Whitney Pastorek
September 20, 2006 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Last spring, I was lucky enough to get the chance to ride around in a van for a week with a bunch of smelly boys. Wait. That doesn’t sound good.  Um… Last spring, I got the chance to go on tour with a band called Rogue Wave for a week. (For those of you unfamiliar, we’ll describe them as ”better than the Shins,” and tell you that their music has been on The O.C., and, as all of you know, that makes it awesome.) My trip was for a story that never managed to appear here in EW, and so I feel like I owe them one — and there couldn’t be a better time than now for me to try and make amends.

Pat Spurgeon, Rogue Wave’s drummer and the owner of one of the best hairdos you’ll ever see, needs a kidney. He was only born with one, and the replacement he got when he was a teenager has since conked out.  He needs a new one, but before that can happen, he needs to be able to pay for the surgery. Here’s where you come in.

On Sept. 30, Rogue Wave is having a benefit concertfor Pat in San Francisco, featuring Ben Gibbard, Nada Surf, and JohnVanderslice, and MC’ed by Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket. If you’rein the Bay Area, you should try to go. If you’re not in the Bay Areaand you still want to help, you can go to their website and make adonation. (Also, this is the time when I remind everyone about theimportance of signing up to be an organ donor.)

I know what you’re saying: But they’re a famous rock band! Why dothey need our help? We work at the 7-Eleven, while surely they arerolling in dough! Well, sadly, that’s not how it works. This entiresituation brings up an issue that doesn’t get enough attention:that of record labels not providing health insurance for their bands.Whether it’s getting injured in a tour van accident or just coming upagainst a hardcore health problem, any band or musician that dwellsbelow superstar level can get stuck in a really crappy financial placeif they’re faced with a medical disaster. (Alt-country singer AlejandroEscovedo’s near-death from hepatitis C and ensuing struggle to pay hisbills springs to mind, as does Victoria Williams’ fight against MS andthe Sweet Relief charity it inspired.)

This is a real problem, and I’m not sure what the solution is… butif you can toss Pat 20 bucks or go to the show and let him demonstratehis talent and huge heart in person, I strongly encourage you to do so.As a reward, here are a couple mp3s. In the meantime, consider mysoapbox retired.

Rogue Wave – “Publish My Love”
Rogue Wave – “Every Moment”

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