THE SMASHING PUMPKINS raised over $80,000 (and counting, with a revised figure to follow) at their sold-out benefit concert Tuesday, July 27 at Chicago's Metro for Matthew Leone, bassist for Chicago band MADINA LAKE. The money will go to the ongoing medical care needed for the musician who last month was hospitalized with severe brain trauma after intervening to stop a woman he passed on the street from being beaten by her husband. Matthew — whose medical insurance had lapsed just two months prior to the incident — was taken to UIC Hospital for emergency brain surgery wherein a third of his skull was removed to alleviate swelling. He's currently in stable condition awaiting an additional brain surgery to reapply the removed portion of his skull.
"THE SMASHING PUMPKINS' benefit show at Metro Tuesday night was triumphant and tearful, inspiring and rousing, open-hearted and generous — as well as a stark reminder that sometimes it takes a village to get a crime victim adequate health care," wrote the Chicago Tribune. The event was attended by Chicago governor Pat Quinn, who proclaimed Tuesday "Matthew Leone Day" in Illinois and said, "We have a true American hero right here in Matthew Leone" (as noted in the Chicago Tribune piece).
"I was inspired by Matthew's courageous defense of a woman he didn't even know," said the PUMPKINS frontman Billy Corgan. "What pushed me to do the benefit for his medical fund was how much he is loved by close friends of mine who know him well. I spoke to his family at the benefit and they all said that it didn't surprise them at all that he did what he did to stop an injustice.
"I was blown away by the Chicago community coming together to put this benefit on so quickly," Corgan added about the event that was announced on July 20. "It put an emotional charge into our show that was unlike anything I've ever experienced. I was absolutely honored to be standing on the Metro stage, my musical home, showing our support for one of our own. It was a great night in the long, storied history of Chicago. And an epic show." As soon as the band finished playing "1979", Corgan pulled his guitar off his neck and auctioned it off to the crowd, selling it for 10,000.
Said Joe Shanahan, owner of Chicago's Metro: "This past Tuesday was one of my most memorable nights within Metro's walls — the outpouring of support and encouragement for a true hero, Matthew, was overwhelming. From Billy Corgan and THE SMASHING PUMPKINS' donation of their time and talent to the cause, to Governor Pat Quinn's proclamation of Matthew Leone Day, to the generosity of the crowd with their pocketbooks, the night embodied the love and solidarity of the Chicago music community for one of their own. Now, all of us at Metro pray for a quick recovery for Matthew and someday his own return to the Metro stage with MADINA LAKE."
Noted AOL's Spinner: "For the encore, the Metro staff and opener KILL HANNAH joined Corgan onstage to sing '1979'. [See video below.] After, the band closed with the distorted bliss of 'Gossamer', as their guitars thundered and strobes flashed. When their over two-hour set finished, a smiling Corgan and his band threw their commemorative drumsticks and guitar picks into the audience, capping a heartfelt tribute to Leone. 'You made this city proud tonight,' Corgan told the jovial crowd. 'Thanks for stepping up.'"
All proceeds from the raffle and concert will go to the Matthew Leone Fund at Sweet Relief.
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
Metro is the club where, on October 5, 1988, the PUMPKINS played their first show. They also chose the venue for a farewell concert on December 2, 2000, a four-hour-long show that featured 38 songs spanning the group's career at that time.
The PUMPKINS have a long history of supporting other Chicago musicians.