Published June 04. 2012 3:00PM Updated June 05. 2012 7:42AM
There has always been a comfortable, eternal purity to The Reducers, the New London pub rock quartet once- and forever comprising guitarists/vocalists Peter Detmold and Hugh Birdsall, drummer Tom Trombley and bassist/vocalist Steve Kaika.
Lately, though, the group has faced an unprecedented situation — a hiatus while Kaika fights cancer.
In an effort to help the cause, there will be benefit starting at 6 p.m. Friday, June 15, in New London's Hygienic Art Park, and it's a terrific way to show your support. Not only is Kaika a tremendous, creative, in-the-pocket bassist, he's just one of the funniest and best folks you'll meet. In addition to his illness and tremendous medical expenses, Steve is a self-employed contractor and has missed a lot of work.
Detmold will emcee the benefit, and look for performances from Dogbite — featuring Birdsall — and Ken Atkins and the Honky Tonk Kind — featuring Trombley. Also on the bill are the Rivergods and the Original Sinners. If the evening has a familiar feel, that's as it should be. Because, beyond just the natural camaraderie of the participating musicians, The Reducers acutely define our whole community in a way rarely achieved by any artistic entity.
For starters, they made a decision fairly early on in their 34-year career to eschew the pursuit of major label stardom. Detmold, Trombley, Kaika and Birdsall recognized that theirs was a band based not just on extraordinary musical chemistry but also a gleeful sort of Boys Club of friendship and mutual respect. The also knew that those latter qualities were supremely rare and special — and would not likely survive the madness inherent in the focused Rock Star pursuit of wealth, fame and incessant touring.
Instead, they stayed in New London and, over the course of eight iconic albums and hundreds of hand-selected gigs — including a tour of Japan — lived The Life on their own alchemical terms.
By extended definition, it became accepted that The Reducers are a civic treasure much like L&M Hospital or the Hygienic or, for that matter, Detmold's Dutch Tavern. The Reducers appeal to fans of all musical styles and transcend generations. By now, who knows how many fans have ticked off calendar pages with the band's annual Thanksgiving weekend shows, the farewell-to-summer concerts on the shore at Ocean Beach Park, and providing the soundtrack for the fireworks from their indelible headlining slot during Sailfest … ?
In that fashion, we've all been recipients of The Reducers' prescient decision to Stay Home and Grow Old Together. It's a privilege, then, for us to have the opportunity to offer support for Steve and his wife Charlene on the evening of the 15th. Be there.
There will be tons of merch, a terrific raffle consisting of all sorts of cool donations, and food and drink available for purchase. The suggested donation is $10. All proceeds from the gate, merch and raffle sales, and a portion of the take from the food and drink, will benefit the Kaikas.