Tributes to a friend
Whenever a friend or colleague suddenly needs some assistance, folks usually rack their brains to figure out what they can do to help. Musicians here in the Triangle don’t pause for a second, they know what they can do.

So, when word went out that Randy Ward –veteran guitarist for Metal Flake Mother and Family Dollar Pharaohs, and most recently creator of homemade analog soundscapes as Protean Spook –was in need, the response was swift.

Ward, who fell seriously ill with cancer around Christmas, had been unable to work and fend off daily expenses, so friends put together a series of shows to help with the bills starting last Saturday at Local 506 , with Bringerer, Lud, and Fan Modine.

While there was a lot of hope for a recovery then, Randy’s health declined over the weekend and friends and loved ones kept up a steady vigil at his bedside. He died Tuesday evening at home.

Organizers of the benefits plan to go ahead with the shows, in part to help Randy’s family with expenses, but mostly as a tribute to their friend.

Coming up are two in a row at Go! Studios. On Friday, Feb. 6 it’s the The Ghost of Rock, Transportation and
The Spinns and on Saturday, Feb. 7, Work Clothes,
Cub Country and The Comas . Both of these shows start around 10 p.m. The Neil Diamond All-Stars show with the David Spencer Band at the Cat’s Cradle on Valentine’s Day will also help out, donating all proceeds from their take at the door. And at the end of the month, on Friday, Feb. 27 at The Cave, look for Shark Quest and Cutter. Down the road at Nightlight, on Saturday, Feb. 28, Recess, the local experimental night, will be a “Jam 4 Randy,” including Crowmeat Bob Pence and many others.

That the benefits have now become testaments to his memory only underlines their importance for anyone who has been touched by the man and his music.

Please come.

Get with the program: local radio
WXYC just added two new programs to its schedule, focusing on town and gown issues and alternative media sources. UNC student body president Matt Tepper hosts a weekly show from 5-6 p.m. on Sunday evenings, featuring guests from the university community, discussing topics of importance to Tar Heels (other than The Duke Game).

The North Carolina Independent Media Center, part of alternative news outfit Indymedia follows with a bi-weekly show from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings. The show covers issues not being given adequate coverage by other media outlets, with commentary from community members and UNC students.

Yep, rocking’
More and more local releases flowing out of the area these days. Chapel Hill label

Animal Thug Records just released rock/hip-hop fusion group Plan B’s debut, Chlorine Dreams on Feb. 3.

Graham-based Yep Roc also has a slew of local releases coming. Durham’s The Butchies, who recently signed with the Graham-based label, plan an April release of their new effort Make Yr Life.

Also out of the Yep Roc stable is a new one from Southern Culture on the Skids, Mojo Box. And from new signee Dexter Romweber, a new full length entitled Blues That Define My Soul, due in May.

In other news, there’s a new Durham transplant, via Ames, Iowa; one John Darnielle, aka The Mountain Goats . He has a new release on 4AD Records due out, entitled We Shall All Be Healed. Look for Darnielle at Go! Studios on Feb. 16 with The Rosebuds and Cub Country. EndBlock