Ken Janssen has been active figure in the Cleveland music scene for many years. He’s been in local bands The Hot Rails and The It*Men and he also spent some time booking and bartending at the Beachland Ballroom. Ken, if you don’t know him, is the type of dude who’ll treat you like an old friend the first time you meet him. That’s how he was with me, and believe you me, I’m nothing special.
For being one of the good guys in the scene, Janssen has gotten himself a really tough deal. Late last year, he was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And for those that don’t know, Lou Gehrig’s disease is one tough mother of a disease, attacking the nerve cells of the brain and spinal column that control muscle movement. Think for a moment what it means to have a disease which attacks muscular control. Think about all the daily tasks which would be complicated. Like I said, it’s a mother of a disease.
This Saturday night, on Janssen’s 40th birthday, a benefit show will be hosted at the Beachland Ballroom. Admission is only $10. That’s the suggested admission. No one’s stopping you from paying more to see Hot Rails (Midnight), The It*Men (10:30), Cobra Verde (9:30), New Lou Reeds (8:45), and Charles Hill Jr. (8:00). Additionally, copies of The It*Men’s Greatest Its will be on sale. There’s your second opportunity to help. The crowd-funded campaign for the vinyl release has already raised over $21K and all additional sales from Saturday night will also go to the Janssen fund. Lastly, if you’re thirsty, Heineken is donating $1 per Heineken sold.
Look, just because Janssen has the mother of diseases doesn’t mean he has to have a hell of a time. We can all do our part by doing what we do every other Saturday night — Hang out, booze, and rock out.