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Don't Let Us Get Sick

Sunday at the Saxon, Will Indian fundraises for a new liver
Margaret Moser, 11:20am, Fri. Jul. 19, 2013

“I don't know if you are familiar with Warren Zevon's ‘Don't Let Us Get Sick,’" Will Indian considered in a recent email. “It is a beautiful sentiment and a great song.” Indian should know: He’s been battling Hepatitis C for 37 years and prepping for a Sunday fundraiser at the Saxon for a new liver.

If Will Indian’s name doesn’t pop right out, it’s not because he hasn’t paid his dues. Most of Austin’s acclaimed music scene is made up of journeyman players like Indian, whose twangy Texas style made him a fixture in Austin clubs playing in bands like the Rhythm Rats and the Nortons.

If it’s not one thing with aging musicians, it’s another, however. Indian now finds himself among the growing number of people who’ve contracted Hep C, only he’s lived with it more than half his life.

“I've tried the cures, but none have worked for me,” he writes. “I now have cirrhosis that was complicated by a recent pulmonary embolism in my right lung.

“I have had to cut back on gigs but have Wednesday Happy Hours at the White Horse with the Nortons. I've also been working with the Cornell Hurd Band and James Hand. I did the guitar work on James Hand's latest CD - Mighty Lonesome Man, also available in vinyl - and Cornell Hurd's Drop in on my Dream.”

James Hand and the Nortons are among those playing in honor of Indian this Sunday afternoon, 1-5pm at the Saxon. Indian’s longtime buddies in the Rhythm Rats - one of Austin’s best classic bar bands - plug in as well, along with Rodney Craig, Larry Lange, the Sideshow Five, the Twilite Trio, Nick Connolly, Suzanne Smith, Jerry Sires, Bracken Hale, and surely a few guests.

“I am on a liver transplant list at the Methodist Hospital in Houston,” Indian reports. “I am on a maintenance program with medications that keep me stable. I have taken all the necessary tests for the transplant and when the day comes when my liver can no longer function I'll be ready.”

What was it that Zevon - who died too young at 56 - wrote in 1999?

Don’t let us get sick, don’t let us get old
Don’t let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave, make us play nice
Let us be together tonight...

“It feels great and humbling to have the support from the friends I have made and people who are fans that tell me how much my music has meant to them,” Indian shares. “I am starting to archive my musical history of television, recordings, and photographs for an upcoming webpage.

“I subscribe to the idea that music is a gift to share.”

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