The San Francisco Bay Area is notorious for producing musicians of not only incredible talent and popularity, but also with a notable level of fan identification and friendly sense of community.
Musician Tim Bluhm, most notably of The Mother Hips fame, has become somewhat of a household name among the independent rock scene since a strong beginning in the early 1990s. Their unique sound begged the invention of the “California soul” label, truly representing all the Golden State has to offer — good or bad.
Unfortunately, the bad often comes out of nowhere, hard and fast. For Bluhm, it was a freak speed flying accident in late 2015 that left him with multiple injuries. Bluhm has completed five surgeries and is in massive medical debt, with a sixth surgery scheduled on April 26. In addition to a GoFundMe campaign that went live in February without Bluhm’s knowledge (thanks to photographer Jay Blakesberg), many friends, fans, and peers are feeling the communal tug to get involved and have decided to put their talents together. In just over a month, Blakesberg’s fundraising page has raised over $46,000, above and beyond the initial goal of $35,000. Although there is much relief, the debt is far from eradicated.
Local artist Chad Galactic first met Bluhm close to two years ago at High Sierra Music Festival while working with fellow California rockers Animal Liberation Orchestra. Having spent lots of time working with Bluhm over the last two years, Galactic has a humble approach to lending both hands.
“He just has so many bills,” said Galactic during a phone interview. “Jay Blakesberg’s thing got him a ton of money — I don’t know exactly how much, it’s none of my business — and that was great, but it only really covered him up to now. He still has at least one surgery coming up, and he’s got a lot of stuff happening still.”
Galactic says he’s trying to lend his talents to help Bluhm pay for his medical expenses. “I’ve been trying to get Tim a T-shirt for a while now, I know all the designers and screen printers I need to get it done,” said Galactic. “Like ‘Hey Tim, you have CDs, let’s get a Tim Bluhm shirt’ even before the fundraiser came about. This is a design that I’ve had and wanted to do for a while now and then I decided to throw a date on it and call it a benefit shirt.”
The shirt is based off a Tim Bluhm solo song, called “Squeaky Wheel,” one of Galactic’s personal favorites. “There’s a line that talks about how ‘there’s a little cure I use on every tour and it fits right in the pocket of my coat,’” he continued. “So that’s why there’s the bottle in there. I’ve ran the design by Tim of course. I’ve had other people asking me if they can make shirts, but I can’t OK that. I’d rather they take the money they were going to use and just donate it.”
Because of the customized date coinciding with the official Terrapin Nation Benefit For Tim Bluhm at Terrapin Crossroads, there is a limited window for ordering the shirts – Galactic will continue taking orders through his website here through April 17, hoping to have the orders printed and filled for pick up at the upcoming benefit, April 22.
Bluhm will be performing alongside Phil Lesh, Greg Loiacono, John Hofer, Scott Law, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, and several other bands and guests. There will also be an auction for autographed memorabilia throughout the evening.
Terrapin Nation Benefit For Tim Bluhm
April 22, 2016
Doors @ 7pm, $40 (16+)