When Music Can Help A Life

I’ve always believed in the adages of “what goes around, comes around” and “one good deed deserves another.”

A few weeks ago my friend, Susie Suh, posted on her Facebook page about a fund she was heading up to raise money for a friend who is dealing with Lupus. Her story was particularly moving for me because her friend was a veteran of the music industry.

The music industry can be a cruel beast. We only hear about the stories of musicians who have hit tough times, but there are countless numbers of people who work behind the scenes, whose stories aren’t as publicized, who’ve helped to put together the music of our lives. I was particularly moved because I work in the music industry too, and I’ve known (and know) what it’s like to hit a tough patch.  I felt the need to get this particular story out because I can only imagine if something like this ever happened to me and I needed help, I’d want some of my friends to help me out as well.

Jolie Levine is a veteran of the music industry.  Although I’ve never met her, I definitely know of the projects she’s worked on.  Here’s a short list from her “resume”:

  1. Michael Jackson’s “Bad”
  2. “We Are The World”
  3. Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill”
  4. Kelly Clarkson’s “Thankful”
  5. No Doubt’s “Return of Saturn”

The list goes on.

My friend Susie wrote up a nice little summary of her friend’s struggle:

“My name is Susie Suh and my dear friend Jolie has Lupus. Jolie has been self-employed in the music industry for over 30 years, but for the past few years her health has deteriorated to the point where she has not been able to work. With no health insurance and no work, she has been financially struggling and physically suffering.

Our goal is to raise enough money for Jolie to go to a medical treatment center in June for several months where she can be monitored by doctors and begin to regain her health. In addition, we would also like to raise enough money to cover any additional medical expenses, legal fees, and also cover her basic living expenses for approximately one year while she waits to hear if she is granted Federal Disability by early 2014. All additional funds will be donated to LupusLA.

Jolie and I met when she worked on the first record I professionally recorded. I have always known Jolie to be kind, loving, and thoughtful. I asked Jolie to write a short excerpt about what she has been going through and this is what she wrote:

In 2007 I was diagnosed with Lupus by my HMO Doctor. Lupus is an auto-immune disorder that has many complications and affects everything in your body – physically and mentally. It is also difficult to diagnose because no two patients have the same symptoms as Lupus mimics many other diseases. The Doctor said at the time that I had “Baby Lupus” and so I wasn’t referred to a specialist. But eventually I became so ill that I couldn’t get out of bed.

I am fortunate to have worked as a freelancer in the music industry for over 30 years. However, my poor health prevented me from leaving home most days. I was also a Musician’s Union member from which I received health insurance. However, around 2008 my inability to work ended that benefit, leaving me un-insured.

Chronically sick with Lupus, and lacking income and insurance, I started going to a government sponsored health care clinic. After several months my Lupus was not only confirmed, but it had gotten worse.

Lupus requires the attention of many specialists, including a Rheumatologist, Neurologist, Gastroenterologist, Dermatologist, and more. Although I am very grateful for the care I get from the government system, the heavy workloads and inherent red tape delay the referrals to specialists that I so desperately need.

The passing of time has drained my savings. I received State disability for almost a year, and in 2012 I filed for Federal Disability, but it was denied for lack of sufficient documentation at the time. Working through the health care system, documentation is trickling in, and I am appealing the decision. I won’t get a court date until the end of 2013.

For over 5 years I have been battling this disease without proper care and no way to earn a living. I am truly grateful for any help I receive.

(Lupus has no cure, but can be managed with proper treatment and lifestyle changes.)”

If you feel like doing a good deed for the day, I’d like to encourage you to donate a few dollars.  You can click through HERE.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, and are willing to make a sizable donation, please consider joining the relief effort by purchasing a ticked for a benefit concert this Friday (5/31/13) at Henson Recording Studios. Tickets are $150, but the list of performer is a who’s who of music history: Carnie and Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips, Dave Stewart, Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard, David PAck, Greg Phillinganes, and the list goes on. Tickets are available for purchase HERE.







“Get On The Ball” by No Doubt

I saw No Doubt perform at the Gibson Amphitheater on November 30, 2012 and I though they were awesome (Gwen Stefani, let me be your cabana boy… lol) but what I would give to have seen them perform back when they were starting out … back when they were performing in dive bars and college campuses when they were just getting their careers started … sigh.

Thank the music gods for youtube. At least I can see what they were like back then. Pure musical and performance awesomeness.

In my personal opinion: Older No Doubt Music > Newer No Doubt Music. But I digress….

Here’s a video I found from April 17th, 1993 of one of my older favorite No Doubt songs “Get On The Ball” performed at Cal Poly Pomona.

A Year of Concerts: 2012, 24 Concerts, 1 Favorite


In 2012, I was blessed to have been able to attend 24 concerts.  This being the inaugural post of my blog, I thought it may be a good way to kick things off if I listed each of the concerts in the order that I enjoyed them (starting with the least favorite, and ending with my favorite), with a line or two of my thoughts.

24. Shuggie Otis– The Echoplex- Wed Dec 5

It’s hard to see an artist that you acknowledge as Los Angeles musical royalty without his gift.  By all accounts, a sad musical revelation for me.

23. The 10th Annual Korea Times Music Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sat April 28

While I can appreciate the musicality of some of the K-Pop act thats performed throughout the evening, I’m assuming I didn’t truly appreciate it like the others because I just didn’t understand enough.  I’m a bad Korean-American.

22. Moby– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Jul 14

Moby did two sets:  Live Folk and DJ.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed with either.  While I can appreciate his musical venture, I kind of want to hear the older hits that I grew up with.

21. Boyce Avenue– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Dec 08

By buddy proposed to his girl, on stage at this show.  He picked the perfect show.  Chicks dig Boyce Avenue.

20. Starting 6– Vanguard- Fri Aug 10

Hot, sweaty, party hip-hop.  These guys can rock a joint

19. Orange Tulip Conspiracy– Mr. T’s Bowl- Fri Sep 21

The musicality of this Jazz group is amazing. A must for any jazz aficionado. I hear they are recording a new album, and I can’t wait to her the new material.

18. The Airplane Boys– Roxy Theater- Wed Aug 15

Other level hip-hop.  I also saw them at Coachella.  They killed it at the Roxy like they killed it in the desert.

17. Bizarre Ride Fest– Bizarre Ride Live (Fatlip, Slimkid3, J. Swift, etc.)- The Roxy Theater- Sat Dec 29

The Pharcyde’s debut album “Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde”, to quote my buddy David [@davidshein on twitter] is “just one of the best hip hop albums ever”.  I won’t disagree.  Even when it’s performed by only half of the original group, the music still holds up.

16. The Heavy– El Rey Theatre- Fri Sep 07

In support of the their most recent release, The Glorious Dead, I jammed out at this concert.  Their front man, Kevin Swaby, was born to perform.

15. Jason Mraz and Christina Perri– Tour Is A Four Letter Word- Hollywood Bowl- Fri Oct 05

I enjoyed Jason Mraz at the Hollywood Bowl, but I’ve seen him at The Wiltern (full band) and The Walt Disney Concert Hall (acoustic), and his music is better suited for more intimate venues.

14. Animal Collective, Flying Lotus and Huun Huur Tu– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sept 23

Animal Collective delivered.  Huun Huur Tu entertained.  Flying Lotus blew my mind.

13. Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Aug 04

Such and odd concert pairing, but they both were amazing.  KCRW kicks ass.

12. Girl In A Coma, Pinata Protest and Sara Radle– The Echoplex- Fri Apr 27

Girl In A Coma is one of my favorite “new” bands.  These girls kick ass.  I wanted to see them again this year when they were opening for Grizzly Bear, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  The lead singer, Nina Diaz, has a voice to die for.

11. Playboy Jazz Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jun 17

Ramsey Lewis is a musical savant.  I always pay money to watch genius perform.  Robin Thicke were Preservation Hall Jazz Band were good.  Was a slightly unimpressed with Spectrum Road.

10. Eric Hutchinson– Troubadour- Sat May 19

He was the first artist I truly “represented” back at my first job after passing the bar exam.  I couldn’t  be prouder of how far he’s come.

9. Allen Stone– The Fonda Theatre- Fri Oct 19

If this guys plays his card right, he could playing the Hollywood Bowl in a few years.  The first thought I had after the show ended?  “I’ll be able to tell my kids (when I have them), that I stood front row at an Allen Stone concert at The Fonda”.

8. Ben Harper– Vieux Farka Tour- Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jul 01

When Ben Harper sang a cappella, without a mic, at the front of the Hollywood Bowl stage, he earned by respect. He also played the one song I needed to hear, “Burn One Down”.  Can’t ask for more.

7. Hot Chip, Passion Pit and Omar Souleyman– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sep 9

I went to the show to see Passion Pit. They met and exceeded expectations.  I was expecting more from Hot Chip.  I didn’t get to see Omar Souleyman.

6. Meshell Ndegeocello and James “Blood” Ulmer– Royce Hall- Fri Dec 7

Meshell Ngedeocello performed her interpretations of Nina Simone classics.  Mesmerizing.

5. Peter Gabriel– Back To Front- Hollywood Bowl- Sat Oct 6

I’m not going to lie.  I had a moment.  Flashing back to my younger years when he played “In Your Eyes”, mine started to water.  The power of music.

4. Fiona Apple– The Greek Theatre- Fri Sep 14

She may have been a bit too gaunt for my personal liking, but she can still sing.  A poetess with a voice.  There isn’t that many like her out there in the world.

3. Mint Condition– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Jan 28

Mint Condition has always been underrated.  In my humble opinion? They’re one of the best live, R&B bands out there, period.  Stokley’s voice is perfect for R&B.  I grew up with their music.  They are one of my favorite bands.

2. No Doubt– Gibson Amphitheatre- Fri Nov 30

I’ve always kicked my self in the rear when it comes to No Doubt.  They used to perform locally when I was growing out, but I never went to a show.  I can now cross this off my concert bucket-list.  Oh, by the way, I’m in love with Gwen…

1. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival– Empire Polo Club- Fri Apr 13 through Sun Apr 15

Dr. Dre & Snoop.  Radiohead.  The Black Keys. Bon Iver. Swedish House Mafia.  At The Drive-In.  Florence and the Machine.  Girl Talk.  The Shins.  Mazzy Star.    Andrew Bird.  Need I go on?

I’ve written about most of the shows on my Facebook page, so if you want to know a little more about particulars, free to shoot me a tweet [@methodman13] and I’ll send over some other thoughts.

I hope your 2013 is filled with musical discovery, and that a song stirs your heart always.