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Musicians band together in ‘Concert for Eileen’

If Eileen Worman’s medical problems are somewhat unusual, the financial problems that followed have become altogether too familiar. A Milwaukee musician who played keyboards in several local bands in the ’80s, Worman has endured three years of surgery, emergency rooms and dialysis after a botched procedure destroyed her kidneys. The expenses continue to climb to astronomical heights as she awaits a kidney transplant. The good news that can be gleaned from her tragedy is the support she has received from family and friends, many of them active in local music.

On Saturday, March 10, eight groups will band together for a benefit show, the “Concert for Eileen.”

“It was easy to put together,” says one of the organizers, Mike Benign. “Everyone I contacted said ‘yes’ immediately. I got a response from [the Violent Femmes’] Victor DeLorenzo within an hour, saying, ‘Yes, what can I do?’ That’s pretty much how it went. The musicians were like family.”

Benign’s current band, the Mike Benign Compulsion, will not be playing, but (like many of the musicians in the lineup) he used the benefit as a good reason to reunite his group from the ’80s, Arms & Legs & Feet, whose 1989 CD was the first digital release by a Milwaukee alternative group. Worman’s long-lost band, the Generic Beans, will regroup for the evening, along with The Yell Leaders, who have played only for special occasions during the last decade. Semi-Twang, reunited a year ago after a decade of dormancy, is on the bill alongside the Wooldridge Brothers, who have played only infrequently since vocalist Scott Wooldridge moved to the Twin Cities. Two newer bands featuring musicians from Worman’s era are performing, including Howard Ellis’ Commander Tang and DeLorenzo’s 19Thirteen. Members of a popular younger act, Sat. Nite Duets, are friends with Worman’s daughter; one of them is the nephew of a Benign band mate from the ’80s. “They represent the next-generation aspect of the concert,” Benign says.

Each band will perform a 20- to 30-minute set; with shared amplifiers and a drum kit, tear-down and setup time will be minimal. “It’s pretty eclectic, considering that most of the musicians come from the same part of the scene,” Benign adds. “People in the audience will get a good mix of music.”

The “Concert for Eileen” takes place 7:30 p.m. March 10 at Shank Hall. Admission is $10.

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