[Photo of Ed Looram’s House in 1989 courtesy of Tom Osander]
The transition from GSW fan to GSW employee is a blurry one. All I know is that at some point in 1992, I packed up my Ford E-150, left Delaware, and headed north. About three hours later, I was loading in the band at the Wetlands, followed by an overnight drive to Vermont, and all of a sudden I was working, living, and playing poker with God Street Wine. Over the years, I worked for GSW in countless capacities, from all-around errand runner to Tech/Tour Manager/Stage Manager/Lighting Director. There are hundreds of stories from those days, but that might be better left for another time.
Today, my mind is filled with thoughts of the two shows to come, and how grateful I am, like Ronnie Lane must have been, that my friends are going to come together, not just for the fans that have been missing their music, but to raise money for an organization that has played a huge part in my life for the last six years, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on April 26th, 2004, I experienced an overwhelming feeling that I had just lost control over my future. Instead of giving in to that feeling and letting my MS control me, I decided to take a proactive approach and started to build a support team to manage my MS. One of the first calls I made to start building that team was to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The NMSS will use funds collected from the July God Street Wine shows to not only support research for a cure tomorrow, but also to provide programs which address the needs of people living with MS today.
[Photo of Mike in his usual spot at May 30 gig by Robyn Gould]
When Ronnie Lane got his friends together for the ARMS concert in 1983, there were no treatments available for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Through research and awareness sparked by events like the ARMS concert, and the upcoming GSW shows, there are now multiple treatment options for MS patients that range from Interferon injections, to monthly infusions, to the daily injection of a medication called Copaxone that I’m on.
My message, and the example I try to set as a patient advocate, has always been that I need to take ownership of my MS, be proactive, and do something every single day to put myself in a position to be successful. On July 9th and 10th, the thing I am going to do for myself is dance to the amazing music of God Street Wine. I will celebrate with the family I was brought into in 1989 to help raise funds for the family I adopted in 2004, the National MS Society. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of these shows, and the thanks I have to express to Tom, Lo, Jon, Aaron, and Dan for doing this is immeasurable. I was their fan, then they were my bosses…but most of all, they have been, and have remained family.
[Photo of Mike, Dean Mullin, Bevo and Aaron in the van from M. Weiss]