Jesse Malin recently suffered an incredibly rare “spinal stroke” and lost his ability to walk. You can read all about it via Brooklyn Vegan.
I’ve known Jesse since I was 14. He responded to an ad that I put in the local music paper. “Singer needed for a punk cover band.” Jesse wasn’t just a singer though, even at 14 he was a punk guitarist and wanted to do originals. I was the keyboard player (yup) for about six months in Heart Attack and we actually played a CBGB’s audition. After THAT disaster Malin (rightfully) fired me, but we still remained very close friends.
Jesse and I at a Replacements show at Maxwell’s on December 8, 1984
I went on to release the first 7” by Jesse – Heart Attack’s “God Is Dead,” which has sold for as much as $2,000 on discogs. Releasing that single was such a bad experience that I vowed never to release another record, and it was only recently repressed on Jesse’s current label Wicked Cool.
Jesse and I continued to be friends throughout the hardcore days, but eventually we had a falling out that actually lasted a couple of decades. Neither of us can remember what caused it, but it seems in hindsight we went in different musical directions and our friendship did the same thing (boy, kids are dumb). I was straight indie and he always had his sights set on something bigger. We were sort of in touch over the years, but not really, and only meaningfully reconnected about 7 or 8 years ago.
Cut to now: here we are, part of a five-person crew that gets together for dinner on our birthdays. The only criteria for being in the club is that you’ve had to have been friends for 40 years. It has been a joy to get to re-know Jesse, who became an amazing grown-ass adult, helping everyone and supporting everything around him—bands, friends, the dude is a fucking walking mitzvah tank. Which is why this whole situation is making zero sense to me. If the world isn’t already broken enough—this happened to him! To him!?! Makes less than zero sense…
So where does that leave me? Well, I and everyone at Bank Robber are eager to help in any way possible, as Jesse has a long and VERY expensive road ahead of him. You can start by checking out some of his amazing music. Everything from those early Heart Attack tunes to his recent co-write with Luicinda Williams (whose album he co-produced). If you happen to find a song that works for a project you’re on, know that BRM will waive any commission on any master fee that comes in on a license. If you are in a position to make a donation to his Sweet Relief fund, here is the link to that. Also – please help spread the word in any way you can.
It takes a village. Let’s all be part of the village.