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Rockers unite for friend in need

Show benefits drummer Symmonds in his cancer fight

Glenn Symmonds, 58, grew up in Spokane. He loved music and was a member of the West Valley High School band and the Percussion-Nauts, a local drum corps.

“I marched in the Lilac Parade every year,” he said.

After high school, he moved to Berkeley, Calif., and played with a few bands before meeting Eddie Money. He’s been playing with him off and on for 38 years.

The 1973 graduate should have been returning to his hometown for his 40th class reunion this summer, but instead, he’ll return for a performance that will help pay for cancer treatments. He was diagnosed with high-grade bladder cancer in April.

“That means it’s moving out of the bladder into the muscle area,” he said. “If it does hit that muscle, they say the only option is to remove the bladder. That scares the hell out of me.”

While he’s been steadily employed as a musician, Symmonds doesn’t have health insurance and is facing huge medical bills.

What he does have are friends and fans who are reaching out, donating what they can.

“I’ve got a wonderful network of friends who are stretching their arms out full of love to me. I am blown away by the support that I’ve been given,” Symmonds said.

One of those friends is Eddie Money, the man behind the hits “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Shakin’ ” and “Baby Hold On.”

“We just gotta get out there and see what we can do about kicking this cancer in the ass for this poor boy,” Money said. “It would be devastating to turn around and not see him back there on the cans, you know.”

Money will be giving two performances Sunday at the Roadhouse, 20 N. Raymond Road in Spokane Valley, along with local acts Sammy Eubanks, The Nerve and Skiveez.

Peter Rivera of Rare Earth will also perform. All the musicians are donating their time; the proceeds will benefit Symmonds.

“It’s really just a beautiful brotherhood of musicians and also a lot of other cancer survivors,” Symmonds said. He said many musicians he knows don’t have medical insurance and often turn to one another for help when something happens.

“This has gotten bigger than me and bigger than anything I can imagine,” Symmonds said of the help he’s been receiving.

Symmonds said he’s staying positive and keeping busy with work while he undergoes treatment. He said he performs mostly on weekends, which keeps his mind off being sick.

“When I’m on the road with the band, they cut me a little bit of slack because I have cancer,” he said. “But not too much. They treat me like the normal Glenn that I am. I like it.”

Money and Symmonds met in Berkeley in the early 1970s. Money said the music scene was just blowing up creatively at the time: along with Money, there was Huey Lewis and the News and Tower of Power. Symmonds was playing with a reggae band called the Untouchables.

“I mean, I went through a couple of wives with that guy, for Christ’s sake,” Money said.

Money said he’s looking forward to performing in Spokane again. The band played here last year.

“They gave me the key to the city of Spokane about 20 years ago,” Money said. “I still have the key to the city of Spokane. I’m going to bring it with me.”

Both Symmonds and Money promise a good time for concertgoers.

“Come on down and do some shakin’ with the Money Man,” Money said. “You know, I’ve got two tickets, but I’m taking everybody, don’t forget.”