When Cody Beebe & The Crooks embarked on their first European tour, they never thought that their first task upon touchdown in Zurich would be to try to recover lost gear. They were told all of their packages had been scanned at take off; however, when they landed, two very important items were missing. Guitarist Skyler Mehal had packed his Fender ’52 reissue Telecaster and a Bigsby inside of a custom case, and he had also brought along his Nord Electo 4 inside its own case for keyboardist, Aaron Meyers.. Both were gone. As panic kicked in, all members of the band took quick action and made numerous calls, notified the airline, and quickly put plans into action so that they could continue the tour. They had less than two days before their first show in Munich. Without missing one show, Beebe loaned Mehal his second guitar (he rotates between them on stage for multiple reasons) for their first dates, and they secured a loaner keyboard for Meyers. They immediately contacted their insurance company and filed claims with the airline. They had contacted Gibson as well, and once they were into their Spain dates, they received a loaner guitar for Mehal and a rental keyboard to use for the remainder of the month-long tour.
Meanwhile, back in Seattle, Mehal’s good friend, Nick Foster was already putting his own plans into action by making calls to local venues and friends. With a “What can I do to help?” attitude, he knew his friends could have a great tour if they weren’t worried about how they were going to recoup their losses once they returned home. How was he going to help make that happen? Why, put on a benefit show, of course! Yes, insurance could reimburse them for the lost gear, but the band also now had hundreds of dollars in international calls, and rental fees. Not to mention the loss of irreplaceable items, and personal items that were packed inside the cases. The guitar case Mehal used was a custom built case, as was his pedal board, which could not be replaced with a standard dollar value.
Foster’s phone calls to musicians all ended on a high note – with musicians completely in favor of a benefit show. They secured a great room rate at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard on a Sunday night, and received a fully donated backline from American Music for the event.
Mehal was humbled by the outpouring of support. At first, he declined the event because he felt that insurance and airline reimbursements would cover most of the costs, and that the remaining amount was minimal. He did still need at least a thousand dollars, although there still was no way to pay for any of the custom gear that was lost. Foster proposed that once his goal was met, that they donate any monies raised over that amount to the Melodic Caring Project. Everyone involved in the event unanimously was in favor of this addition to the event, and were all on board to perform.
Last Sunday, seventeen bands performed (some on stage multiple times, performing as back up musicians for different bands). Mehal performed nearly half the show (with his replacement guitar, an Ash American Standard Telecaster he found at The Guitar Store). Mehal has only been performing in the Seattle area for three years, but with the amount of support on hand for the evening, it’s an indication that he has made his mark, and a lot of musical friendships in such a short period of time. In all, the event went off without a hitch. Thanks to the donated backline, the transition between bands was short, and each musician left the stage after their set to rousing applause. Mehal himself ended the show, playing two original songs, and a crowd-demanded encore. Seventeen bands, in roughly four hours, graced the stage in Ballard, raising enough money for Mehal to pay his international phone bills, and to purchase his remaining replacement gear (pedals, strings etc). There was also a few hundred dollars over what was needed, which will go to support the work of the Melodic Caring Project.
Skyler Mehal/Melodic Caring Benefit Line-Up:
TJ Grant (if BEARS were BEES)
David Wellnitz (Heels To The Hardwood)
Fake Street Drive
Bradley & Tayler (Vaudeville Etiquette)
Nick Foster Band