Former Milwaukeean Jeff Castelaz, who owns Dangerbird – a label and management company in L.A. – is back on his bike starting this weekend in support of the Pablove Foundation.
Castelaz started the foundation after the death of his son Pablo, who was 6 years old, from cancer last year. The ride from Seattle to L.A. runs from Oct. 2 to 21.
To help kick off that event – albeit from afar – is a Pablove benefit on Saturday at The Tonic Tavern in Bay View.
Castelaz’s brother Dean and their friend Fred "Toomuchmetal" Gillich – who will take part in the ride himself -- are organizing the event, which like last year’s Pablove benefit concert at Turner Hall, has found great support here in Milwaukee.
Dean Castelaz says the idea for the benefit was born when he was telling Tonic owner Paul Jonas about the ride and the kick-off concert out west.
"He immediately said 'let's have a benefit here'," recalls Castelaz. "We joined forces and started some major planning for Pablove and Fred's sponsorship for the ride. We needed bands, DJs, sponsors and some raffle items.
"Within just a few weeks and countless hours, phone calls, e-mails, texts, Facebook messages and help from some good friends with big hearts … we have put together what is going to be an awesome benefit."
Gillich says that even after last year’s show of support in town, he is "humbled and amazed" by the response to the Tonic event.
"I love it! Dean has done so much of the heavy lifting with his hands and heart for this event that I said: this is a man I have to work with! So, we pooled our resources to make it happen.
"Pablove is the real-deal grass roots effort with some roots 20 years old," Gillich adds. "You can't invent these relationships."
Gillich says that taking part in the ride -- something he also did last year -- has been a live-changing experience for him.
"Little did I know I was going to climb a mountain -- Tour de France style. I had only begun cycling a few months before and, I have to say, it was the hardest thing I've done in my life," says Gillich.
"But in reality, there are so many things harder than riding a bike. I learned this lesson in reality on the road with Jeff Castelaz and coach Rick Babbington. They taught me that we do this ride because we can, but, more importantly, we ride and fight for the ones that can't. Real enlightening stuff. That's why I'm doing it again."
The benefit will feature music by Sugar Stems, Iovanova, The New Red Moons, Honey Melon, Don Turner and Conrad Plymouth frontman Christopher Porterfield. There will also be DJ sets by Team Enabler and Sage! Champagne! Schwarm of Codebreaker.
Hector's and Classic Slice provide the free hors d'oeuvres and there will be raffles for stuff from dozens of contributors.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.