Giving Cancer the Finger

Go ahead, try bringing punks, greasers, and hardcore kids together for a cause other than "free beer" — it's nearly impossible. The only thing more challenging is, say, convincing Miami's Middle Finger Mob to stop vacationing and get back on stage. Ah, but when there's a truly important cause, like at Friday's No Sorries, No Surrender Cancer Benefit Show, those differences seem sillier than a rainbow-colored mohawk.

It's been four years since MFB played its last show. But when vocalist Matthias Abs learned recently that his good friend, Sara V., had breast cancer, he decided that helping a friend in need is worth putting up with cantankerous bandmates. "Who knows if we can stand each other long enough to make it through this show?" Abs says. "But one thing we hate more than each other is fucking cancer. And that's why we are doing this."

Though Sara says her treatment's nearly finished, the bills are higher than ever; she was recently dropped from her insurance company. To make things worse, Sara hasn't been able to work much. "I owe over a million dollars, and I need to jump through hoops to get the meds I need," she says. "I'm a hairstylist, and it's hard being around germs and avoiding sickness [because of my impaired immune system], so I seldom work."

But, Sara says, she is hoping to make it out to the show, where a slew of bands will be on-hand to do what they can — and what her old insurance company wouldn't. Hitting the indoor and outdoor stages Friday are Find Them to Fight Them (Abs' other band), Irish Car Bomb, Mehkego N.T., the Hellhounds, Social Fucks, Los Greenkardz, Howitzer, Guajirgo, Hit the Mirror, and Radar O'Reilly. Sure, that's a lot of music, but it's only half of what you get for the cost of admission. Ever heard of a five-dollar tattoo? Lay down five bucks for the raffle and it could be yours, along with piercings, artwork, a spa package (for the ladies), and an autographed copy of Cock Sparrer's Live: Runnin' Riot Across the U.S.A. LP. Plus, the first 60 people in the door get a free MFM CD.

Indeed, Abs confirms that every penny raised at the show goes directly to Sara. It may not reach the million-dollar mark (this isn't exactly a black-tie event), but Sara says she's happy with whatever help she gets. Being in debt is one thing, but the alternative, well... it's just not an option at this point. "I almost died twice," she says, "and I don't intend to let this kill me again." — Jason Budjinski

The No Sorries, No Surrender Cancer Benefit takes place Friday, June 16, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for age 18 and up. Call 305-757-1807, or visit

Rebels Yell

Sitting in a hotel bar, Vinnie Paul Abbott is stunned that not a single TV is tuned to the hockey game. His boys, the Dallas Stars, are taking an ass-whuppin' at the hands of the Avalanche — or so Big Vin tells Outtakes — and he'd like to see it. I have no use for hockey, but he's a die-hard fan. And he's Vinnie-fucking-Paul from Pantera and Damageplan, for chrissakes — one of the most powerful and revered timekeepers of the past two decades. There's little doubt that if he really wanted to watch the game, he could make a few phone calls and within minutes be seated in the owner's box.

But Abbott didn't come here to talk about hockey. He's here to drum up interest for the self-titled album by Rebel Meets Rebel, a one-time collaboration between legendary country outlaw David Allan Coe and three of the Cowboys From Hell (including the late Dimebag Darrell, who was brutally murdered on stage a year and a half ago).

"It wasn't even really a project at first; it was just kind of an idea," Abbott explains. "Dime went out and met [Coe], hung around after the show, waited 20 to 30 minutes in line to get an autograph from him. And then when he got up there, David looked at him and goes, 'Man, look at you with this curly hair, this fucking goatee, and all these tattoos — you gotta be somebody, man.' And Dime goes, 'Yeah, well, I play in this little band from Texas called Pantera, here's one of our DVDs, check it out,' you know. Dude got back in his bus later that night and put in the DVD and then just flipped out. He goes, 'Man, here's this dude that waited 30 minutes in line to get an autograph from me, and he's playing to 20,000 people in Japan on this video. I gotta call this dude back.'

"So he calls Dime back up," Abbott continues, "and says, 'First of all, I want to apologize for not knowing who you were' and all this. He goes, 'Dude, I watched the DVD. I loved it. You guys are the outlaws of heavy metal as I've been to country music my whole life."

The next time Coe came through Dallas, just a short while later, he looked up the brothers Abbott. He parked his bus in front of Dime's house, and they all got drunk together, Abbott says, "like we should've in the first place." — Dave Herrera

War Profiteer

Let's draft Neil Young. Sure, he's a 60-year-old brain-damaged Canadian who made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for "Heart of Gold." But let's ship him off to Fallujah with an M-16 anyway, because he's scamming America.

See, Young just released a new protest CD, Living With War, with a single, "Let's Impeach the President." And soon the dazed Bay Area hippie will launch a 29-stop national "Freedom of Speech '06" tour with Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Charging upward of $250 per seat, he'll preach his clichéd ten-song stinker of a new record to a grinning choir of thousands. His goals? Exchanging ideas, getting the word out, power to the people, and unification. Yeah, right.

No sane person believes music has much of an effect on politics, except for a few mush-brained burnouts and their contemporary wannabes. Even Neil Young fans don't buy the political song and dance — at least, not the ones lined up recently at Tower Records in Concord, California, to score Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young tickets.

By far the most telling response came from the first person in line. That was Joe Henderson, a 49-year-old school custodian who may well be the number-one Young fan. He showed up at 7:30 a.m. Red veins laced his tired eyes, because he'd just pulled a double graveyard at a nearby high school with a busted water main. His overtime pay earmarked for a single $250 ticket, Henderson was seeing his icon in concert for the 21st time. But even in the '60s, Henderson never expected music to change things: "I'm pretty complacent. I always have been."

Young, on the other hand, buys his own malarkey. Living With War includes songs about leaders behind locked doors, even as the singer refuses interviews to the likes of Outtakes. The marquee song, "Let's Impeach the President," is as insipid as it is depressing. Its very title is the political equivalent of yelling "Free Bird!" at a show. It denotes you as a dated, unoriginal, unfunny jackass.

So let's draft Neil Young. Stick him on the wall of the Green Zone with that harmonica in his mouth and bullets whizzing by and roll the cameras. The sight of our sad, confused old Crazy Horseman limping around, yelling "I've been a miner for a heart of gold" could match the pathos of that little girl running from napalm with her clothes burned off her. That's how you rock a vote and make a buck. With televised carnage and a draft. Just ask "Ohio." — David Downs

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Jason Budjinski