Bernie Worrell, the keyboardist and composer known for working with Parliament Funkadelic, has been ill, and he’s having a hard time paying his medical bills due to the fact that the United States has an inadequate public healthcare system. David Byrne has been friends with Worrell for a long time — the two collaborated on the Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense as well as some of Byrne’s personal projects — and he was one of a group of musicians to perform at a benefit show at New York City’s Webster Hall last night. Organized and led by Nona Hendryx, the Black Rock Coalition, and Sweet Relief, the fundraiser also featured appearances by Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Living Colour, Jonathan Demme, Meryl Streep, Rick Springfield, Maceo Parker, Steve Scales, Bill Laswell, Mudbone, Fred Schneider, Bernard Fowler, Leo Nocentelli, Ronny Drayton, Melvin Gibbs, Jerry Harrison, Screaming Headless Torsos, The Woo Warriors, Sarah Dash, Nelson George, Marc Ribler, Paul Shaffer, and Black Rock Coalition Orchestra.
In addition, Byrne remixed “How Does The Brain Wave?,” a song he co-wrote with Worrell, and shared Jamie Liddell’s remix of the song as well. Physical editions of both remixes are being auctioned off and you can digitally download the tracks now. All of the proceeds will go toward Worrell’s Sweet Relief fund. Byrne said the following via his website:
In a better world, we shouldn’t feel the need to do this. Obamacare is a step, but the U.S. health system needs fixing bigtime. Relative to all the industrialized countries of the world, the U.S. remains the only country without universal coverage AND it’s the most expensive. Ernest Adams writes on Quora about his experience in UK:
“Having lived under both systems I cannot find the words to express the relief at knowing that I will get care no matter how sick I get, no matter how much it costs, and no matter whether I’m rich or poor.”
If the U.S. had Canada’s healthcare system, 5,400 fewer babies would die in infancy, and we’d save about $1.3 trillion dollars in healthcare spending. (But, in Canada there longer wait times for ER, etc.)
But, here we are.
Check out photos and videos from last night’s benefit show below.
Ms. Meryl and the man of the hour, the #incomparable Bernie Worrell accepting his #proclamation from the #city of #newark, while telling the #audience where it's at. || @sweetreliefmusiciansfund #merylstreep #bernieworrell #benefit #nyc #websterhall #sweetrelief #musicheals #dogood #music #soul #giveback #cometogether #supporteachother #celebrateeachother
That right there is Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins on stage together last nite at Webster Hall…George Clinton made an appearance not long after this moment. There was Buckethead, Rick Springfield, Living Colour, Steve Scales & Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), Paul Schaffer, Bill Laswell, Jonathan Demme, Questlove, and even Meryl Streep was there to show love to the Wizard of Woo. Last night was a beautiful way to show support for a friend that has meant so much to so many people. We love you Bernie!! #flashlight #wewantthefunk #bernieworrell #bootsycollins