If you needed proof that punk rockers give back more than bruises and sidewalk puddles of Pabst Blue Ribbon, just look at local ska-punk outfit, Murphy's Kids.
Back in 2000, Bankshot, a now defunct local band that Murphy's Kids had admired, began organizing an annual charity show, Skalidays, held at the all-ages punk mainstay, Alley Katz. Murphy's Kids took over as organizers for the multiband event in 2001 and have enjoyed capacity crowds the last few years, with proceeds going to a different local charity each year. These have included: Shelters International, a Richmond battered women's shelter, the Dooley School at St. Joseph's Villa, a school for autistic young adults, and last year, WRIR Richmond Independent Radio.
Reid Attaway, guitarist and singer for Murphy's Kids, says the event has grown from being a fun party to really meaning something.
“We have chosen organizations that are small enough to benefit from the donation of a couple thousand dollars and the benefits can be realized during the holiday season,” he says. This year organizers wanted the focus to be more humanitarian, actually providing direct assistance, so they chose the James House, a Hopewell-based nonprofit that assists victims of sexual and domestic violence. The group has a satellite counseling office in Petersburg.
Jane Clayborne, community services director at the James House, says it works on an individual basis. “We often help people relocate out of bad situations and stay self-sufficient,” she says. “This time of year there are a lot of food needs as well.”
Among the bands slated for this year's Skalidays: Murphy's Kids, of course, which just finished a new, more professionally recorded album; the Fad, punk rock from Long Island; the Animal Beat, poppy rock with keyboards from Richmond; Among Criminals, Latin reggae from Philadelphia; and Swim Champ, punk rock from Richmond.
The show is also a canned food drive that will benefit Food Not Bombs and the Central Virginia Food Bank — the latter saw a 51 percent increase in people requesting food during the first quarter of this fiscal year, according to Kristin VanStory, its director of communications.
“We're in more dire straits because of high unemployment numbers,” she says. “Our need is at its highest now. … But we feel good and we're projected to meet our demands. This is a crucial time of year with holiday giving.” S
Skalidays will be held Saturday, Dec. 19, at Alley Katz, 10 Walnut Alley. Tickets are available at Plan 9 and murphyskids.com. $8 in advance, $12 door, $10 with a can of food.