In the last 12 months, no local punk legend has gotten more attention than Mike "Gabby" Gaborno. Unfortunately for the charismatic frontman of the Cadillac Tramps and Manic Hispanic (along with his current project, Santos Y Sinners), the attention hasn't been so much on his music as it has been on saving his life. We've reported a steady stream of news this year surrounding Gaborno's ailing health: surviving a heart attack and a stroke, Diabetes, liver and renal failure and now liver cancer. Toughing it out through dark days in the wake of a lifetime of drug addiction and the road dog, rock-n-roll lifestyle isn't something most mortals are able to withstand. However, through his music, faith, and the help of the local punk community, he's been able to rally his spirits (and ours) by gifting us with plenty more songs and vulgar punk charm. Next week, a big year end benefit show called GabFest will channel Gaborno's energy through a lineup of acts at the Coach House on Dec. 29 that promises to be a who's-who of OC punk. It will also be your chance to help support Gaborno who is struggling to keep up with rising medical bills and is at times forced to stay bed-ridden, unable to work.
We all know that Gaborno's roots run deep in the local music scene, but GabFest's marathon schedule of rockabillies, cow punks and tattooed troubadours who are showing up to support him is staggering. Headlined by a re-incarnation of San Diego's legendary country-infused chaos of Beat Farmers, the bill also features Johnny "Twobags" Wickersham (guitarist for the Tramps and Social Distortion), Jamie and Brian Coakley (who is also a guitarist in the Tramps), Steve Soto, Frank Agnew and many more. The benefit was first conceived by Gaborno's friend Eddie Wilson of Santa Ana psychobillies Hellbound Hayride who assembled the bands and got the wheels turning on this monster benefit show which will also feature his band as well as a few surprise special guests. Hopefully includes Gaborno laughing smiling and grab-assing as he hovers through he crowd.
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Despite his health, Gaborno has still had plenty of reasons to smile. The documentary Cadillac Tramps: Life On the Edge (directed by Jamie Coakley) was able to get the necessary funding to finish production thanks to a successful crowdsourcing campaign. He's gotten to grace the stage more than once with his gritty blues project Santos Y Sinners (alongside Coakley on guitar). He's even had the pleasure of being roasted on stage at Alex's Bar in celebration of his 50th birthday. Even with all the big hallmarks of success this year, Gaborno's secret to his happiness has been appreciating the little things.
"When I was younger, I always thought that being rich was having a yacht and a girl with a 6-foot tongue," he jokes in an interview with Weekly scribe Rich Kane. "But since my own mortality has come into question, when you hear that you may not live, all of a sudden, you start living. Now, rich, to me . . . I have a 5-year-old boy, and I'm a Little League coach. That's millionaire status to me. A bunch of little kids running up to me and calling me coach is beyond what I could ever dream."
Check out the full lineup for Gab Fest on Dec. 29 at the Coach House below and purchase your tickets here. Or call the box office at: (949) 496-8930
GabFest benefit line up and set times
10:30 Beat Farmers
10:00 Jonny 2 Bags and Salvation Town
9:30 Jamie & Brian Coakley
9:00 Steve Soto – Dan Root – Greg Antista
8:45 Frank Agnew
8:15 Heroes –featuring members of Hangmen/Red
8:00 Kid Ramos & E.V.
7:45 Sean Wheeler & TK Smith
7:30 The Pushers
7:15 Hellbound Eddie
7:00 Charlie Overbey
6:45 Gamblers Mark
6:30 Dano Forte
6:15 Jimmy camp
6:00 Gene Louis