As a subway busker, honestly I feel like my whole life is a fundraiser. But after many friends suggested I do this, here I am.
July 26th, I played a show with one of my many bands, Thee Shambels, at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Ironically, it was probably one of my best shows. (Here is one of the songs from the show, featuring an accordion solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNAPWX7SB4E
That night, a bandmate offered a ride to me and another bandmate to where we both have apartments in the East Village. We packed all of our gear in the Volvo station wagon, with my accordion going in very last. I closed the hatchback.
Upon arrival at our destination, I tried to get to the hatchback first, because I knew my accordion was the at the very front of all the gear. Unfortunately, the other bandmate beat me to opening it, and as I walked to the back of the car, I heard a loud crash and saw with dismay that my beloved accordion had fallen out onto the street.
The accordion looked ok, so I thought I had dodged a bullet. It wasn't till I went to my usual subway stop the next day to busk that I discovered it was all but unplayable. The bass was collapsed, reeds were broken, and multiple notes sounded when others were played, on both sides of the accordion. There also seemed to be a crack somewhere that made for a terrible air leak, so that it was impossible to have enough air pressure to play above a mezzo forte.
I took it to an accordion shop in Midtown the next day, and left it overnight, as they were just about to close. I called the next day to find out the literal, and monetary, damage. I was told that the accordion was beyond repair, and that a new one would be cheaper.
In disbelief, I went in person to find out the specifics. The main problem was that my accordion had gotten a "bellows transplant" a few years ago. These replacement bellows had been glued into the frame of the accordion. And now, in order for any sort of work to be done to the accordion, the bellows would have to be permanently removed. I was told that repairs would run probably to $1500 (far more than it had cost) and necessitate leaving my accordion at the shop for a month, and even then there would be no guarantee that it would ever be totally fixed.
I spent the next 3 days crying in bed. Without an accordion, I can't make a living. But more than that, I love this accordion. It was my best friend. My mom gave it to me for Christmas in 2002. It's my only one, and I've grown extremely attached to it.
Fortunately, a couple friends have allowed me to use their accordions, but it's only a temporary fix. I need a new one for a series of shows in the Midwest with another band in mid-September. Plus many other local shows in September. And again, I make the bulk of my living from busking in the subway.
I set the goal for $1000 which would cover a new accordion, a better case, and possibly a new pick-up to be installed, in case mine cannot be used, because of the damage. The costs may very well go over $1000, if I also need a new pickup, but I feel weird asking for anything more. Anything leftover would go to general bills which have taken a hit during all this stress. But any donation helps. I just want to get all this behind me, and go back to my life. Which, in general, is always better with an accordion.
(I was featured on the popular NYC blog EV Grieve: Part 1 http://evgrieve.com/2014/07/out-and-about-in-east-village-part-1.html
Part 2 http://evgrieve.com/2014/08/out-and-about-in-east-village-part-2.html