The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/music/2024-05-24/after-a-stroke-matt-meshbane-launches-a-gofundme-and-a-new-charity/

After a Stroke, Matt Meshbane Launches a GoFundMe – and a New Charity

By Carys Anderson, May 24, 2024, 11:30am, Earache!

Longtime Austin booker and sound engineer Matt Meshbane is recovering from a stroke.

With intensive physical therapy slated for the next year, the industry veteran has started a GoFundMe to cover his medical bills and launched a charity series to help others in a similar position.

Meshbane cites years of smoking and unmedicated high blood pressure as causes for the stroke, which he suffered on Easter Sunday. The sound man – who worked at Hole in the Wall in the early 2000s and put together shows at venues across town before starting his own company, Meshed Up Productions – then spent two weeks in intensive care.

Back home, Meshbane has had to retrain his body to perform everyday functions like walking, talking, and feeding himself. He's been sleeping outside in a makeshift bedroom area on his porch because he's been unable to climb up the steps into his RV. "It's a really slow, tedious, painstaking process," he says.

Meshbane's friend, former Texas Music Magazine publisher Stewart Ramser, launched a GoFundMe seeking $25,000 to help fund the engineer's physical therapy. Meanwhile, Hoots for HAAM, a new charity Meshbane's in the process of getting 501(c)(3) certified, aims to aid other music industry professionals. Co-founded by Vancerts leader and Meshed Up Productions sound tech David Castro, the organization gets its name from Meshbane's days of organizing hoot nights, shows where artists got together to play any music but their own.

"I never made much money booking bands, but when we did those fucking hoot nights, for about two years, I was packing clubs everywhere we went," Meshbane recalls. "We would do the Pixies and the Stones and Led Zeppelin and the Cars and ZZ Top and New Wave nights, and the bands always come out of the woodwork because it's so much fun."

The organization intends to raise funds through concerts booked every Monday night throughout the summer at venues like Sagebrush, Antone's, and Hole in the Wall. The May 27 show at Sagebrush boasts Madam Radar performing a set of Beatles favorites and Garrett J. Brown taking on a run of Elton John classics. Other participants include Keegan McInroe, doing Bob Dylan; Todd Roth, singing Justin Townes Earle; Shelley King, covering Willie Nelson; Jess Helios, playing Jimi Hendrix; and more.

Meshbane had already had the idea for the charity before the stroke, but his medical emergency highlighted the need for an organization like the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) for other "musician-adjacent people" like sound guys, bookers, and writers.

"We want to establish Hoots for HAAM as a one-stop place where you can raise money for you when you're in trouble," he says. Utilizing his scene knowledge – and Meshed Up Productions' backline, provided at every show – Meshbane describes his goal: "Let's create a fund where we can give out grants and help people who are feeling the pinch."

Visit hootsforhaam.com/info for a full list of the organization's upcoming shows, which are scheduled through September. Meshbane emphasizes that each concert is free, though donations are suggested, and that he doesn't intend to take any money from the series for his own recovery.

"It's not a pity party for Meshbane," he says. "I'm working hard over here; I'm gonna get through this. But I want something that's going to help other people get through hard times like this."

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