MS blows.   My uncle is in his mid-50s.   His occupation was very physically demanding and he was strong beyond belief.     When I was a teenager.   He’d usually come pick me up at my house and we’d  go to concerts together.  When I was about 15, he took me to see Aerosmith and Dokken at the Long Beach Arena on a school night.     Another time, he rented a limo to take me and my best friend to go see Night Ranger.  We always had a fun time together at shows over the years and I have great memories of him giving me the rock star treatment.

Sometime in the 90s, he was starting to experience some physical problems and he had to take a big step back from his work.    After many doctor visits, he was eventually diagnosed with MS.    Seeing what it has done to his quality of life has been heartbreaking.    No longer able to walk, he requires a great amount of constant care and special equipment just to be able to somewhat function.  It sucks beyond belief for him and all of his loved ones.   It was nice to bring one of my kids and attend this great event in his honor.

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There’s nothing fun about having MS.   Fortunately, there are support groups and good people committed to dealing with it and improving people’s lives that have it.

Hosted by Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction and Infectious Grooves, a drum circle event was held by ROCK AGAINST MS on a warm summer evening in the picturesque setting of Paramount Ranch – a beautiful old movie studio that has a spectacular view of the Santa Monica Mountains.

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A van full of equipment showed up with a bunch of hand drums, shakers and maracas  generously donated by Remo and a circle formed around a small drum kit that Stephen used to lead the jam.    Having several family members with MS, his participation was extra meaningful.  And as a host of the Guitar Center Drum Off, Drum Channel shows and the moderator at the DW Factory Day panel discussion, along with his participation in The Ox and The Loon, the Bonzo Bash, the reunited Infectious Grooves and upcoming Jane’s Addiction headlining performance at the Sunset Strip Music Festival, Stephen is a great host and leader for music events.

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Starting with a Yoga-type warm up and some stretching, and chair massages, participants really got into the jam.  The therapeutic value of a good massage and joining in a happy drum circle is quite the feel good experience.

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The drum circle rocked.  A lot of the people in attendance were really good drummers.   It’s all supposed to be in good fun, but this was a really good jam.   How often do you get to jam with one of the best drummers out there?  Trying to keep time with a bunch of people is a very spiritual and communicative experience.

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For the last jam, several participants took over the drum kit and lead the jam while Stephen rocked out with a few Remo drums.  Seeing Stephen rock out on percussion was reminiscent of his great work on the first Infectious Grooves album.   A few of us were geeking out about that.

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Mission accomplished for this event.  Everyone had a great time and left with a special, happy feeling.  It was a perfect Sunday afternoon.

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At the conclusion of the event, Stephen took pictures with participants and signed a bunch of his signature Pro Mark sticks.  DSC00261DSC00335DSC00330

Stephen with Kevin Haskins from Bauhaus and Love and Rockets.

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There are more of the events in the works by the Rock Against MS Foundation, so be sure to get involved and become a part of this excellent program to battle MS.