Earlier this month, a GoFundMe page set up by Jonny Harbin's partner Tina Lucchesi announced that the Jonnycat Records founder had contracted cancer. Though Harbin has Oregon Medicaid, he still faces growing medical bills and missed earnings from his job as a Radio Cab driver while he's undergoing treatment. So far the GoFundMe page has raised just over $45,000 of its $100,000 goal, but the Portland punk community has also responded by organizing a series of benefit shows to raise money for Harbin's recovery.
“He's very enthusiastic about supporting young bands and also great at preserving the legacies of scene veterans,” says Rose Lewis of Sloppy Kisses. Jonnycat’s Portland Mutant Party compilations documented a streak of Portland’s weirdest and wildest acts, showcasing early cuts by Mean Jeans, Piss Test, and Guantanamo Baywatch, among others. Releases by relative newcomers like San Francisco’s Quaaludes sit alongside repressings of Portland stalwarts like Clorox Girls on the Jonnycat Records catalog. Colin Sanders of local bands like Defect Defect and the Observers describes Harbin as “aware of our past and a vital part of our future.”
For years, the Estacada-based Harbin has acted as more than just a tastemaker—he's archived the scene and pushed bands to build legacies. “He has pushed many bands beyond their basement and into legitimacy on vinyl,” says Samantha Gladu of post-punk gripers Piss Test. Lewis notes, “He's an extraordinarily generous supporter of a wide and weird range of Portland bands.”
Lineups for the upcoming benefit shows read like a primer to Portland’s punk scene of the past decade. The most notable night features the Observers reuniting for the first time since 2005 (it'll also be the Bi Marks' last show ever). Proceeds from all of these shows will go to Jonnycat’s GoFundMe, which you can donate to directly here.