On Sunday, June 25, The Nomad World Pub, 1401 E. Brady St., will host a benefit for Matt Gonzales, a longtime Milwaukee bartender and musician who is currently in jail in the middle of the desert in Abu Dhabi.
The event runs from noon to midnight and will feature live music with a jam session hosted by Jeff Hamilton (Violent Femmes, Beatallica, The Probers). Other guests include members of The Cocksmiths, Kiss Me I’m Sick, GoTown, The Carpet Baggers, 4th St Elevator, Liv Mueller, Matt MF Tyner and many more.
The Nomad will donate all proceeds to the cause. There will also be a silent auction of shirts and posters; all of the proceeds will go towards Gonzales' legal fees. Nomad owner Mike Eitel will host a "roast" of Gonzales, who was a bouncer and bartender at the Nomad for many years.
Gonzales was detained in Abu Dhabi on Easter Sunday. His family says he had prescription pain medication, but did not have the prescription with him as required by law.
Gonzales was in Abu Dhabi working for a Coral Springs technology company and he was scheduled to board a cruise ship to install cable and wire services.
Gonzales’ sister, Nicole Denil traveled from Miami to Abu Dhabi several times and presented the valid prescription to a judge, but Gonzales was still sentenced to two years in prison. He is living in a jail cell occupied by 17 people with seven cots for sleeping and, according to a family member, is fed a bowl of rice and gruel once a day.
His family is trying to get him released sooner and have already spent almost $100,000.
"The point is to raise funds for the exorbitant and ongoing legal fees and transportation costs involved in litigating Matty’s timely release," says Hamilton. "The focus is to get him home yesterday."
Donations can be made via PayPal using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gonzales family is encouraging people to contact local representative and use #freematty in Tweets to your elected officials.