Saturday, April 14th, 2018 – Allow me moment to share a whirlwind of a few months.  Before C.K. and The Gray and Urban Sprawl, Carter and I became friends by frequenting a local pub in Plainfield.  I had the pleasure of performing in an acoustic duo with Tommy Czuprynski, better known as Tommy Tuesday.  Carter actually knew Tommy before moving to Plainfield years before, so we all spent many weeknights hanging out in Plainfield pubs and playing music.  It was Tommy who encouraged and nurtured my love of performing and all those weeknight gigs really planted the seeds for Carter and myself to eventually start our own project.  After about three of four years, Tommy eventually moved into to the city and I started doing solo acoustic with Carter.  A few months later we recruited Ken and all of the sudden we were in the weekend rock band business.

I’ve been in touch Tommy over the years and we even started discussions on a reunion earlier this year.  Unfortunately, Tommy’s health has taken a quick turn and over the past few months, we have learned that Tommy is in a battle for his life.  After being diagnosed with a rare form of appendix cancer, he has had some major complications recovering from surgery.  Last week, Tommy’s heart stopped for nearly 45 minutes, but to the shock of everyone, he was able to recover, and was alert and communicating with hospital staff.  Despite this small miracle, his condition remains stable, but critical. He too weak for additional surgeries and the needed chemotherapy would likely kill him.  Over the weekend the family made a difficult decision and transferred Tommy into hospice care.

In a strange chance of timing, C.K. and the Gray had McBrides Pub on the schedule; the very same pub Tommy and I got our acoustic duo start.  It’s the very pub that we recruited Ken, and is one of the first places C.K. and the Gray performed.   Owners Tracy, Brent and the entire McBrides family have been incredibly supportive of local live music over the years, so it was only natural for them to reach out to us about turning Saturday into a fundraiser for Tommy and his family.  I was able to visit Tommy Saturday morning where we discussed old times and all those great acoustic gigs.  He gave me his blessing to perform Saturday night in his honor.

I opened the show with Tom Petty’s “I won’t Back Down” which was on our regular rotation back in the acoustic days.  I will admit it was difficult to get through parts of the song, and you can catch the patrons helping me sing the final chorus in the video above.  Special thanks to Kris for an impromptu version of the Foo Fighters “My Hero.”

The rest of the evening we rocked a packed house full of birthday parties who were gracious and generous in raising funds.  It was great to see Kristina, Tiffany and Jason, all great friends from the acoustic days.  Music fans where dancing, singing and enjoying a fantastic evening of live music.  I’d like to thank my bandmates Carter, Chrissy, Kris, Ken, the McBrides family and patrons, family of the band, Sara, Sara and Kelly for making Saturday night such a special event.

Please join me in sending thoughts and prayers to Tommy and the entire Czuprynski family.  There is a Facebook page, #TeamTuesday, where Fee, Tommy’s sister regularly posts updates.  It’s been quite an emotional few days, but the power of music has been fantastic.  Tommy himself made me swear to continue doing what we always loved to do; which of course is to continue performing and supporting live local music.  I, along with my brothers and sister of C.K. and The Gray will do exactly that.  God bless Tommy, his family in this difficult time.

With appreciation,

Neal Rudnik