Jennifer K Mahal
Members of the band Caddy Wampuss have never met Leilani
Gutierrez. They don't know her parents, have no connection to her
family and don't even live in the same city as the Costa Mesa
4-year-old. But they care about her.
With the kindness of strangers, Caddy Wampuss will headline a rock
'n' roll fashion show benefit concert Friday at the Hard Rock Cafe,
Fashion Island to help Leilani's family with her medical expenses.
Newport Beach's Redline 5 and Clevis will also perform at the show,
which will feature fashions from Chromestar worn by professionals
from Chase Models.
Leilani suffered serious chest and head injuries during an
automobile accident on Mother's Day. While coming home from South
Coast Plaza with her mother, June Gutierrez, their Ford Explorer was
hit by a driver who ran a red light. The car rolled, ejecting Leilani
from her car seat. The little girl, who woke from a coma in June, was
rendered quadriplegic. She remains in the hospital on life support.
The lead singer of Caddy Wampuss, who prefers to go by the single
name Toad, stumbled over Leilani's story in a newspaper at a coffee
"It just drew me in right away. I was heartbroken," the Huntington
Beach resident said. "I knew that this event was coming up and
thought we should do everything we can to turn it into a benefit."
The rest of the alternative rock band -- drummer Rob Ferrell,
bassist James "The Gouvernour" Perez and guitarist Mateo -- agreed.
The idea gained more meaning for the group when they found out
Leilani's father, Rodney Sellars, is the guitarist for the band Sense
Field, which recently made a breakthrough in getting radio play for
their album "Tonight and Forever."
"After years of struggle, the guy's on tour in Oregon [with the
Goo Goo Dolls] and in one day, two of his life's loves and dreams are
shot down in the blink of an eye," Ferrell said. "I don't have kids,
but I've been a musician for a while ... I can imagine what it would
be like to have your world fall apart."
The band has renamed one of its songs, "Blind to All," as
"Leilani's Song." They plan to perform it at the benefit.
The current lineup of Caddy Wampuss has been together for about a
year and a half. The band collectively writes original songs and
members say the radio station they would most likely be heard on is
KROQ. Perez said the sound could be characterized as being "a little
The name comes from something Toad's father would say. Instead of
using profanity, he would call things that were off "catawampus."
"It sums up life," Toad said. " Everything's a little crooked,
unstable and out of whack."
Through the concert, the band is hoping to help things become a
little less wacky for Leilani and her family.
"Everyone on the bill has put their name behind this," said
Chromestar's Chris Long.