Ten years ago a small group of people came together to raise money to fight lymphoma in honor of irreplaceable punk rock front man Joey Ramone. Now, a decade later, Rock to Cure Cancer is going strong, having grown from a single annual event to a series of shows that are scheduled throughout the year. Past performances have included many amazing bands including CJ Ramone, Eddy Weir (Buddy Holly’s nephew), and my good friends Some Kind of Nightmare. Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled because if this event rolls into town you need to get your ass to the venue! Not only will you get to hear some kick ass music, you’ll be helping a great cause.
Interview by Jim Dodge
Mass Movement: When did you first decide to organize Rock to Cure Cancer?
Marc Hendrix: Rock to Cure Cancer, in Honor of Joey Ramone was organized in 2009 by Kimmi Ramone/CEO. When I first started back in the summer of 2009, I was a Promotions Officer but then became Events Manager in 2014.
MM: What sets RtCC apart from other cancer research charities?
Marc: All proceeds go to the Lymphoma Research Foundation in honor of Joey. We have our Donor Drive, DKMS with each show as well so we promote and encourage those who can, to get on the registry. So, there’s various hoops we must jump through before we get each show in motion. Sometimes this is more time consuming that we want it to be but it is what it is. It all works out.
MM: Did you ever think you would be able to keep it going for a decade?
Marc: We talk about this at times, and our CEO didn’t think it would become what it is today. I have faith. We get what we put in, so yes, I feel another decade is in the making.
MM: What are the biggest difficulties you come across when organizing these events?
Marc: I wouldn’t say we have had any real big difficulties. Everyone involved appears to be super cool that is involved with us in one form or another. We did have one show where we had to get another Venue last minute due to difficulties beyond our control & one show where we were told we were “Too Loud” (if you can believe that!!!! We were rocking for the Cure, We HAD to play loud) and we had to turn our sound down, or they were gonna shut us down, but other than this, we’ve been really fortunate.
MM: Were you ever able to meet Joey Ramone?
Marc: Joey was a very close and dear friend to one of our staff who played a major role in getting this organization up and running. Today, we are friends with the remainder of the Ramones.
MM: How much have you been able to raise so far?
Marc: Over $15,000 (Just a drop in the bucket, I know) and were not done with 2010 yet!!!!
MM: What are some of the bands/artists that have performed at a RtCC event?
Marc: First of all, I would like to say that we have had some of the absolute best performers over the years, that I have been fortunate to know. CJ Ramone headlined in 2013, we have had Jiro Okabe, Matt Morgan has performed with us since 2015 at our Texas shows, he is on the bill for our annual show there this summer and is one of our only performers that play for us annually. I consider myself fortunate to have performed with him three of those years. Circle of Psychos is yet another band that has performed for us since debuting in South Dakota, however, when one show was cancelled due to inclement weather, they performed our Phoenix, AZ show later that year. So, they’re three years in the making. I am currently performing with them. Some Kind of Nightmare, Addict3d, A Bird in A Hand (another band that has performed every year in South Dakota, Chris Breezy is my show assistant as well as my band mate ), Ron Keel, We Might Be Wasted, Krovak (who consists of my Show Assistant Leigh Dekay, who also performs solo at our shows), Twisted Nature, Mind Plays, Paco Lipps (who have played various shows for our annual tours throughout the U.S.),The Wild Banshees, Snake Doctor, Eddy Weir (another great performer, who I was fortunate to have performed with in 2018, who happens to be one of my heroes /Buddy Holly’s nephew), SKAR, Blake Rave (Who I have joined forces with to debut our Omaha show this summer), The Rock House Band, Duke City Riots, Mojave Sol, Smokin’ Mary’s Leaves, Shuffling Madness, Scott Nobody (an old bandmate of mine for 30 plus years now) has performed many of the Shows as well, doing solo performances or with our band…there’s so many bands, you all know who you are!!!
MM: Who are some of the artists you would love to have perform at an upcoming event?
Marc: We’re working on getting CJ to perform again and we really would love to have any of the surviving Ramones perform after all, it’s in Joey’s Honor. Understanding, they are touring and lead busy lives, often times schedules conflict.
MM: Is there any chance you will be able to expand into an international organization?
Marc: We may be closer than we think on this one…Shhh
MM: From my understanding, donating bone marrow is a painful process. How successful have you been convincing people to donate?
Marc: I think people fear the unknown. I can say we are doing well in this area, but then the more who get on the registry, the better of course. We use to do the swabbing at our shows, now with today’s technology, it’s all done online when you register. Makes things a little easier for all involved.
MM: What is the most important thing for people to remember when donating bone marrow?
Marc: The importance of possibly saving a life. Until you are faced with this, you don’t realize how important one more year of being here truly is!!!
MM: What is the one milestone you are working toward?
Marc: I don’t view things like others, so milestones, I guess I don’t think of. We aren’t guaranteed another year as I have witnessed with the loss of my own when my brother Mike, passed away in July of 2009 from Esophageal cancer, So I live every day and year to the fullest. I prep and plan our annual shows, with thoughts and plans for shows down the road. And then I/we do what we can to make things work. If we can save a life along our pathway, then we are doing what matters.