· We were sad to learn of the passing of a local musician this past weekend. Bruce Willis, drummer for the local cover band Saving Stimpy (who play current Rock hits at clubs all over the area), was found dead on Feb. 18 in a wooded area in Independence, Ky. Willis and his band had just played a show at Woodies Tavern in Florence that Saturday; he was last seen later that night. As of press time, the cause of death was unknown. Fans have been leaving messages of condolence on the band's MySpace page (myspace.com/savingstimpy) since Sunday's news reports. At Saving Stimpy's official site, the band left their own message: "Thanks to all of our fans, friends, and family for their kind words, thoughts and prayers. We have lost not just a drummer ... but our brother. He will forever remain in our hearts. Bruce ... we love you and thank you for being a huge part of this band's success. You will never be forgotten." Our deepest sympathies go out to Willis' family, friends, fans and bandmates.
· This weekend, Northern Kentucky-based Indie label Tiberius Records (home to bands like thistle, The Light Wires, Cari Clara and others) joins forces with Columbus, Ohio-based imprint Sunken Treasure Records (which has released albums by regional faves Miranda Sound and Eric Metronome) for a pair of benefit shows, one in Columbus and one in Cincy. The concerts are in honor of Callum Robbins, the young son of J. Robbins and Janet Morgan of the D.C.-area band Channels. (Robbins is probably best known as the leader of the influential Indie band, Jawbox.) Before Cal was even 1, his parents took him to the pediatrician and learned that he was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a fatal disease that affects motor skills (most kids with Cal's type of SMA don't live to their second birthday). Not only is the situation beyond tragic emotionally, but financially it has also been devastating for the family, who make their money playing and recording music. The couple has been taking donations through their record label's Web site (desotorecords.com), and they remain hopeful that Cal can live on comfortably thanks to alternative therapies (unfortunately, ones not covered by insurance). Like several other musicians around the country who have hosted benefit shows, the folks behind Tiberius and Sunken Treasure wanted to lend a hand (in part due to Robbins' influence on their music). At J. and Janet's request, they will donate all of the money raised at this weekend's shows to the organization Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (fsma.org). The Columbus show is Friday night at Oldfield's On High and features Miranda Sound, The Celebrity Pilots, Moving Parts and thistle. Saturday's Cincy show takes place at downtown's Poison Room, which will host two floors of music. Downstairs, thistle, The Strongest Proof, Alone at 3am and Miranda Sound perform; upstairs, you can catch Banderas, The Pretty Petty Thieves and Coltrane Motion.
· This Sunday at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley, local music-boosting organization C.U.L.A.N. Inc. (headed up by bluesman, Mr. Keith Little) presents its annual "Historic Rhythm, Blues & Jazz Masters Summit," which includes the org's "Flowers Award Ceremony," paying tribute to area musicians. Among those being honored this year are Sweet Alice Hoskins (the local Blues diva is getting a Lifetime Achievement Award) and Wilbert Longmire (the guitarist gets the Humanitarian Award), among several other musicians. Performing at the event are Hoskins, Little, Six Strings Down, The Groove Society, Dick and the Roadmasters, The Prodigal Sons and The Brawny Lads. Music runs from 5-11 p.m.; admission is $15. (culan.org)
· Three of Cincinnati's best bands perform Saturday at the Southgate House to help clean up that often-nasty little stream that runs along our riverfront (among other bodies of water in Ohio). The Hiders, The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and The Turnbull ACs will be on hand for the benefit for Rivers Unlimited, which works to clean and improve the 61,000 miles worth of rivers and streams in Ohio. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 8:30 p.m.
· Excellent Indie band Lonely the Seabird want you to hear their music. And now they're making it as easy as possible for you to do just that. Following their debut release (put out last year in the old-fashioned CD format), the group has made their new EP, 50 Years, available for free download at their Web site (go to lonelytheseabird.net/50yrs.aspx for your copy). If you dig the six tracks you hear, head over to Newport Friday night, as the band joins the Blue Rock Boys for a show at the York Street Café. And tell 'em thanks for the free gift!
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@(at)citybeat.com