Things are tough all over the place. The economy sucks and one of the ways it keeps sucking worse and worse is the rising cost of health insurance. It’s squeezing working people everywhere. A couple weeks ago I got a packet in the mail from the company that handles my company’s HR concerns informing me that the insurance company our plans were through was getting out of the business entirely and we had to pick a new plan from the new provider. Every comparable plan on the list both cost more in premiums and had higher deductibles and copays, so we’re paying more on both ends.
But today I’m reminded that I’m lucky to even be able to complain about that. Craig Schumacher, owner-operator-engineer of Waveland Studios, where he engineered the 2nd Why Make Clocks album Midwestern Film, and has worked with tons of musicians beloved by myself and many others, has a cancer situation:
Craig Schumacher is a wonderful engineer and needs some help. He is the owner/operator of WaveLab Studios in Tucson where, among many others, he has recorded; Neko Case, Calexico, DeVotchKa, Animal Collective and Iron and Wine.
Earlier this year Craig was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. His doctors believe that with the proper treatments (which have already begun), he stands a good chance of beating this. The bad news is that the treatments are painful and costly. The out-of-pocket expenses will be enormous, not to mention the fact that there will be periods in which Craig will not be able to work.
Last year, Craig’s wife Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following treatment she is currently cancer-free. Needless to say, these back-to-back cancer diagnoses have been tough on them, emotionally and financially.
Now, I don’t know what his exact coverage situation is but I do know from being around musicians and also having grown up in a small-business family that usually for people who make their living in music it’s not good. Musicians and people who run recording studios, labels, etc., along with other self-employed people and small-business owners, instead of being able to get in on a big company plan, have to buy their insurance as individuals. If you think your plan’s expensive, that shit is fucking inhuman and still leaves you paying a ton more out-of-pocket. I’ve looked into it. And musicians, by and large, apart from the mega-famous ones, tend to make pretty crap money, but still too much to qualify for Medicaid and the like. So a lot of them can’t afford insurance at all and just do without and pray that shit doesn’t go bad. Then, for the unlucky, it does, and it’s a mess. Me? I’m just a weekender who pussed out of trying to make a living in music and became a computer programmer instead. Guys like Craig Schumacher who have the dedication to stick it out and devote themselves full-time to making the world a more beautiful sounding place, are straight up heroes as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve never met the man himself, but his talents are readily apparent from the records I’ve heard that he’s had a hand in, including Midwestern Film, which Dan raves about having worked with him on, and any friend of Dan’s is a friend of mine.
Here’s what Dan had to say on Facebook earlier:
Please take a minute to visit this page to help out our friend Craig Schumacher.
Long story short, Craig Schumacher is an all around great guy, a phenomenal engineer that has definitely left an imprint on modern music whether it be through the fantastic records he’s recorded and they way they sound or his numerous contributions to Tape Op magazine over the years.
Among numerous others, Craig has worked with:
- Neko Case
- Iron and Wine
- Giant Sand/Howe Gelb
- Richard Buckner
- The Jayhawks
On a more personal note for me, he recorded/mixed most of Why Make Clocks 2nd album, “Midwestern Film”, and the time we spent working with him, is still one of the best times in my life.
Please go here and chip in what you can to help the man out. Every bit helps. I don’t have a lot but I’m going to send in something.