Lee Benefit: When L.A.’s rock underground first...


Lee Benefit: When L.A.’s rock underground first rallied behind the issue of AIDS with a benefit concert at the Variety Arts Center four years ago, the organizer was Craig Lee, then the music editor of the L.A. Weekly.

When an even more impressive lineup gathers on Wednesday at the Palace, the goal will be to salute and raise funds for Lee, who is now battling AIDS-related symptoms.

“It’s restored my faith in the local rock community, which I’d begun to think was a dead ideal,” Lee said this week, referring to the show of support from performers he has known and/or covered while operating at the heart of the city’s tumultuous music scene as a musician and journalist.


Lee has written for several publications (including The Times), and is the author of a book on California’s hard-core punk world. He produced the first album by topical folksinger Phranc, and he played with such first-generation L.A. punk groups as the Bags and Catholic Discipline. His most recent band, Alarma!, will play at the benefit.

Other Performers at Wednesday’s sold-out, six-hour concert include Concrete Blonde, the Go-Go’s (with X’s Exene Cervenka subbing for singer Belinda Carlisle), three fourths of Jane’s Addiction, a reunited Dream Syndicate, the Circle Jerks, Firehose, L7, Thelonious Monster and Blackbird.

A spokesman for Goldenvoice, the show’s promoter, said it was easy to recruit the talent. “Everyone jumped on it,” he said. “People were remarkably into it. Some people said, ‘Hey, this guy wrote a bunch of bad stuff about me. . . . But I’ll do it anyway.’ ”