. Benefits like this are about money, but they're more about a unified show of support."

Mike McDonald, who organized the event, agrees: "[The money] will be enough to make a difference for him in the immediate sense. I think Tom just knowing that the community is thinking about him will be good for him mentally."

For McDonald, the benefit not only demonstrates the love that so many people have for Cushman but also that the support system within the local music community spans generations and styles. After all, no two bands playing sound very much alike. Russell DeSena of Rocket Cottage has been making music in Raleigh since he was a student at N.C State in the early '90s, but this will be only the third show for Sea Legs, a quintet of 20-somethings.

"Tom is my friend and neighbor," says McDonald. "This is something that any one of us in the community would do for a friend. The Raleigh music scene is stepping up."

The Tom Cushman Benefit on Sunday, Sept. 27, at White Collar Crime (319 W. Davie St., Raleigh) starts at 3 p.m. and likely runs until the bar closes at 2 a.m. Rocket Cottage, Man Will Destroy Himself, Gringo, The Trousers, The Infamous Sugar, Richard Bacchus and the Luckiest Girls, Sea Legs, Kenny Roby, The T's, The Bleeding Hearts and Caitlin Cary will perform. The suggested donation is $10. For more information, see the Facebook group "Tom Cushman, Get Well Soon!"

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Hello.
My name is JIMMY LOOF ,i have been living with my wife for some years now,she has been keeping …

by JIMMY looof on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Rusted Root has remained authentic and less worried about being cool. Their ability to stay true should be celebrated! And... …

by sojo18 on Wait, Rusted Root has a legacy? (Music Feature)

I went to Duke in the early 90s, and worked at Brueggers Bagels on 9th St. every morning while I …

by Anne 1 on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

I sincerely hope the statue happens and want there to be a link / address for donations!

by Barefoot Shane on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

A fine story but one correction: Pattie and I were not married in the 70s when we performed with David …

by Jack Le Sueur on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Comments

Hello.
My name is JIMMY LOOF ,i have been living with my wife for some years now,she has been keeping …

by JIMMY looof on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Rusted Root has remained authentic and less worried about being cool. Their ability to stay true should be celebrated! And... …

by sojo18 on Wait, Rusted Root has a legacy? (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation