Chicago’s music community came together on Friday night to help out one of its own. Jerry Bryant, the proprietor and host of America’s longest running music program, JBTV, was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer and has amassed some hefty medical bills. For 35 years his show has helped to launch countless musical acts, and some of those artists came together to repay the favor.
Our friends at Metro, the city’s venerable North Side club, along with 101WKQX and Charity Bomb played host to “Strange 90’s – A Benefit for Jerry Bryant of JBTV” whose goal was to raise money to help cover some of Bryant’s mounting bills. Local music luminaries such as headliners Naked Raygun, Local H, Kill Hannah, Plain White T’s, Lizzy Plapinger, Ours (with an assist from in-demand session and touring drummer Matt Walker), Madina Lake, former Lovehammers lead singer Marty Casey, and Marina City gave their time and energy to the man who saw, early on, the potential they all possessed.
The format for the evening was loose, with most acts playing mini-sets that consisted mostly of cover versions of songs made famous throughout the 1990s. In addition to the money raised from auctions featuring generously donated items from the community, all of the door proceeds are going directly to the man who was repeatedly greeted with chants of “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!” By evenings end, an estimated $ 34,000 was raised through the generous donations of the music fans in attendance.
But none seemed more appreciative than the artists themselves. They continuously gushed at how both the man and his television show recognized their talents long before others would give them the time of day. It is because of these long-standing bonds anchored in the sheer joy that music brings that Chicago’s rock and roll patrons were able to help pay it forward to the one music fan who championed them when they needed it most.
– Curt Baran
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