In what has become an all too familiar scenario in our current challenging economic era, with rising health care costs, that so often even basic medical insurance doesn't cover, yet another indie musician has fallen seriously ill and cannot cope with the resulting mounting medical bills. In this instance it is Letha Rodman-Melchior - the partner (both marriage and musical) of Dan Melchior who was diagnosed with cancer and, over the past year, has been both fighting the cancer and struggling to pay for needed treatment and a series of operations. As her husband Dan noted back in November, "Her insurance is running out on Dec 1st... She has already had to have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treatment, and it is only due to the kindness of the music community and other friends that we have been able to keep going." More help is desperately needed. Already there have been benefit concerts held around the country set up to do just this. And this week in San Francisco there is one scheduled for Wednesday (Feb 29th) at the Hemlock on Polk Street with sets from Hank IV, Bill Orcutt, and Musk featuring members of Killer's Kiss and Tractor Sex Fatality.
Many in the indie rock community are already familiar with the North Carolina based Letha and her husband Dan Melchior. Dan is recognized as one of best songwriters in his field; having released records for such labels as Siltbreeze, In the Red, Hangman, S.S., and Daggerman. Many know him from playing with his bands the Broke Review and Das Menace, as well as Billy Childish and Holly Golightly. Meanwhile Letha, who contributes to a lot of Dan's record jacket art/design, is a member of Tretetam and Das Menace, as well as been a former member of Ruby Fall. Since she got diagnosed with cancer she has been unable to work, with Dan becoming her caretaker as well as assuming all cost of living expenses through his indie music income. Bottom line is that these good folks need help,
Yesterday I caught up with Letha, who admirably has maintained a most positive outlook - even updating an upbeat good humored blog titled Letha's Happy Hospital Funtime Blog!, to ask her what positive things she has managed to take from her current situation? "Cancer is a horrible force of nature that is as destructive as it is unpredictable. It's a devastating, never ending story; but as I look on my experience I can see how there was no other way to find out first hand, the love and support that is out there, worldwide!," she replied continuing that "Through cancer, I found out just how amazingly strong my husband is, and how he can be counted on in every way. What a wonderful thing to find out! I've also found that I have many friends who are kind, compassionate people. People who are willing to give me support in any way they can. Cancer has brought me new friends that have a shared experience, or have been touched by cancer in some way. They have outstretched, reaching hands, ready to help guide me through the difficult times (of which there are many.) All in all, having cancer has shown me that my life has been meaningful. My past has been filled with glorious times and great friends; and my future holds caring and support from friends I hadn't realized I had. Thank you everyone!"
And as far as the San Francisco benefit at the Hemlock this Wednesday Letha said from Durham, North Carolina that, "I love music and I'm so thrilled that the Hank IV, Bill Orcutt, and Musk are playing at Hemlock for my benefit. It'll be such an intense show and I'm really sorry I'm going to miss it. I truly feel grateful to be embraced and supported by the music community in San Francisco. I'm an incredibly lucky cancer survivor. Knowing that people care really gives me the strength to keep having a positive attitude! I want to thank everyone involved for their time and devotion in the making of this benefit! Thanks to : Chris Owen, Rob Fletcher, John Laux, and Brendon Leonard of Musk. Bill Orcutt Bob McDonald, Anthony Bedard, Andy Oglesby, Chris Portfolio, and Scott Jones of Hank IV."
Benefit is Wednesday Feb 29th at 9pm (ends at midnight) at the Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 21+ Sliding scale donations. If you cannot attend but would like to donate some financial support (no matter how small) do so here at this PayPal link with everything directly to Letha's medical costs. And to keep up to date on Letha's day to day developments follow her blog Letha's Happy Hospital Funtime Blog!,