For decades now, Karl Hendricks has been known for singing frankly about love and loss, without holding anything back. But when the indie rocker's guitar is put away and the roar of the power chords fades, Hendricks comes across as a rather private, mild-mannered shopkeeper, the owner of Bloomfield's Sound Cat Records. So when Hendricks was diagnosed with oral cancer earlier this year, it was not something that was going to be publicized in the store.
Sound Cat remains open for business, but Hendricks continues to recover at home. He racked up medical bills due to the illness, and several friends decided to help. Jon Solomon, who has released albums by the Karl Hendricks Trio on his Comedy Minus One label, launched a donation page on the website GiveForward.com. At press time, the page had raised just over $34,000 — 85 percent of its $40,000 goal. (It can be found at tinyurl.com/helpkarlh and will be active through Oct. 2.)
Dan Allen, a longtime friend and Pittsburgh music-scene enthusiast, has helped organize a local benefit concert Fri., Aug. 22, at Brillobox. Performers include national acts Tim Midyett and Andy Cohen (of Comedy Mine One labelmates Bottomless Pit) and Dama/Libra (which includes Joel R.L. Phelps), along with locals The Gotobeds, Carousel and Line Forms. The latter two bands feature Karl Hendricks Trio members Jake Leger and Corey Layman, respectively.
And on Sat., Sept. 27, Sound Cat employees Jason Baldinger and "Red Bob" Junkunz will present a literary benefit at ModernFormations at which Hendricks' short-story chapbook Stan Getz Isn't Coming Back will be available. Musical benefits are also being held in Columbus (Aug. 23) and Boston (Oct. 3). Details for all can be found on the GiveForward page.
Allen, who has been friends with Hendricks for more than 20 years, is encouraged by the support. "It's just amazing to see the amount of folks who have turned out. A lot of people care about the guy," he says. "And I'm incredibly grateful to everyone taking part in the Brillobox show. Everybody involved with it got back to me within a week."