“Someone gets down, everybody gets together for them,” says Josh Lamar about the local Atlanta music scene as he leans forward in his studio chair, surrounded by vintage amps and modern processors. Lamar is a studio engineer, current member of doom metal act KR’RTH, and former drummer of Mondo Generator, a Queens of the Stone Age side project led by Nick Oliveri. He speaks with a concerned yet hopeful tone on behalf of his friend Pat Stone. “I’ve probably known Pat for less than I’ve known a lot of people but, good lord, the dude is fucking amazing — a true blue soul, irreplaceable, and hard to come by.”
Stone, age 27, is the frontman of the Dirty Magazines and has recently been diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the most virulent form of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. Although the initial prognosis was grim, Stone has been responding well to his treatments. Still, he has a long way to go in his recovery, and already the bills are starting to pile up.
To help ease that financial burden, Lamar, with the help of Amos Rifkin of A. Rippin’ Productions and members of Stone’s band, have assembled an all-star benefit show for this Friday, September 9 at the Earl. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Stone to help him with his impending medical expenses. Rifkin, who is a well-known promoter and drummer for Death of Kings, got to know Stone from watching the Dirty Magazines and playing shows with them. Like many others in the scene, he grew to admire the singer and guitarist for his gut-grinding vocal performances and sleazy, heart-on-sleeve riffs, but soon found there was far more to the man than just musical talent. “[Pat’s] commitment to music and the scene and support of his friends is bar none,” Rifkin says. “So the chance to give back to him is something that a lot of people are going to jump at.”
However, this was not an easy event to book at short notice, and to pull it off required significant contributions from several dedicated parties. After all, most venues require several months in advance to secure a night, much less a Friday night. Thankfully, however, Rifkin was able to reach out to Damon Hare of Triple D’s Productions who regularly books shows at the Earl. He knew it was a big favor to ask, but Hare was more than accommodating. “He did what he needed to do to help us clear a room for this event and that was super, super crucial,” Rifkin says.
Additionally, Bryan Akers of the Atlanta Backline Company stepped up to supply instruments for the night so Rifkin could fit more bands on the bill and do what he does best. Because of this sequence of events, the organizers were able to get artists from different walks of the music scene to perform. Lazer/Wulf, Halmos, and Crawl are all slated to play, as are the Johnny Rebs (who are reuniting for the benefit), the Buzzards of Fuzz, and, of course, the Dirty Magazines.
Back in his studio, Josh Lamar is grinning from ear to ear just thinking about it. “If we’re throwing a big concert for the guy, like hell if he’s not gonna be there! That’s just him; he likes to party socially and there’s a party for him now.”
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is caused by cancer with direct medical costs approaching $100 billion a year. With those kinds of odds and the near certainty of exorbitant debt, it’s easily apparent why Lamar, Rifkin, and others have selflessly donated their time to this benefit. “Medical bills are astronomical, how could you — how could anyone — deal with this without some help?” Lamar asks.
It’s often hard to see the road ahead and life can be so uncertain. However, the pure virtue of our local music scene may really be the silver lining in all of this. Our music community is known for lifting up others, and Rifkin’s parting remarks on the subject sums it up well. “When your brain’s getting scrambled by radiation and you don’t know up from down, if you go see all these people that care about you coming out and working hard to make sure you’re okay, hopefully that gives you the mental edge to keep pushing through it. So despite this being kind of tragic circumstances to be coming together, it’s really gratifying to see how many good people are in the city and in the scene that have really good hearts and want to pitch in, you know? I just hope it makes a difference.”
If you wish to donate to help Pat Stone on his road to recovery, you can do so on his GoFundMe page. Otherwise, get ready for some of the most mouth-watering, tastiest rock and roll in the ATL, and do not hesitate to summon yourself an Uber, ’cause the Earl is about to get down right dirty with love on September 9.
The Pat Stone benefit show will take place Friday, September 9 at the Earl. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. All proceeds will go to Pat Stone to help cover his medical costs.