The Casbah hosts two-night benefit concert for local musician in need
By Bart Mendoza | Downtown News
It is no secret that San Diego has a particularly close-knit music scene, but at no time is that more evident than when a local musician falls on hard times. On March 13 and 14, the Casbah will host a two-day fundraising effort for Gino Maraventano, bassist and former member of numerous local bands, who has been stricken by cancer.
Over the past two decades, Maraventano has been an important part of the area’s music scene, with time spent in the bands King Mother, Skinny and Danse Macabre. He has made a lot of friends along the way.
Dubbed Tributes for Hope, the mini-music festival at the Casbah will feature sets from eight of San Diego’s top tribute bands.
March 13 will feature the Pettybreakers (a Tom Petty cover band). Other bands taking the stage include Socially Distorted (Social Distortion), Wicked Garden (Stone Temple Pilots) and Blasphemous Guitars (Depeche Mode). The next night will feature Ziggy Shuffledust and the Spiders from Mars (David Bowie), The Cured (The Cure), Radiohedz (Radiohead) and Jane’s Diction (Jane’s Addiction).
The event was organized by Maraventano’s close friend and Cured frontman, Michael Twombly. As Maraventano’s situation worsened, Twombly said he was moved to act. “He’s just a really good guy,” Twombly said. “He needed help and I thought, well, I have the ability to help.”
This is a sentiment echoed by Casbah owner, Tim Mays. “Gino [Maraventano] has been a longtime musician in the San Diego scene and many of his bands have played the club over the years,” Mays said. “It’s our hope that these fundraisers will raise some much needed funds to help with his medical bills and living expenses. It’s always nice to be able to help someone out in a time of need. I think it’s an important part of being involved in the local music community,” Mays said.
Getting others involved was a simple as posting an entry on Facebook, Twombly explained. “Within ten minutes we had the full line-up,” Twombly said. “Nobody questioned it. It was more like, ‘How can we do it?’ There were bands that were upset because I didn’t have room for them.”
For Blasphemous Guitars frontman Adam Gimbel, appearing at this benefit is a continuation of their band’s policy on helping others. “I’ve been far too close to too many people affected by cancer,” Gimbel said. “I’ve done my fair share of organizing cancer benefits, including several at the Casbah. I know how hard it is, so I’m pretty willing to perform at charity events when we can.”
Many of these tribute bands headline their own concerts around the world, with the Cured regularly performing to crowds of up to 5,000 people, for example. Later this year the Cure cover band will tour Japan.
Twombly said that benefits like this, where musicians usually play for free and cover their own expenses, can be special in their own right. “For a lot of these bands, it’s more about the rock star experience than it is about the money,” he said.
“Anytime they can get in front of a crowd like this, at a venue like the Casbah, it’s a good thing.”
For his part, Twombly said he is happy to be helping an old friend. “I think everyone should put karma back into their karma cash register,” he said. Twombly downplayed his work in organizing Tributes for Hope.
“I just felt kind of bad that I’m able to put something like this together so easily,” he said, adding, “We could raise a lot of money for Gino and his wife, with not that much effort on my part. It would be almost neglect if I didn’t do something.”
Tickets for Tributes for Hope are $10 in advance and $13 the day of for each show. The Casbah is located at 2501 Kettner Blvd. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit casbahmusic.com or call (619) 232-4355.