Memorial shows throughout downtown New London June 15

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The Reducers have been on an indefinite hiatus. That’s just one thing more to admire about one of the greatest rock bands in the history of Connecticut.

Oh, we like to jump up and down when a local act leaves town and gets big, our friends in other states get to hear them, and they visit home for the holidays covered in the glory of tours and record deals.

But that wasn’t ever really the punk rock ethic, now was it? What about Do It Yourself? Not to mention those other fine slogans we learned in the 1970s: Have it your way. Do unto others. To thine own self be true.

Self-releasing your own albums. Sticking around the hometown and finding interesting day jobs there. Starting families. That’s what a lot of smart, realistic, friendly, think-globally-act-locally local bands do. It’s what The Reducers have exemplified for three and a half decades now.

The Reducers have run a band not the way you might run a business, but the way a band should be run. They sounded the way they wanted to, with the people who sounded that way the best. When one of them is in trouble, they help him out. No callous line-up changes here. The Reducers have had the same four fellows in the band since forming in 1978.

When it was discovered last year that bassist Steve Kaika had lung cancer, the Reducers made a very Reducers-like decision. They cancelled whatever Reducers gigs were on the calendar and rallied around Steve.

Kaika died Tuesday morning. The benefit concert in his honor which had been scheduled for tonight, June 15, has been turned into a memorial gathering. The 6 p.m. outdoor show in Hygienic Art Park will feature non-Reducers projects by Steve’s bandmates: Hugh Birdsall’s in Dogbite and The Original Sinners and Tom Trombley in Ken Atkins and The Honkytonk Kind. Also playing are The Rivergods (whose co-founder Ben Parent is a also an Original Sinner). A $10 donation is requested, to benefit Steve Kaika’s family. There will also be a raffle, Reducers merchandise for sale, and other fundraising elements, including chowder from Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock.

Such was Kaika’s impact on the New London music scene that the shows at the three main music clubs in New London have all been transformed into Kaika memorials to supplement the Hygienic Park one. At 33 Golden Street, Anne Castellano and The Smoke, Catfish Phillips and Rachel Carson will pay tribute. At the El ‘n’ Gee, it’s Dirt Road Radio, the Meadows Brothers and Harper and Owens. At Oasis Pub, Incognito Sofa Love, Daphne Lee Martin and The Burnouts From Outer Space hold their glasses high.

The obituary for Steve Kaika which appeared yesterday in the New London Day is here.

Day reporter Rick Koster posted a full article on Kaika’s legacy here.

You can see Kaika in fine form, providing consummate bass support and singing back-up on the tune “Black Plastic Shoes,” on a YouTube video shot during a 2009 gig at Café Nine in New Haven, here

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