If you enjoy live music and want to help animals in need, you really need to go to the A Cause for Paws benefit show in Wonder Valley.
Six local music acts are coming together at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 13, to benefit two local nonprofits that help animals, the Animal Authority Rescue Team (AART) and the Animal Action League (AAL); all of the profits will be evenly split between the two agencies. The event at the Palms Restaurant is being organized by punk-band Sticky Doll (Greg Gendron and Cynna Luchia).
This is not the first event Gendron and Luchia have put together to help animals.
“I’ve had rescues my whole life; I have a real soft spot for animals,” Gendron said during a phone interview. “I come from a farm in a small town in Washington state, so I grew up with animals, and I’ve always had rescues myself as an adult living out on my own. When we moved out to the desert, I saw what went on up here—and people dumping dogs. The animals-in-need thing was just so in my face.”
In 2019, Gendron organized his first animal benefit—solely for Champion, a dog that was shot in the face and abandoned in the desert.
“That was so insane and just angered me to no end,” he said. “Being on Facebook, I belong to all the pet groups, and I’d already seen so much bullshit up here, and when that happened, I was just like, ‘Oh my God.’ Doing that (benefit) was so awesome, and it was fun, and we raised a lot of money to really help this dog.”
The event, hosted at Gadi’s Bar (which became AWE Bar before closing), featured eight bands. The event flier featured a brutal image of Champion’s wounds.
“I used that really graphic picture of him, and I think that really made people go, ‘Whoa,’” Gendron said. “It really made people want to help. As opposed to going, ‘Oh, this is an event for the Morongo Basin Humane Society … this one was like, ‘Oh my God, this dog was shot in the face; he needs help.’ I think it really tugged on everybody’s strings a lot more than the other ones. That one raised a lot of money, around $1,500.”
In addition to Sticky Doll, A Cause for Paws will feature Van Graceland (an Elvis impersonator), Hot Patooties, The Sibleys, The Hawk Messengers and The Yes-Go’s. Every artist is donating their time and talents.
“In a perfect world, I could donate tons of money, and my girlfriend is always saying how she’d love to have a big sanctuary,” Gendron said. “Well, we live paycheck to paycheck like most do, and I’m not making any money playing in a band. It costs us money to play shows—but I did realize the power of music. People rally when there’s something that a lot of people believe in. (Beyond) all the negative shit I said about what I’ve seen about animals up here, I’ve seen the positive community toward the animals. Recently, the no-kill shelter did their big Woof Walk. Everybody comes out for them, and tons of money is donated.”
Awareness is the main goal of the benefit, especially since Gendron considers both the Animal Authority Rescue Team and the Animal Action League to be “underground.” Both organizations will have informational booths at the event.
“The no-kill shelter (Morongo Basin Humane Society) is always in the limelight,” he said. “Everybody knows all about them and wants to do the right thing and feel good and donate to them, but meanwhile, these two organizations … they’re not necessarily known about.”
Gendron hopes the event will draw a huge, supportive crowd to the high desert.
“This year is the first time we’re doing it at the Palms, and the potential challenge is … people who haven’t been out there go, ‘Oh, my God, it’s way out there,’” Gendron said. “It’s a community event; it’s not necessarily a punk-rock, heavy-metal show. With the band Sticky Doll, we always fall into that category, but we really want to put on community-type things that draw all ages and all types of fans of music.”
A Cause for Paws is part of Sticky Doll’s plan to make music-focused animal-organization benefits a regular thing.
“I’m trying to put together a plan, looking into connecting with promoters around different cities in SoCal,” Gendron said. “… It’s a whole different world these days. It’s hard to get people to come out, and for us local bands, we’re often just playing to the other bands. We want to do smart shows … that can be well-attended, and shows that have a good cause. Moving forward, if we get offers to play here and there, sure, but as far as shows that we want to pursue, we really want to just focus on SoCal, and connect with the most in-need local rescue (organizations).”
Gendron said that when giving at these benefits, a little goes a long way.
“Whether it’s $100, or it winds up being $1,000, or $10, in the big scheme of it, it’s all good for (the beneficiaries), because they run on donations,” he said. “In a perfect world, I hope these can be big things, but I tend to get really grandiose, so I’ve got to reel myself in and go, ‘This is just local. Let’s do the best we can and get a buzz going about some things, and just let it grow naturally.’”
Pet-related raffles and healthy food options will be available at the event.
“Both of them (AART and AAL) are going to be able to put together some baskets of services—like spay, neuter, chipping and shots—for raffles, as well as some T-shirts and some pet items,” Gendron said. “There will be an engraving machine for custom-made dog tags. There’s also going to be a vegan option on the menu with Laura’s Compassionate Kitchen. Kevin (Bone) and Laura (Sibley are) the owners of The Palms, and that’s kind of a new thing she’s been doing now for the last year.
“I want to say the majority of people love animals. There are some really fucking evil people in the world, but I think the larger population does want to do the right thing and support animals in need.”
A Cause for Paws will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 13, at the Palms Restaurant, 83131 Amboy Road, in Twentynine Palms. A $10 donation is suggested. For more information, visit facebook.com/stickydoll. For more on the Animal Authority Rescue Team, visit.animalauthorityrescueteam.org. For more on the Animal Action League, visit animalactionleague.net.