100% of the proceeds will be transferred directly to Nathalie to fund the purchase of a new and improved wheelchair. Any additional profits raised will be used to help cover ongoing medical expenses.
THE STORY, BY JESSE MALIN:
I first met Natty B. with her spiky hair and badge covered green army jacket outside the Barfly in Cardiff, Wales sometime in 2003…I was on one of my wacky quests for vegetarian food in a new town post soundcheck, and somehow managed to find my way back to the venue without a trail of crumbs. I had a bag full of pita bread, yellow mustard and soy cheese. I offered her a few slices of this rubber-like vegan luxury dream meal. Years later, we still laugh about that first meeting and the cheese that started it all…
From that moment on I noticed her popping up at more shows. She became a friend of the band and crew - our ally and comrade in arms. Not only does she love music, but she has real street smarts and a huge heart. As our touring schedule picked up that year we needed more help, so Natty joined our little pirate ship and began working for us- first at merch, then driving, and even occasionally tour managing. Like all the great ones, she knew how to make us smile, laugh and feel comfortable while we were very far away from home (which is not always easy to do). She got our jokes and neurotic New York Woody Allen attitude. Quickly after, Nathalie would go on to work with many great artists, like The Editors, Martha Wainwright, Tommy Stinson, We Are Scientists and many more. She always put every bit of her heart and soul into her bands, making friends everywhere she went. At one point she became close with so many of NYC’s finest (not only cops, robbers too), it looked like she might even move here.
In 2006 an unexpected blow came. Nathalie was diagnosed with Leukemia. She was in out of hospitals constantly, between chemo and other heavy treatments. She still kept her spirits and made it to as many shows as possible if she could get out of the hospital. Sometimes she would even sneak out to see us, but it wasn't getting easier. The medications were making her sicker and weaker. On more than one occasion the doctors contacted her parents to say had that they had exhausted all their options and that Nathalie didn’t have much more time left.
In 2010 she was struck with paralysis and confined to a wheelchair. Again, she would still somehow find a way out to the occasional show. When I visited her in the hospital I could see that she was really fighting hard and, even though Nathalie always has a smile on, I could tell she was in a lot of pain. No matter what, she never complained. In our emails exchanges and stage dedications she became the “Positive Panther.”
One night after a show in Manchester, I walked several blocks with her as she wheeled herself to her car. I got to see what it took for her to get into the car and break down the wheelchair for the long drive home. This wouldn’t be an easy thing for anyone to do. I began asking her questions, and she finally admitted to me that the wheelchair she has was out of date and extremely uncomfortable. In fact, it was hurting her body, but she could not afford to get a new one that would be easier to get around in and less damaging to her.
From that moment on, I promised her that we would find a way to get her the right wheelchair. As we know, music is a super powerful thing that can save many lives, but our rock and roll community is even stronger.
This year, on Saturday, December 10th at Bowery Ballroom in New York City, we are doing a very special show to raise money (and spirits) to buy Nathalie that wheelchair. It will be our second annual Velvet Elk Records Holiday show and tribute to our "Positive Panther." I will be playing a full set of my tunes with my band, as well as special an all-star version of The Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup. Also on the bill is Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire, Don DiLego and the Touristas, Richard Bacchus (D Generation), and many more surprises, unannounced guests and free soy cheese. Tickets are available now from Ticketfly.com and all proceeds will go the wheelchair fund.
Some of us might talk about PMA, but Nathalie lives it every single day. She is a fighter and a survivor- a true inspiration.
If you can’t make it to NYC you can still support the cause by buying a limited edition “Postive Panther” t-shirt HERE!