“We love Joey! We love Joey! We love Joey!”

That was the chant for a friend and the prevailing subtext of the benefit for Harrison and his family during the Cancer Sucks: Benefit for Joey Harrison.

What started as a chant quickly grew into a roar as Tribe Zion frontman Arlon Wise, led the crowd into a soul-singing finish and parted the stage, giving Harrison his moment in the sunshine of spotlights and love during the last song of their set. Armed with a bearded, boyish grin and his bass, Harrison played away with his right leg cocked-cool above his foot and bass rig.

In May of this year, the father, husband, artist and friend to countless musicians in our area was diagnosed with stage four terminal bone and lung cancer. Even though it would be impossible to equal the love and time that Harrison has given to the local arts community, several friends decided to do their best and the Cancer Sucks: Benefit for Joey Harrison was created.

Spearheaded by Betsy Badwater and several artists who have shared the stage with the musician whose grin and heart of gold instantly take over you, the benefit was created as a fundraiser to help Harrison with the expenses of treatment and to assist his family, Lavinia (wife of 19 years) and children Grace, Jacob, and Joshua during this time.

Greeted by a Cancer Sucks display, donation jar and a table full of buttons for the event (including a button designed by the multi-talented Harrison) I walked through the entrance of Vinyl Music Hall with ears jingling to the sounds of the Jeff Glickman Trio (Jeff Glickman, Ashley Pennewill and Aaron Clark) and eyes dancing to the display of artwork collected inside the venue. As part of an auction that included jewelry, paintings, prints and more, the visual exhibit added another beautiful element to the atmosphere of the evening.

Following the Jeff Glickman Trio, Betsy Badwater & The Hillbilly Chrome took over the Vinyl Music Hall stage. Having performed with Harrison on bass at various venues throughout the last year alone, the duo of Lang Hollowman and Betsy Badwater used their performance to show their love and admiration for their friend and fellow musician.

Closing out the evening were Tribe Zion and their party-vibe blend of hip-hop reggae and all things high-energy. With Wise flowing-full of enthusiasm, the vocalist bounced around the stage and even took the show to the crowd as he jumped off-stage to show his respect for all in attendance. Joining Wise and the Tribe Zion crew (Chad Roose (guitar), Joey Harrison (bass), Chris Brooks (bass), Jeremy King Cole (drums), Justin Temple (percussion), Brian Vogel (trumpet), and Michael Kinser (saxophone) were an all-star lineup of musicians including Jeff Glickman and Tee “Precise” Williams of Mad Love who helped put an exclamation point finish to the evening.

Sponsors of the event included Al Graham Photography, Blues Angel Music, Bob Burt Guitar Pedals, Black Sparrow Tattoo Studio, Custom Pins, Dirty South Glass, Innerlight Surf & Skate, Jay’s Gun Shop, Jef Bond Photographics, Paddy O’Leary’s Irish Pub

-Michael L. Smith

Additional photo galleries from the Cancer Sucks: Benefit for Joey Harrison

PNJ photographer Kira Lynn Ramos’ photo gallery
Al Graham photography
Prolific Memorie’s photo gallery
Ian Lemasters photo gallery